Stretching from northern Colorado to the middle of Wyoming, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is a massive 2.2 million acres of woods, grassland, mountains, prairies, and wetlands. There is something here for everyone to do, no matter what season you visit in your campervan. There are some amazing mountain ranges within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, including Laramie, Sierra Madre, Medicine Bow, Parks, Flat Tops, and Gore. It is a haven for thousands of wild animals and provides timber and other natural resources for people as well.
The elevations here in the forest goes from just over 5,500 feet to almost 13,000 feet and ranges from humid to cold to semi-arid conditions. In the higher elevations, you can even find frost or snow in July! Between the Black Hills and the Big Horn Mountains, you can find the Thunder Basin National Grassland, which provides thousands of acres of hunting, sightseeing, hiking, and more. With ten different wilderness areas, 1,360 developed recreational sites, eight mountain lakes, and two ski areas, there are a plethora of activities here to keep everyone busy year-round.
Try some whitewater rafting on one of the raging rivers, do some waterskiing on one of the many lakes, or go kayaking on a calm, clear pond. You can also enjoy some fishing or swimming in the many different waterways here in the forest. There are 36 developed RV campgrounds throughout the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest to choose from. We have highlighted our top three favorites below.
Spread out from Wyoming to Colorado, the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest can be reached easily from anywhere in the country and you will find some of the most beautiful and scenic driving here as well. You cannot beat the sight of the snow-capped mountain peaks, hundreds of creeks, rivers, and lakes, and meadows full of wildflowers along the roads.
The Snowy Range Byway on Highway 130 is amazing with 29 miles right through the center of the forest. You will see the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Madre, and Laramie Mountains, to name a few. The forest is just over 200 miles from Colorado Springs and a few hours from Boulder. Take Interstate 80 or 25 if you are coming from the north or east, and Interstate 70 from the south or west.
However you choose to get to your destination in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, you will want to slow down and enjoy the drive for safety and for taking pictures. The roads can get narrow and curvy, especially in the high country, and these roads may be impassable during snowy weather. Many of the roads here are not plowed as city and county streets are.
North Fork Campground by Centennial, Wyoming has 60 campsites with 10 of them right on the banks of the Little Laramie River. The spacious sites boast extra-large parking pads to accommodate even the largest RVs. Each campsite also has a picnic table that seats eight, a fire ring with a grill for cooking, and a large cleared spot for enjoying. The park has vault toilets and several potable water hydrants around the campground.
Take a hike in the woods on the North Fork Trail #390 or enjoy a peaceful float down the river on a raft. You can also try your luck at catching some of the trophy-sized trout in the river here. No reservations are allowed so you will need to get here early to get a spot, especially on weekends and holidays. Pets are welcome too so bring your pooch. However, you need to keep them restrained and supervised at all times during your stay.
Near Walden, Colorado Teal Lake Campground has 17 campsites on the banks of the 50-acre lake. Each site has a picnic table, campfire ring with a grill for cooking, and a parking pad that can accommodate RVs up to 50 feet long. There are several vault toilets in the campground and a few drinking water spigots in various spots around the park. These sites are first-come, first-served so you need to get here early to get a spot, especially on weekends and holidays.
This campground is popular with the OHV riders because of its proximity to 30 miles of OHV paths along the Grizzly and Helena Trails. For hikers and horse lovers, there is the 6.8-mile Newcomb Trail #1132. The lake is full of hungry trout so make sure you pack the poles in the RV before heading out. And you can go ahead and bring your pooch since pets are welcome too. However, you need to keep them restrained and supervised at all times.
For a climbing experience, try the Vedauwoo Campground near Cheyenne, Wyoming with 28 campsites within walking distance to some of the best rock-climbing sites in the area. In fact, the whole park is full of fantastic places to climb. Each site is equipped with its own table and fire pit with a grill and has a parking pad up to 60 feet long. These are first-come, first-served, so get here early to get a spot. Vault toilets and drinking water spigots are located in several spots around the park.
There are huge cliffs, slabs, and boulders here, which were once used as hiding places for outlaws and the Indians believed that it was playful spirits that built the walls of boulders. Many folks come here just for the climbing. You can also enjoy a hike on the 1.1-mile Box Canyon Trail or the 3.5-mile Turtle Rock Trail. Pets are welcome here too, but you have to keep them restrained and supervised while you are here.
With so many miles of OHV-approved trails in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, you better remember to hook up the ATV trailer to the campervan before heading out. The 30-mile Grizzly and Helena Trails are the most popular here with tons of dips, valleys, and curves to enjoy. And the Morrison Divide Trail is 13.3 miles of what is also known as the Muddy Slide Trail. Ascending to an elevation of 10,258 feet, this trail takes you to the geological landslide for an awesome downhill adventure. Make sure you bring your helmet.
Whether you want to climb a mountain or a rock face, there are plenty of choices for either here in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, so pack your climbing gear in the rig. The top three places for mountain climbing include the Libby Lake Site, Lewis Lake Picnic Site, and the Laramie Ranger District. The forest has all types of rock climbing from traditional to sport to top-rope, with varying amounts of pitch. The Laramie Peak Range and Vedauwoo are both full of challenges and the granite is smooth and solid.
Do you want to go for a nice, leisurely walk in the woods or take a 12-hour backpacking adventure in the mountains? Whatever you choose, there is a trail for you here in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. In fact, there are 197 named and groomed trails to explore and enjoy. The Vedauwoo Campground has two trails: the 3.5-mile Turtle Rock Trail and the 1.1-mile Box Canyon Trail. If you want a trail that takes you to a hidden lake, try the 1.7-mile Deep Lake Trail, off forest road 105.2B. Or you can hike the rugged nine-mile Cyclone Trail if you are looking for more of a challenge.
Hook up the trailer to the RV for your horses because you will find hundreds of miles of equestrian trails to enjoy here in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. In fact, there are 132 trails to be exact. The 6.8-mile Newcomb Trail at Newcomb Park takes you to the Continental Divide, which is a 3,100-mile trail that runs from Canada to Mexico. For a short and easy trail, try the 1.9-mile Salt Park Trail by the Flat Tops or the 2.4-mile-Sawtooth Trail in the high meadows. You and your four-legged friend are going to love this forest.
Hunting in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest is plentiful with a plethora of wild critters to hunt from moose to squirrels. Some of the largest include the black bear, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose. The most popular places to hunt here include the Troublesome Gould, Thunder Basin, Snowy Range, Pole Mountain, and Mount Zirkel area. For more of the little critters, try the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears District, Platte River Wilderness, Laramie District, and the Yampa District.
Want to try a little skiing while you are here in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest? Pack your skis in the RV because there are two ski resorts and many ski trails that you can explore and enjoy. The Steamboat Springs Resort has 169 trails with 2,965 feet of skiable acres. The vertical drop is 3,668 feet and the powder is beautiful. Snowy Range has 10 easy trails, 15 difficult trails, and eight trails for the experts who like a challenge.