Medicine Bow Forest: Two Great Spots
By Shannon Broderick
Medicine Bow National Forest is huge–over two million acres, to be exact–and spans across both Southeastern Wyoming and Colorado (which are both massive states to begin with) So where to start?
As a recent transplant to the great American West who landed in a small town smack in the middle of Medicine Bow, Ive spent my weekends exploring the forest to the east and west of me. While theres much to still see, Ive put together a handy little guide to finding the best views in my two favorite parts of the forest–Vedauwoo & the Snowy Range.
Giant rock formations? Check. Twisted, gnarled trees? Check. Red, dusty roads? Check, check, check. Seen from I-80, Vedauwoo rises up amongst the plains, a mixture of jagged peaks and alien-like giant rocks.
Vedauwoo is a haven for boulder and rock climbing enthusiasts, and a great place to camp. Stop anywhere on the side of the road to clamber on giant rocks, or take Happy Jack Road to see cows, rolling plains, and stunning vistas. (And if you’re not alone? Take a spin down some telephone roads and check out what they have to offer–every one is different)
The Snowy Range (an offshoot of the Rockies) is easily one of the most beautiful parts of Medicine Bow National Forest. Take Highway 230 through the park, winding up and down mountains and hugging hairpin turns (keep an eye on the highway + resist the temptation of gazing at the sights!).
At the top, Libby Flats Observation Point offers beautiful views of the mountain range, from a stone observation tower; at the bottom, Lake Louise, a sparkling, crystal clear lake, is the perfect foreground to Medicine Bow Peak. And far down a trail near Brooklyn Lake is the St. Albans Chapel, a rustic little outdoor chapel amongst the trees, mountains and rocks.
The best time to visit both places is summer, when (most) of the snow on the snowy range is melted, and the lakes are full in August, wildflowers are also in abundance, which is great for photos. It is rather dry though, especially at Vedauwoo–no campfires allowed!