Trail’ology: I’d hike but I don’t know where to go

When Al and I were in the Army one thing that we struggled with was learning a new area every time we'd move and then figuring out the best places to explore. So, we'd head down this list and try to piece together local places to hike, mountain bike and cross-country ski.   Here is a list of the top 7 places we'd go. Forest Service Offices: Rangers are usually eager to share information on local outdoor recreation and can tell you exactly where to go and send you out the door with maps too! Outdoor Gear Shops: Typically owners…

Historic Lodges and Resorts in the Snowy Range

There were many old historic lodges and resorts in the Snowy Range of Medicine Bow National Forest. Some of them are gone, some have become private residences, and some are still available for vacationers. My curiosity though has always been the lodges and resorts that have been abandoned but are still somewhat intact and just sitting in the forest waiting to be explored. I've put together a list of my favorites. Sand Lake Resort: The Sand Lake Resort is the most extensive in terms of buildings left standing. There are over a dozen and once you spot them for the…

Tie Hack Camps in the Medicine Bow National Forest

It is no secret that cutting railroad ties was a major activity in what is now the Medicine Bow National Forest from the last half of the 1800s into the early 1900s. The ties were cut during the winter and floated down the mountain in the spring. This required tie hacks to live in the mountains during the cold harsh winters and get around cutting trees and getting supplies. Of the many tie hack camps that existed, what remains of two of them are very near some established hiking trails. One of them is along Brush Creek and the other…

Places for a Good Family Day in the Mountains near Laramie

So where is a good place to take the family on a stroll in the woods? We've put together a list of our favorites. These aren't necessarily places with the easiest trails but they are places with things to keep most family members entertained. The first one, Mirror Lake, is best if you're trying to minimize the amount of walking but has the fewest places to picnic. The second two, Silver Lake and Vedauwoo don't have hard trails and you don't even have to take the trails. But if you do, everyone should be up for at least two and…

Favorite Alpine Lakes in the Snowy Range

There is something special about alpine lakes. They stand in peaceful contrast to the rugged, rocky mountains which surround them. They create near perfect reflections of those same rugged peaks. They are often unbelievably clear, to the point where you can see straight to the bottom and watch fish swim by. And on a peaceful day, an alpine lake is the best place to sit and let the world go by. The Snowy Range is home to many, but I've but together a list of our favorite alpine lakes. Gap Lakes: I say it all the time but Gap Lakes…

Historic Sites near Medicine Bow Peak

The entire Medicine Bow Peak area is a fun place to spend some time and as far as mountain roads go, it's a pretty easy drive to get up there. So aside from hiking to the summit or lingering by the many alpine lakes, here's a list of historic sites near Medicine Bow Peak to explore. The Billie Class Stamp Mill: This one is very easy to get to and contains the remains of an old stamp mill, an important but often overlooked part of mining history. To be sure, not much of the mill remains but what is there…

Trails for solitude in the Snowy Range

So you want to wander some trails without staring at someone else's backpack the whole time. We put together a list of trails for solitude in the Snowy Range to help you out. Just remember that some of these trails offer solitude because it takes quite a bit of time and effort to get to them. The north and middle sections of Sheep Lake Trail: Sheep Lake Trail can get a lot of traffic during the summer months, especially starting from the Brooklyn Lake Trailhead. However, all of these people usually disappear by the time you get north of Sheep…

Easy to get to Historic Sites in the Snowy Range

The Snowy Range is peppered with historic sites from mines to tie hack camps to lodges. Some of them are even close enough to a main road that you can explore them without walking much at all. Red Mask Mine: The Red Mask Mine is right next to Wyoming Highway 130. A short easy loop trail will take you to the Red Mask Mine and an old cabin used by the miners. The mine shaft is filled in but you'll see what's left of the old headframe and part of a rusted boiler. The cabin is in fair shape and…

Summit Hikes in Poudre Canyon

Summits are always a big draw no matter where they are. The ability to see for miles makes them appealing and they give a feeling of accomplishment that comes from knowing you made it to the top on your own. We like the summit hikes in Poudre Canyon because they strike a good balance between not to close to Fort Collins and not to far away. There are even good options for beginners. Gateway Natural Area: The Gateway Natural Area has two easy and short trails that will give you some great views up and down the Poudre Canyon. The…

Easy scenic hikes in the Snowy Range.

Whether you don't have time to walk a long trail out and back or you just don't want to, we want to help. Here are some places to visit that offer some great scenery with little, and sometimes no effort beyond driving. In these areas you don't have to walk the entire length of a trail. Just sit and enjoy a peaceful lake or take a stroll and turn around whenever you want. [caption id="attachment_1953" align="alignright" width="150"] Lake Marie from the Medicine Bow Peak Trail[/caption] Mirror Lake or Lake Marie: Both of these lakes sit right below Medicine Bow Peak…