Our next stop on our trek west is in Cheyenne, the capitol city of Wyoming. We are staying in a KOA during our visit as there are not many RV parks near the city. KOA parks are always overpriced and are usually full of amenities to draw in families with children. This one is overpriced but is basically a gravel parking lot, so it does not have any families staying here. Its close proximity to the interstate make it more of a one night stop-over type of park. But the sites are level, the utilities are good, and it’s close to Cheyenne so it works for us.
Cheyenne was founded by the Union Pacific Railroad during construct of the Trans-Continental Railroad in the late 1860s and is still a major hub for the railroad. But the big employer in town is the state government. The morning after our arrival we went to the capitol building for a tour.
The capitol building is a bit small as capitols go, but since the Wyoming has the smallest population in the country, that may be appropriate. They don’t have guided tours but do provide a handout for a self-guided tour. The building will completely close in less than two weeks for extensive renovations. The rooms housing the two legislative bodies have already been emptied so there wasn’t much to see during our tour.
The next day we took a driving tour of the country west of Cheyenne just outside of Curt Gowdy State Park. The dirt road we drove for most of our “tour” went right by the Crystal Lake Reservoir, which is within the state park.
The dirt road ends at an interchange on I-80 at the town of Buford. The town is a bit small, don’t you agree?
At one time during the construction of the railroad the town had a population of over 2,000. Now there is a convenience store with full pumps there and a large parking area where FedEx trucks meet and turn around. We don’t know who the one resident is.
On our final day in Cheyenne we headed back to the west on Hwy 210 for a visit to Curt Gowdy State Park. The park is named for the famous sportscaster of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It is midway between Cheyenne, where he grew up, and Laramie, where he attended the University of Wyoming. We learned about this park through our friends, Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road), who stayed here in June and gave high marks to the hiking in the park.
Hans and Lisa stayed in one of the water/electric sites in the campground during their visit. But it was the Labor Day week-end and the campground was full, so we just drove up from Cheyenne for the day (about 30 miles) to hike the trails. Lisa recommended a hike that combined a number of the many trails, so we followed her instructions and set off on the Stone Temple Trail.
The trail winds up through pine trees and a great view of Granite Springs Reservoir soon comes into view.
It continues climbing up into a rocky area that gives the trail its name.
The trails are very well labeled and, since this is a well known mountain biking area, each is rated for biking difficulty. We encountered just a few bikers on the Stone Temple Trail, which is rated intermediate so when we turned on to El Alto, rated expert, we didn’t think we would see any bikes. But to our surprise three bikes passed us on a steep part of the trail going up the rocks!
We took a short side trail to have lunch on a scenic overlook.
We also took another short side trail out to Hidden Falls, where we learned how the falls got its name. You can’t see the falls without hiking in the creek since there was little water flow . We passed on that!
The combination of trails we took ended up being a 7.2 mile hike. It’s a great hike with plenty of “up and down,” a bit of rock scrambling, and some nice views. Thanks for the recommendations, Lisa!
Next up for us is a visit to Laramie, one of the shortest moves we have ever made at just fifty miles up the road. More on that later . . .