Two Hikes near Casper

Casper, WY

With a little research the nimble hiker was able to find two hiking areas in the mountains just south of Casper.  On Saturday we did the longest and most difficult of the two, a five miler in Rotary Park that begins at the base of Casper Mountain.  This little park is located at the mouth of a canyon created by a couple of streams that merge into one just above a nice waterfall.  A series of trails along either side of the canyon allow you to enjoy a hike of any length, although all trails come with sharp elevation gains.

We started out by hiking up a short trail to the base of Bridle Falls.

Look closely at the base of the falls in the photo below and you can see a young man standing under the falls.  Turns out his father offered him $10 to stand there.

After checking out the falls we began hiking up a trail on the west side of the canyon.  At points where two trails intersected there is a map mounted on a pole designating the location and the elevation of that spot.  We didn’t find the people of Casper to be of above average height, but there must be many tall hikers around here somewhere as each location sign was mounted a bit high up on the pole.

This marker gave us a warning of what to come in the statement “steep trail ahead – 15% grade.”

Elevation 6490′

They weren’t kidding about the steep grade.  The trail went sharply up for about a half mile before entering a series of switchbacks with a more reasonable gain in elevation.

Less than a mile later Elevation 7305′

The trail leveled off at the top and we soon came to a formation appropriately called Split Rock.

A young hiker exits Split Rock

The trail crosses the main creek before it heads back down the east side of the canyon.

As the trail heads back down the canyon it goes through an area containing a couple of cabins.  Someone in one of the cabins must be an avid dog lover.

Just past the treat area we came to a short side trail that led to a nice bench next to a stream.  The perfect place for lunch!

Lunch with a view

As we enjoyed our lunch some hikers passed by with two dogs.  Do they look a bit familiar?

Lewis Squared!

The trail continued down the east side of the canyon with great views of Casper in the distance.

We passed through a number of open areas filled with colorful spring flowers.

We began this hike with no expectations, as the information on it was a bit vague.  But it turned out to be a great hike with a challenging gain in elevation and beautiful scenery.

Today (Sunday) we drove south to another mountain range, Muddy Mountain.  To get there we drove back south over Casper Mountain, across an open valley, and up to the Muddy Mountain Environmental Education Center (elev. 8,200′).

Looking south from Casper Mountain

Going through the valley between the two mountain ranges

The Muddy Mountain Environmental Education Area has a series of short, easy trails with 28 interpretive signs providing information about the surrounding “flora and fauna.”  Two overlooks provide great views of the valley below.  We hiked all the trails for a total distance of three miles.  There are also two small primitive campgrounds on either side of the trail area.

We were lucky to find a parking place on a warm Sunday afternoon

The area had numerous Lodgepole Pine Trees

At over 8,000′ there is still a bit of snow in the area

Heading back down the valley between the two mountain ranges

We really enjoyed our short stay in Casper.  It is a very nice little city and we found the people to be extremely friendly.  Tomorrow we head a hundred miles to the north for an extended stay in the small town of Buffalo.

More on that later . . .

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17 Responses to Two Hikes near Casper

  1. Upriverdavid says:

    Sitting on a horsie…I’m betting those signs are just the right height….

  2. Rebecca Salazar says:

    Tall signs to compensate for snow level in winter ?? Meanwhile it was 109 in Tucson today….

  3. Laurel says:

    That Bridle Trail hike is gorgeous! Wildflowers, waterfalls, interesting rock formations, lush greenery — and a good workout, too. Looks like a perfect hike to me. (Lewis Squared, haha!) :-))

  4. geogypsy2u says:

    Love how you two find beautiful landscapes wherever you go. No snow left on the Kaibab with 90+ degrees.

  5. explorvistas says:

    That is excellent signage!

  6. Rick Garboden says:

    We were in Buffalo last summer and did a drive there at Crazy Woman Canyon. It is beautiful there as you drive thru the canyon. It is a rough road in some parts of it but we took it very slow in our CRV and did fine. Happy Camping.

  7. That first hike had it all, just lovely! Isn’t hiking with water features the best?!?

  8. pmbweaver says:

    Sorry…need to get on my soapbox for a second…why do parents think they have to pay there kids to do anything? This really gets me upset. (Al done.)
    Oh how I just love waterfalls. They are so dang calming not to mention beautiful!
    You look awesome, Pam, amongst the wildflowers.

  9. Jodee Gravel says:

    We’ll be heading to Casper in July so I’m really glad to hear it’s a fun place. Lack of good signage is a pet peeve, so those nice big, informative signs are pretty sweet. Of course Bill would have to read them for me from “way down here”. I like the horseback and snow level ideas, better than mine of avoiding vandalism! That overly crowded parking lot could have been a big deterrent…..glad you squeezed your way in 🙂 It’s so fun to find snow in June!

  10. Sue says:

    Thanks for showing us your view of Casper, who knew? I loved seeing two of Lew! Were they as glad to see you as he always is?

  11. Nancy says:

    Now how cool was that mailbox filled with treats for the dogs. ❤

    Great trails! Still some snow… whoa! And always my fave… Lunch With A View!

  12. rommel says:

    If not for the split rock, I think I’m good down seeing the waterfall. 🙂 I’m kidding. I can’t wait to hike some more here in Japan.

  13. Debbie L says:

    Wow, love those signs! And the elevation and grade. Sure makes for a challenging hike. Way to go!

  14. LuAnn says:

    Looks like that first hike had everything you would want. We have never been to Casper. Thanks for the tour!

  15. Did you cool yourself off Pam digging your shoes in the snow? Tall signage means I could get lost, I’m two feet short of that sign 🙂
    Enjoy your weather, we are in the 90’s here by the lake.

  16. Gay says:

    Isn’t hiking near water just the greatest? Awesome recap and pictures John and Pam…

  17. Trail magic for dogs. Great idea. What a great hike!

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