On your way to or from Rocky Mountain National Park or Yellowstone, stop in the Laramie area to stretch your legs. Three enterprising locals share tips on where to go in Laramie and what to do.
Rebecca Walsh, Owner of Basecamp outdoor store
When Rebecca Walsh opened her retail store Basecamp in Laramie, Wyo., in 2017, she saw it as one more step in her quest to create a stronger outdoor community.
She’d already had launched her website, Hike Like A Woman, to connect women with volunteers who lead group hikes across the country. Opening the doors to Basecamp was really a physical extension of Hike Like A Woman.
“We do more than just sell clothing and gear,” says Walsh, noting she also rents gear. “It’s a place where we have workshops and clinics and start adventures. My ultimate goal is to help people get outdoors and explore and Basecamp helps facilitate that.”
And she loves that within a short drive from town, she can hike through the prairie, the forest or through a high alpine meadow. The surrounding terrain is so diverse and so rugged and beautiful it’s great for outdoor recreation. But if you ask her to pick her favorite trail, you may just stump her.
“I can’t pick just one, but my staff and I all spend a lot of time on the Happy Jack/Tie City trail network and at Vedauwoo,” she says. “Curt Gowdy State Park is great, too. The Snowy Range is close to town, too, but if I have just an hour or two, I head to Happy Jack.”
If guests are in town, Walsh takes them to Vedawoo Recreation Area to hike amongst the gigantic boulder formations. And there’s the awe-inspiring, traffic-free Snowy Range Scenic Byway where she pulls over to bring visitors on a hike to the top of Medicine Bow Peak.
For Walsh, people make her world go round.
“ I always feel good when someone who might be intimidated by the thought of going backpacking or cross-country skiing for the first time wanders in the store looking for advice and encouragement,” she says. “It’s so fun to chat with them and help them plan and get ready for an adventure.”
How to Get There: Basecamp is located at 220 S 2nd St. in Laramie.
Jennifer Small, Owner of Golden Prairie Bakery
Realized her dream: Opened her bakery in October 2017. “I grew up in a family-owned country inn where my father was an old-school apprentice-trained chef.”
Why she loves Laramie: The small-town feel and the friendly people
Favorite bakery item: “Probably my Chocolate Rum Pecan Pie, but people are crazy about the bear claws, cinnamon rolls, carrot cake and sourdough breads.”
Favorite thing to do in Laramie: “We have seen some great shows at the Gryphon Theatre. It is a very beautiful, small venue.” Less than 1 mile from downtown, the theater is on the north side of the Historic Laramie Plains Civic Center.
Recommends: The Snowy Range to see Medicine Bow Peak, a 12,014-foot peak
Essential information: The bakery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. “You may stop by during the week while we are producing. We always have items available.”
How to get there: The bakery is located off Hwy. 130. Two miles west of the airport, turn on Herrick Lane and take the first dirt road on your right [BWJ Road]. Drive .3 miles until you reach the little red building in the cow pasture.
Kari Kilmer, Manager of Vee Bar Guest Ranch
Realized her dream: As the oldest granddaughter of co-owner Lefty Cole, Kari started working as a wrangler at Vee Bar at age 14. She continued working there in the summer through college as she fell in love with Brent Kilmer whom she met in college. The two have managed Vee Bar since 2006.
Why she loves Laramie: The sports and cultural opportunities offered through University of Wyoming, plus the mountains, western culture and heritage.
Favorite thing to do at the ranch: “I am very happy to be raising my kids at the ranch. We go riding, walking, bike riding and more as a family. We also work together. Our kids come to work with us all the time.”
Recommends: Sporting events at the University of Wyoming
Best aspect of Vee Bar Ranch: “Vee Bar touches our guests in the most unexpected ways, whether it is overcoming a fear of riding, spending time together as a family or providing the right dose of adventure and relaxation.”
Essential information: The guest packages are 6-nights, Sunday through Saturday. There are three-night packages available, as well.
Learn more at the Laramie Area Visitor Center/Albany County Tourism Board, 800 S 3rd St., in Laramie or at VisitLaramie.org.