Cheyenne, WY

Cheyenne, WY

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 empty House of Representatives

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.

Crystal Lake Reservoir

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.

Park Entrance

Visitors Center

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.

The view from 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!

Hidden Falls

The Chameleon

The only wildlife we spotted

Horses on the trail

A Happy Hiker made it!

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 . . .

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34 Responses to Cheyenne, WY

  1. Debbie L says:

    I was born in Cheyenne! My dad was USAF, so he was transferred when I was 2. I can’t wait to go back there one day. I’ll look that hike up and we’ll probably have to also stay at that KOA. Thanks for this write up.

  2. I always enjoy “tagging along” on your hikes, looks like this was a good one. Are you guys planning to visit the Ame’s Brothers Pyramid (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2259) near Buford? ML just showed it to me in her Life Book, Hidden America, but not sure if we’re going to make it. Take care, see you down the road!

    • placestheygo says:

      I have the Ame’s Brothers Pyramid on the list fo things to see. Thanks for suggesting it and sending the link.
      You two would have really enjoyed this hike. Lots of views, constant short up and downs, and boulders. A fun time.
      Enjoy Scotts Bluff:)

  3. Mary says:

    We have only passed through there. We did stay at a very cool place between Cheyenne and Laramie last year. The vedauwoo recreation area. You can’t miss it from the highway. Awesome rock formations.

    • placestheygo says:

      We plan to go to Vedauwoo to do some hiking. It looks like great rock features. Good to know you enjoyed it. All the neat places between the cities were full since it wa the holiday weekend.

  4. Looks the water level was quite a bit lower in the creek than when we were there. We could see the falls way back in there from the same spot you were at. I’m glad the hike worked for you and got you back into some boulders!!!

    • placestheygo says:

      I was thinking your photos of the falls were from above, but last night I looked at your post and you were in the same place John was. All we could see was a little white splash at the bottom under a boulder so the water must have been much lower as you said. But there were several families playing in the water and having a great time. Super hike! Thanks again:)

  5. Very nice! Looks like you had a wonderful time. Hiking over 7 miles = impressive!

    • placestheygo says:

      We had very tired legs at the end. Not having hiked for two and a half months, we didn’t waste anytime getting into full shape right away:) It was a great day and we were thrilled to be back on the trail.

  6. Ingrid says:

    Isn’t it wonderful sharing sights and info via the blogosphere? Blogs have become my number one source for planning.

  7. Lenore says:

    Yeah, Cheyenne is kind of a sleepy little Capitol city. Glad you found some hiking nearby though. Did you hit the huge Sierra Trading Post store?

    • placestheygo says:

      Sleepy is the perfect word, Lenore! We didn’t want to say too much and offend anyone. With the capitol under construction now and closed til 2018, asleep will be a more appropriate word. But Curt Gowdy is a very nice park to hike and mountain bike. Yes, we did make a stop at the Sierra Trading Post. This was new for us.

  8. Sue says:

    Well, you two do manage to milk every last interesting (or at least semi-interesting) thing in every place you go. Thanks! See you soon

  9. Glad to see you back in the wild west! You will like Vedauwoo. Nice little trail and cool rocks to climb.

  10. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    Big Sky Country, for sure.
    Box Canyon Mark

  11. Sherry says:

    I’m LOL at a town with one person in it. Wonder how they even qualify for town status or a zip code. Bummer that it was Labor Day and you couldn’t get in the state park. I had no idea it had been so long since you’d been out hiking. Biting off 7 miles for the first one is quite a feat in my opinion.

    • placestheygo says:

      We didn’t know how long the hike would. Lisa sent me a suggested loop and we just headed off. We did a number of trails from intermediate, to advanced, and an expert section thrown in. It was nice not knowing how far anything was. Not bad for being at 7500 ft.

  12. Jodee Gravel says:

    Now that town might be TOO little 🙂 Can you imagine being the whole economy base of a whole town? Glad Lisa and Hans lead you to a fun spot with all those great rocks. Might have been fun to hike in the water but not the way back in wet shoes 🙂

  13. Marsha says:

    That Capitol looks HUGE! I wonder how long the building will be closed. Where will the Reps and Senators meet?

    I remember listening to Curt Gowdy. Especially during the Olympics. I think he was very good.

    Beautiful trail. I love the big rocks. There is no way I could ride a bike up or down those rocks.

    • placestheygo says:

      The Capitol looked much bigger outside than it felt inside. It will be closed til 2018. So anyone who goes to Cheyenne has nothing to visit. It is a very sleepy town to use Lenore’s word.

      Hiking up the expert trail that we showed in the blog was hard enough. Those bikers were crazy but they did an amazing job riding the rocks straight up. I thought they were crazy.

  14. Laurel says:

    What a beautiful trail — very cool rock formations. Looks like one we would enjoy for sure! I laughed about the town with a population of “1.” I wonder who in the world that person is. Maybe their name is Buford, haha!

    • placestheygo says:

      This was our first real hike since June 16th! It was a perfect trail for getting us back. Our legs were very tired at the end but, also, very happy:) Yes, You and Eric would enjoy the trail. There were quite a few birds.

      The town of Buford was named after Major General John Buford from the Civil War. Don Sammmons who purchased the town 1992 wrote a book about the town of one that you can purchase in the store. He doesn’t currently own it. He sold it to two Vietnamese who wanted to market their coffee. The town is now called Phin Deli Town Buford but they don’t live there. There is no mention of who the one is. But it makes for interesting conversation!

  15. Gay says:

    What a great hike…offers all the things I enjoy when I’m trekking on foot! Rock climbs, creeks, meadows and I love it when we see horses!

  16. Sarah says:

    Cheyenne may have been a sleepy town while you were there, but it really comes to life during Cheyenne Days, one of the premiere rodeos in the country. It’s almost impossible to find a place to stay, and the town is swarming with people. While you are in Laramie, you might enjoy the Interpretive Trails Center. I found it to be one of the best interpretive centers in the west, and it really does an amazing job of telling the story of all of the westward trails.

    • placestheygo says:

      It’s good to know that Cheyenne does come alive during Cheyenne Days:) We are enjoying Laramie with all of it history. But there doesn’t seem to be an Interpretive Trails Center here in Laramie but there is one in Casper. I really enjoy anything involving the move west on the Oregon Trail. I use to teach this time period to my third graders.

  17. LuAnn says:

    We have been to the Tetons but really not done much exploring of Wyoming. Thanks to you and Lisa we are adding to our Wyoming bookmark. This looks like a good series of hikes. Thanks!

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