I’m back outdoors!
Destination, Snowy Range Ski Area an easy drive about two and a half hours northwest towards the Medicine Bow National Forest to make some tracks. Coming from Denver, head north to Cheyenne(I-25), then west towards Laramie(I-80), then follow WY 130 towards Centennial. Snowy Range sits 32 miles west of Laramie, 5 miles west of Centennial.
If you love to ski or board and want to try something a little different then give Snowy Range a try. Snowy Range is small, just 27 trails but that shouldn’t stop you from coming here. This is my second time skiing here and though it’s been a few years since my last visit, if it weren’t worth it I wouldn’t have come back.
Here’s what I like most about Snowy Range. You are guaranteed to get in more than your fair share of runs for the day. Couple that with an inexpensive $43 full day lift ticket (adult) and you get more than your money’s worth. The lift lines are short and most of the trails are long, longest trail being 1.8 miles. Elevation from base to summit is 1000 feet.
The day lodge at Snowy Range has a gift shop, a bar and a huge cafeteria with plenty of food options. Rentals and lessons are available as well as snowshoe tours. There are lodging packages available in nearby Centennial as well as in Laramie. All and all skiing to me is about the experience and having a great time and I not only had fun, but I witnessed lots of other people young and old doing the same.
The hike to the top of Medicine Bow Peak Saturday was a success! Incredible weather, not a cloud in the sky all day and hardly any wind to speak of. From the Lewis Lake trailhead its only 2 miles to the summit, with lots of switchbacks across the face and very steep hike in some areas but well worth it in the end! Just think of it as nature’s stair climber and get that great lower body workout. There is a small bit of scrambling to be done near the summit, but nothing to fear. If you’re a photo hound like myself, be sure to bring your camera!
Medicine Bow Peak was the sight of a fatal airline crash back in 1955. United Airlines flight 409 crashed on October 6 several feet below the 12013 foot summit, demolishing the aircraft and killing all 66 onboard. The accident report reads that the crash was on the most vertical rock cliff of the mountain’s most eastern slope that some refer to as Disaster Wall. You can read a copy of the accident report here. Debris is said to be still found within the area and although I wasnt looking for any and I would guess that there is probably not a whole lot left, but there is always a possibility. None the less, a tragic incident, the most tragic airline accident in the U.S. at that time.
The easier hike seems to be from the Lake Marie trailhead, though longer (5 miles), it doesnt appear to have the same amount of steepness as starting from Lewis Lake. Maybe on another trip I might have to reach Medicine Bow Peak starting from there. Oh yea as for any wildlife, I saw nothing more than the usual pika or marmot. Unless you want to count the numerous herds of antelope seen along the drive on Interstate 80 and Wyoming highway 130.
Not in any hurry this day on the hike or to get back to Denver, we grabbed dinner and stayed the night at the Old Corral Hotel and Steakhouse there in Centennial. I recommend it.
OK, once again I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to updating you on my adventures. Believe me between working two jobs and trying to keep up with 3 blogs as well as just life in general things do get tend to get behind from time to time.
So I do have plenty of pics to post here from at least 2 or 3 other hikes from earlier this season and I’m also here to update you on my next adventure that’s happening this weekend.
This Saturday myself and my hiking buddies (more like family) are heading up across the border and into Wyoming. The destination is Medicine Bow National Forest to hike up to Medicine Bow Peak. I’ve heard and read great things about the hike itself and about the view from the top so it’s only natural that I’m excited to make the journey. The drive up is just under 3 hours, so we’re hoping to be laced up and on the trail by 11am.
I’ve visited this part of Wyoming before maybe 4 or 5 years ago when I skied Snowy Range Ski Resort which is in the same area basically, west of Laramie outside of the tiny town of Centennial, WY, population 100 (give or take), hence the name.
I may jinx myself by saying this, but as you probably know my luck with spotting any wildlife isnt good at all. Chipmunks arent really wildlife in my opinion and spotting the occasional marmot is hardly a step up in the proverbial food chain. So we’ll see how it goes this weekend.
I will try to post pics from previous hikes that I’ve yet to post before heading up to Wyoming on Saturday.
UPDATE – Photos are up from previous hikes that weren’t posted before. Forest Lakes hike and Round Hill hike, see below.