With a top elevation of over 9,000 feet, the Shirley Mountains tower over Wyoming. It’s open to visitors year-round and makes a great vacation for both solo travelers and families. The Shirley Mountains run along the Shirley Basin. It is just northwest of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. You’ll find a variety of different landscapes in the area. There are blushing red walls that light up during sunrise and sunset. You’ll also find limestone formations that are located above the 8,000 feet elevation mark.
You will also find less impressive mounds and valleys that are perfect for mountain bike enthusiasts. There are 18 different climbs on the Shirley Mountains. The easiest climb leads to a stunning and unique cave. There are ram horn top anchors to make mountain climbing as easy as possible. Speaking of activities, there are also designated areas for mountain biking.
You can explore caves, look at the local wildlife, and even camp at one of the nearby campgrounds. The Shirley Mountains has a variety of different things to offer at any time of the year. Don’t forget to spend a night stargazing. Due to the lack of pollution, the stars are extremely bright on clear nights.
Wyoming is an interesting state to travel through. The terrain can be flat one minute and steep the next. If you’re planning a trip to the Shirley Mountains, there are some things to keep in mind. For starters, cell phone reception can be patchy in the area. You may want to plan ahead and print directions in the event that your GPS loses signal. If you’re traveling between October and March, you may want to watch the weather as well.
Due to the snow, some road closures may occur and could lead to detours during your trip. From Medicine Bow, Wyoming, your best option is to take 487 North. This will eventually take you to Road 3115 South. When you’re in this area, the roads tend to get steep. Take your time and remember not to ride the brake on the way down the mountains.
There are several places you can stop and begin exploring on the way to the peak. The majority of transportation on the mountain is done on foot or on mountain bikes during peak season. You can also bring a snowmobile or a pair of skis when visiting in the winter.
If you want to spend a night gazing at a myriad of stars, Dugway Campground is a great choice for people visiting the Shirley Mountains. It is a campground that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Campsites there are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are five campsites in total, one of which is pull-through and the others are spur campsites. This is a great spot for solo travelers or couples.
Since it is a smaller campground, there is a peaceful feeling that comes with staying there. You can park the RV or pitch a tent to get some rest after a day of exploring the Shirley Mountains. Dugway Campground has a group site, day-use parking, and parking spur. You’ll also find that each of the five campsites has a picnic table and fire ring for your convenience. There is a vault toilet available for the entire campsite to share.
Bishops Point Campground is perfect for those who enjoy camping near the water. It provides a calm and relaxing soundscape to fall asleep to. It is open all year round to both tent and RV campers. There are nearly 50 campsites available for campers to enjoy. They are nestled right on the water and all have a fire ring and picnic table for you to use. There are a handful of restrooms throughout Bishops Point Campground, as well as dumpsters.
If you have a larger group, you can rent and reserve a large shelter that has a roof, several picnic tables, grills, and fire rings. You will also find a few docks and boat ramps with easy access to Pathfinder Reservoir. Bishops Road is a gravel road that will take you around and through the two different sections of Bishops Point Campground. This is a great place for families to stay when they’re visiting the Shirley Mountains.
Westside Campground is another option that’s located right near the water. With nearly 20 campsites along Alcova Lake, it’s a beautiful place to rest your head while visiting the area. There is a mixture of large group shelter sites, along with regular individual sites. Each comes with a picnic table and fire ring. The group sites are a bit larger and usually have more than one picnic table that is covered within a shelter. There are two restrooms available that are used by all campers of Westside Campground.
The majority of the campground is also handicap accessible. You will also find a kiosk with important information posted. This campground has dumpsters available to help keep the area as clean as possible. You will enjoy staying here if you’re planning to take the boat out on the water. There are also plenty of trails in the area where you can ride your four-wheeler or dirt bike.
What better thing to do when visiting the Shirley Mountains than to climb it? Rock climbing or mountain climbing is easily the most popular activity visitors of the mountain enjoy. Something to note is that you do need to bring your own rock climbing gear. Pay attention to the sun's schedule so that you’re not climbing in the shade or too late into the day. This is a fun activity that ends with an amazing view of Wyoming.
If you want a thrill, mountain biking is another fun activity that you can enjoy when visiting the Shirley Mountains. Be sure to pack your bike onto the RV to get the most out of this activity.
Mountain biking is an adrenaline rush that gives you a unique way to explore the area. There are some trails throughout the mountain, but you can go off these trails if you’re feeling brave. With the quick-changing terrain, please wear safety gear.
A more laid back activity that the entire family can enjoy is wildlife viewing. Whether you know every animal in the area or you’re interested in bird watching, it can be a fun thing to do to pass the time and immerse yourself in nature.
Some of the more common animals seen in this area of Wyoming are American bison, American black bears, grizzly bears, cougars, and wolverines. Be careful to not approach any wild animals in their natural habitat.
When you’re visiting the Shirley Mountains during the off-season, there are still plenty of fun things to do. Something that many people enjoy is skiing. There are a variety of different terrain types in the area. This allows you to partake in calm cross-country skiing or something more intense with inclines and steep grades.
The Shirley Mountains are great for skiing, but make sure to bring your own gear as there are no rental stores in the area.
If you’re looking for a less physically demanding off-season activity, consider towing the snowmobile behind your RV. Snowmobiling is a thrilling hobby that the entire family can enjoy. It’s important that you snowmobile on specific trails and roads. Part of the Shirley Mountains is private land that doesn’t have access to visitors.
For your own safety, make sure that you’re wearing proper attire and never forget to put on a helmet. The terrain changes quickly and it’s best to avoid getting hurt.
After a long day of skiing or snowmobiling, you’ll probably be ready to chow down on some delicious food. This is why picnicking is one of the best and most popular off-season activities. You can pack your favorites in the RV and warm up after spending time in the cool Wyoming winter. This is something that people of all ages can enjoy.
If you do decide to set up a picnic table outside or lay down a blanket, make sure that you clean up after yourselves. This keeps the area preserved and avoids bears being attracted to where you are.