Where To Start:
You can start at either end of the byway, but we are going to start our tour from Laramie, Wyoming. The scenic byway, Hwy 130, has its own exit off of Interstate-80 (Exit 311 in Laramie, to be exact) and you will reach the base of the mountain within 30 minutes.
Along the way you will see dude ranches, a bakery in the middle of nowhere, wide open spaces, and basically everything you'd want on a trip to Wyoming. You will also see off to the left a deep drop-off which happens to be the largest wind-carved valley in North America and the second largest in the world! And it keeps getting better!
On The Scenic Byway:
You will be traveling towards the small towns of Albany and Centennial, Wyoming. Towards Albany (down Hwy 11, off of Hwy 130) you can visit the Deerwood Ranch Wild Horse EcoSanctuary. The ranch will not allow you to tour the grounds unless you call at least 48 hours in advance to set up an appointment.
To continue along the scenic byway, stay on Hwy 130 and you'll arrive at the town of Centennial. This little town is a great stop to take a break. They have a homemade ice cream shop, the Nici Self Museum, a gas station (if you forgot to fill up in Laramie), and multiple restaurants which usually have local musicians playing in the evenings. It's a fun little town!
Just beyond the little community, you will start to wind up the mountain towards the local ski area. There is a visitor center a mile or two outside of Centennial which will have hiking/biking/horseback-riding and camping maps and info on where to stop for the best views. If you are staying over night in the range, we recommend the Sugarloaf campsite - the morning view of the mountain range at this location is jaw-dropping to say the least.
Top 10 Places To Visit:
We could go on and on about our adventures and where the really impressive overlooks are, so to save you some reading time we will shorten the list down to our 10 favorite spots. Most of these are easily accessible off of the highway so don't worry about getting lost!
The Other Side:
As you start to descend from the peak, the national forest will start to surround you again and the road drops off into rolling mountain valleys. If you pass by the local ranches and farms where you might even see small herds of bison and horses running along the hills. If you love to fish this is a prime location as the North Platte river starts here.
On this tour we are going to send you north, staying on Hwy 130 towards the town of Saratoga, Wyoming. If you have the time and want to continue on a national forest/mountain tour, head south towards the old mining towns of Riverside and Encampment (Hwy 230) which reside in the Sierra Madre range of the Medicine Bow National Forest.
Saratoga is a small town in Wyoming, but believe it or not, private jets from all over the world fly in to this little town to take in the Wyoming landscape and for the Saratoga golf course. Not only do they have spectacular views of the mountains, the town is also known for its natural hot springs. The Hobo Hot Pool is its name, it sits right next to the North Platte river, and it is free and open 24/7!
Wrapping It Up:
Hwy 130 will take you back to Interstate-80 about 20 miles east of Rawlins, Wyoming and about 100 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming. Like we had stated earlier in this article, you can start at one end of the byway and make your way to Laramie or you can just wing it! There is so much to explore here y'all and what we have described to you is only 2 portions of the Medicine Bow National Forest. So get out there and explore!
Just remember to take your time and enjoy the little things along the way! We wish we could tell you more, but we need to save some of the secrets for ourselves, right? :)
Just a couple of travel bums living life to the fullest. Join us on our adventures from coast to coast, from country to country, and everything in between!