by Dani and Brian Harrington, photos courtesy of Brian Harrington
Laramie’s Top 5 Mountain Biking Trails
Laramie, Wyoming, is an exceptional home base for epic mountain biking. Laramie residents (and visitors) enjoy direct access to trails right from their doorstep, and many other trailheads can be reached by traveling just 10 to 40 miles out of town, depending on the destination. The wide variety of available trails also means that there is something for everyone, from beginner to expert.
One of my favorite things about my hometown is the easy access to mountain biking. For me, mountain biking is the perfect way to get in a workout in the form of a fun hobby rather than something that feels like a chore or an obligation. You get your heart pumping, you get to continually build upon and refine your skills, and you get to see some beautiful things along the way.
In this post, I’ll share some my top 5 favorite mountain bike trails in and around Laramie. If you’re new to the sport or if you just prefer more mellow rides, you might want to check out A Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking.
Middle Aspen Trail
Like many mountain biking trails, the Middle Aspen trail is accessed via the Happy Jack / Tie City Recreation Area. The Happy Jack Recreation Area lies just 12 miles to the east of Laramie, making this location a convenient choice. Luckily, nothing is sacrificed in the name of convenience, as the trails at Happy Jack are excellent and teeming with beautiful scenery. Riders enjoy dense aspen and pine forests, flowy trails, and great views.
Middle Aspen received a facelift a few years ago, and the result has made this one of the area’s most popular trails. The descent is quick and filled with rocks and roots that make it both technical and entertaining. You can ride it in reverse (but watch for downhill riders) or use Pole Creek Trail to get back up to the Tie City Trailhead.
Also located in the Happy Jack Recreation Area, Headquarters Trail starts at the Summit Trailhead. Headquarters provides sweeping panoramic views of some of Wyoming’s best wide-open space, which is particularly beautiful in the fall as the aspens start changing. Headquarters is rocky at the onset, but it smooths out as you enter the trees. Riding down the trail is awesome, and going up is a grueling, but rewarding, workout. Be sure to take a map with you and pay attention to where you’re headed, otherwise, the plentiful trail intersections of the Happy Jack area might leave you feeling a bit turned around.
Stone Temple Circuit
The Stone Temple Circuit is located in Curt Gowdy State Park, which lies about 25 miles from Laramie. Curt Gowdy offers an array of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, boating and more, but the park is especially known for excellent mountain biking. The Stone Temple Circuit forms part of Curt Gowdy’s 35 miles of amazing mountain biking trails, among them something for all skill levels.
While there are many excellent mountain biking trails in Curt Gowdy, the 3.6-mile Stone Temple loop stands out for its smooth, well-packed tracks and its sections where riders get to traverse huge, rolling boulders. Stone Temple is also a great place from which to explore additional areas in Curt Gowdy because directly from it you can access other trails in the park, extending both your views and your ride. Some of these detours from the main Stone Temple trail include awesome “play areas” that allow riders to take on new challenges or practice their skills. My absolute favorite detour from Stone Temple is the Gold Watch Trail, which is all about large, rolling boulders. Gold swatches painted onto the rocks help you find your line through.
Lunch Lady at the Schoolyard
The Lunch Lady Trail is located in “The Schoolyard,” a beautiful section of state-owned land that has been transformed into a multi-use trail system that is beloved by the Laramie community. The Schoolyard features fantastic mountain biking trails and earns extra points for extreme convenience—the parking area is literally in a neighborhood!
The first trail I always recommend at the Schoolyard is Lunch Lady. This trail spans almost the entire boundary of the Schoolyard, making it a great way to get acquainted with the area and to enjoy some panoramic views of the prairie and town.
PB & J at the Schoolyard
PB & J is yet another great mountain biking trail, also located in the Schoolyard. While Lunch Lady gives you a good overview of the area, PB & J cuts through the middle and takes you right to the heart of what is really fun about mountain biking in the Schoolyard. PB & J is composed mostly of flowy jumps and pumps and is an awesome place to practice your skills.
Though I’ve listed five of my favorite trails in this post, many others could have easily made the cut. In a lot of ways, you can’t go wrong when choosing where to mountain bike around Laramie!
Note: Brian and Dani Harrington are independent writers contracted by Visit Laramie. Views and opinions expressed here are their own and do not reflect those of the Albany County Tourism Board.