Vedauwoo, Ames Monument and Happy Jack Area
Twenty miles east of Laramie, along 1-80, are the towering rocks of Vedauwoo (pronounced VEE-da-voo). Named after the Arapaho word meaning “earth-born,” it was once believed that these magnificent rock formations in the Pole Mountain area of Medicine Bow National Forest were created by playful spirits.
The area is a sacred place, rich with cultural significance. Historically, young Arapaho men travelled the region on vision quests. It was also used for hunting, fishing, gathering food, medicine, and lodge poles. The rock formations here take on a variety of lively shapes and visitors love to see what they can see in the stones – mushrooms, balancing rocks, rounded knolls, lizards, human faces, turtles – anything the mind can dream up!
Vedauwoo provides excellent backdrops for picnics, sightseeing, biking, mountain biking, camping, rock climbing, fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
There is a small $5 day fee for entrance to Vedauwoo. Camping is $10 per night.
Camping at Vedauoo
Vedauwoo also offers 28 campsites that allow units up to 32 feet long. Campsites offer tables, fire rings, trash pickup and vault toilets. All the tent sites are walk-ins. Some sites are so secluded, travelers can experience the “outlaw’s spirit” in gusts of restless wind.
Picnic at Vedauwoo
If you are interested in a picnic at Vedauwoo, there are several picnic sites with tables, grills, and designated parking areas. Remember to keep Vedauwoo, “Clean, Green and Pristine.” While you are enjoying your picnic, take time to explore the natural wonders that surround you. A variety of trails are conveniently located nearby.
Vedauwoo is a great place for pictures of beautiful sunsets, flowers, unique rock formations, captivating colors on the land and in the sky. Often used as the backdrop for engagement photos, weddings, even fashion shoots, the natural beauty sets the scene for a great photograph. Take your camera along and preserve all the unforgettable memories.
Go Climb a Rock!
Vedauwoo is considered a rock climbing mecca. At Vedauwoo you will find some of the best climbing in the state, ranging from 5.0 to 5.14 with many places to practice crack climbing. Rock climbing at Vedauwoo can take on many forms: climbing, belaying, or repelling. Some of the challenges for climbers are the faces that they climb. There are cracks with openings just wide enough for finger or foot holds and others large enough to chimney up your whole body. Local climbers enjoy the challenges they find at Vedauwoo year-round, while others will travel great distances to experience the wonders of these breathtaking formations.
Vedauwoo takes on a new level of beauty when the snow starts falling. Winter sport enthusiasts can enjoy activities like tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat biking and snowmobiling. Though access to some areas of Vedauwoo can be limited in the winter, sites such as Tie City and Happy Jack are popular cross-country ski and snowshoe destinations. Bundle up and enjoy a day trip with friends and family!
History of Vedauwoo
Vedauwoo was created approximately 1.4 billion years ago from magma under the earth and weathered overtime by wind, water, snow and ice. The rocks are primarily Sherman Granite, made of pink feldspar and other minerals. The rock formations rise up to 500 feet and stretch for 10 square miles. Vedauwoo stands at 8,200 feet with rainfall of 5-10 inches and snowfall of 60-80 inches annually.
Instead of turning north from I-80 at Vedauwoo (exit #329) turn south and take a short drive to the Ames Monument, a unique roadside attraction. An unusual 60 ft. pyramid shaped monument, this haunting limestone mass stands alone on the prairie and towers over the remains of the one-time railroad town of Sherman. This monument was built in 1881 to honor the Ames brothers, Oliver and Oakes, who were influential leaders in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific built the monument despite a scandal about the brothers’ mismanagement of railroad funds.
The pyramidal monument, designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, was built for the Union Pacific Railroad at the highest point on the line (Sherman Summit, Wyoming).