THE SNOWY RANGE SCENIC BYWAY (WY 130)
This scenic alternative to I-80 takes you through the majestic Snowy Range, past glittering glacial lakes, pastoral meadows, rushing mountain streams and awe inspiring granite peaks. Enjoy fantastic fishing, hiking, climbing and skiing, en route, with plenty of spots to stop and view wild life. A variety of campgrounds, resorts and cabins provide lodging along the way.
The Byway closes for the season in mid-November. It can be accessed by snowmobile in the winter and traditionally reopens with the help of snowplows before Memorial Day weekend.
The first evidence of human presence in this area of Wyoming dates back,over 8,000 years. Northern Plains Natives, including the Northern Arapaho, Oglala Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone, and the White River Utes, all used the area now known as the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
Abundant wild life provided food and tall stands of lodge pole pine were used for teepee poles and firewood. Natives also enjoyed the hot springs along the North Platte River, which they regarded as sacred places to make medicine and hold ceremonial gatherings.
The current Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Highway 130, was built as a wagon road in the 1870s. Fifty years later the road was widened and graded using horse-drawn equipment. The road was finally paved in the 1930s and was designated as the nation’s second Scenic Byway in 1988. Six years later, work on the road was finally completed and it became known as the “Great Skyroad”.
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway crosses the second highest mountain pass in Wyoming. The extreme elevation means that this road is only open for a short period each year. Snow usually closes the highest section of the road abut mid-November, and snowplows traditionally open the road in May, just before Memorial Day weekend. Though this byway is less than two hundred miles long, there’s lots to see along the way.
Passing through Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway is truly a “land of many uses”, and supports active timber harvesting and livestock grazing in addition to outdoor recreation.
ALPINE SPLENDOR AND BEAUTY
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway is a spectacular “cut-across” for travelers. Some travelers drive straight through in one shot, but this Byway is best enjoyed by a leisurely drive with plenty of stops to take in the serenity and solitude of the Snowy Range. A short hike will take you to breath-taking vistas and secluded lakes with abundant fish.
Just beyond the Laramie town limits, this spectacular road will take you through the high plains of old western movies and dime store novels.The historic mining town of Centennial, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, welcomes visitors just 27 miles west of Laramie, with abundant dining and lodging options.
Please be aware of wild-life on and near the road, especially in the early morning hours and during the long evenings when the sun is low. Deer, elk and moose call this place home and we are only visiting!