Five must-see summer destinations in Albany County


By IKE FREDREGILL

With all of Laramie’s events and attractions, it can be easy to miss out on Albany County’s grandeur.
The Gem City is a great base camp, full of all the amenities a budding High Plains drifter could desire. But, the real adventure doesn’t begin until you leave the city limits.

Vedauwoo

Vedauwoo has a little bit of something for everyone: camping, rock climbing, wildlife, fishing, mountain biking and the potential for dozens of other outdoor activities. With a boat accessible lake just a few miles east of the Vedauwoo’s world famous rock formations, numerous streams and beaver ponds, the fishing opportunities are ample.
About 20 minutes from town, the area provides excellent opportunities for day-tripping and weekend outings alike.

Scenic Byway

The Snowy Range Scenic Byway winds through the Medicine Bow National Forest, granting travelers access to alpine lakes, mountain cabin lodging and hiking trails with some of the best views in Albany County.
Closed most of the year due to snow accumulation, road crews start work in May to clear the often 20-feet high snow drifts by Memorial Day. Once open, the two-lane highway provides travelers access to some of the state’s most pristine outdoor habitats.
About halfway through the mountain pass, visitors can picnic at Mirror Lake beneath Medicine Bow Peak, which towers overhead at more than 12,000 feet above sea level.

Sybille Canyon

Dying to see elk, deer, bighorn sheep and bison? From Laramie, head north on Wyoming Highway 287 and take the Wyoming Highway 34 turn off.
The highway cuts through the mountains heading toward Wheatland, but along the way, you’ll pass the Tom Thorne and Beth Williams Wildlife Research Center wildlife enclosures, which are semi-natural containment areas for a number of native wildlife species.

Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse Ecosanctuary

Approximately 30 miles west of Laramie, wild horses prance across open fields at Deerwood Ranch, the first Bureau of Land Management sponsored wild horse ecosanctuary in the United States.
Occupying approximately 4,700 acres, Deerwood Ranch’s abundant trees and natural shelter provide the wild horses refuge during the often harsh Wyoming winters. The middle fork of the Little Laramie River meanders through the property, providing year-round access to live running water.
Although the ranch is privately owned, the public can call 307-399-9956 to schedule a tour of the horse preserve.

Camel/Chimney Rock

Depending on whether you’re standing in Wyoming or Colorado, the rock formation at Sand Creek National Natural Landmark either looks like a desert dwelling ungulate or the rise of an old homesteader’s chimney stack.
Off the beaten trail, the landmark and its surrounding area is one of only six federally declared Natural Landscapes in Wyoming.
Well worth the trip, directions and a detailed description can be found at Away From The Grind.

A Wyoming sunset blazes across the evening sky behind Vedauwoo’s famous rock formations. Courtesy Photo