Located on the edge of the Snowy Mountain Range on route from Rocky Mountain National Park to Yellowstone, Laramie has a ton of outdoor and cultural attractions for travelers from great microbrews to uncrowded alpine hikes. Here are the top things to do.
Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
Why go: Go on a guided or self-guided tour of this historic prison site built in 1872. For three decades, it housed some of the West’s most notorious criminals.
Little-known fact: The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only prison in the world to have housed the notorious Butch Cassidy.
Snowy Range Scenic Byway Hwy. 130
Why go: This stunning road through the Medicine Bow National Forest takes you past glacial lakes, dazzling quartzite peaks, gorgeous meadows and over the second-highest mountain pass in Wyoming. The breathtaking route reaches its high point at 10,000 feet. Start the drive west of Laramie at the village of Centennial. It’s closed mid-November to Memorial Day weekend.
Tip: Head to the Green Rock Trailhead to hike the 3.2-mile, moderate Barber Lake Trail or the more difficult Libby Creek Trail that’s 3 miles. For exceptional views and some rock scrambling, head to the Gap Lakes Trail.
Download the map at visitlaramie.org/things-to-do/scenic-drives/snowy-range-scenic-byway/.
University of Wyoming Geological Museum
Why go: See a 75-foot Apatosaurus skeleton, along with other dinosaurs, in this museum. While it roamed Wyoming, a living Apatosaurus ate one ton of vegetation daily and weighed 25 tons. The museum’s hours of operation are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission is free. University legend has it that if you can land a pinecone in the T. Rex statue’s mouth outside the museum, you’ll ace your finals. Even if you’re not a student, it’s fun to try.
Trivia: Disney-Pixar’s 2015 The Good Dinosaur featured a Wyoming Apatosaurus named Arlo who meets a human friend while navigating an unfamiliar landscape.
Lone Moose Ski Shop
Why go: Visiting in the winter? Head to Lone Moose Ski Shop, owned by Rebecca Walsh where you can rent downhill ski and snowboard gear, along with cross-country skis and snowshoes. A trusted woman-and-veteran-owned ski shop, Walsh and her team have all the beta on outdoor activities in the region.
Tip: Then, head downtown to check out Laramie’s Brewery Tour that brings you to five micro-breweries within a few blocks of each other. Start at Accomplice Mycro-Pub and end at The Library Sports Grille & Brewery.
For a fun boutique with a modern yet vintage vibe, check out Poppy’s.
Vee Bar Guest Ranch
Why go: Settle into horseback riding, evening campfires and incredible food at this gorgeous guest ranch. The main lodge was built in 1891 and served as a stage coach stop and a post office in its early days. Ranch manager and former wrangler Kari Kilmer is the oldest granddaughter of Vee Bar co-owner Lefty Cole. She and her husband Brent Kilmer have managed the ranch since 2006
Trivia: The ranch also offers overnight bed & breakfast stays that include hot breakfast and access to an outdoor hot tub, yard games, walking trails and more.
Wyoming House for Historic Women
Why go: This downtown museum honors Louisa Swain and 12 other Wyoming women who had far-reaching impacts on society. When 70-year-old Louisa Swain stepped up to the ballot box in 1870, she did something no female in the country had ever been able to do — she voted.
Her revolutionary act was made possible by a women’s suffrage bill passed by the Wyoming Territorial Legislature. It would be 50 years before women secured the right to vote on a national scale. Discover how Laramie’s progressive roots have given rise to entrepreneurial women and exciting attractions.
Trivia: Joining Swain as trailblazers in 1870 were Eliza Stewart, the first woman in the country selected to serve on a jury and Esther Hobart Morris, the nation’s first female justice of the peace. Swain cast her vote a block from this building.
Learn more at the Laramie Area Visitor Center/Albany County Tourism Board, 800 S 3rd St., in Laramie or at VisitLaramie.org.