The Best Wyoming Mountain Range You’ve Never Heard Of

When my family took a camping vacation to Wyoming one June, we discovered the Snowy Range Mountains—the best Wyoming mountain range you’ve never heard of!

"Wyoming's Snowy Range Mountains" with image of two hikers looking up at the mountain peak

We’ve already been to the Tetons, the Beartooth Mountains, Yellowstone, and past the Wind Rivers. Earlier in our trip we camped in the Bighorns because we had been hearing about them for years.

But we wouldn’t have known about the Snowy Range except by word-of-mouth from friends who had been there the summer before. They knew about them because of the recommendation of mutual friends in Laramie. The locals.

So we decided to check them out, and are we ever glad we did!

What We Love about the Snowies

They’re Accessible

The Snowies are a relatively small mountain range, part of Medicine Bow National Forest. Just 30 miles west of Laramie and three hours north of Denver.

Driving scenic Highway 130 brings you through the range right in the mountains. You can see them well without ever leaving your car—but I definitely recommend you leave your car.

five people standing in front of the mountains
This photo of our family was taken from the parking lot. That’s accessible!

A Great Ranger Station

Just past the little town of Centennial, heading west into the Snowies, is a Ranger Station with a little gift shop.

The two ladies we encountered there were super friendly and helpful, and even stayed open late on our way back out so we could buy our sweatshirts. They had a great variety of gifts, apparel and books. We also got a detailed hiking map there.

An Easy Day Trip

We didn’t make it all the way through the Range on our day trip, but only because we stopped twice to hike.

The second hike took us three hours, so we opted to head back to our campground instead of finishing the drive. But you could easily drive through and back in a day.

They’re So Close!

I guess this goes with being accessible, but it was glorious being right next to these 12,000-foot mountains.

Again, you don’t have to hike in to get their magnitude. If you never leave the parking lot, you still get great views.

four people standing on a road with high snowbanks, mountains directly behind
They were plowing this road for the first time of the season while we were there—in late June.

Amazing Hike with Jaw-Dropping Views

We had just started on the Lakes Trail when we encountered a couple from Colorado coming back. They told us there were jaw-dropping views the entire way.

They weren’t kidding! This was the most scenic hike I’ve ever been on, without exaggerating.

I think it’s because, while there are plenty of trees up there, our hike was high enough that it was very open. We could see the mountains all the way out and all the way back.

And even though we were on the same trail both ways, the views were different because we were facing a different direction.

two women on the hiking trail in the Snowy Range Mountains
Looking toward Medicine Bow Peak, the tallest mountain in the Snowy Range

No Grizzly Bears

We all agreed that after being in the Tetons, Yellowstone and the south end of the Wind Rivers, it was a relief to not have to think about encountering a grizzly bear!

The Coolest Rocks

I think I can say this is the only hike I’ve done where I kept stopping to take pictures of rocks! The higher we got, the cooler they were. I’m not talking pebbles here, but boulders 3-4 feet across.

The photo below is a sampling from around 11,000 feet:

green and red rock samples from the Snowies
A sampling of the oh-so cool boulders in the high altitudes

A Friendly Marmot

We had seen a few of these large rodents throughout our Wyoming trip, but this one was the first that didn’t scurry away as soon as he saw us.

marmot in rocks
This marmot was very curious about us

We don’t have marmots in Minnesota, so it was fun for us to see this curious guy!

No Crowds

There were a handful of people there, but on many sections of our hike we didn’t see anyone else outside our family. The parking lots had only 2-3 other cars, if any.

Of course it was early in the season for this road—there was still a lot of snow, and the main campground near the pass wasn’t even open yet.

But after spending five days in the Tetons and Yellowstone the lack of crowds was very noticeable, and a nice change.

three people jump high in the mountains
We LOVE the Snowies!

I highly recommend the Snowy Range Mountains, even if it’s just a day trip through. If you can take a few days and camp, that would be even better.

The Range is riddled with hiking and backpacking trails that we’re anxious to go back and explore.

A man walks across boulders in the mountains
Nick and I drove through the Snowies again in October of 2020. We wanted to hike, but it was windy and FREEZING, and we didn’t have the right gear.

Be Open to Out-of-the-Way Places

Among the super-popular spots we hit on that trip, we also intentionally looked for a handful of out-of-the-way places that weren’t as well known.

This helped make that trip extra fun, and gave us a nice variety of experiences.

The Lord wants to do that in our lives, too. It might be an unexpected door He opens. Or a person we happen to meet who seems incidental, but ends up being a life-changer. Maybe it’s a book we pick up, or a conference we attend that impacts us more than we bargained for.

God is a specialist at orchestrating the details of our lives if we invite Him to! Be open to out-of-the-way places He may direct you to, or out-of-the-way journeys He may take you on.

Here’s more…

Sharon Brodin