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Medicine Bow National Forest was originally established in 1902 to preserve this unique piece of historic Wyoming wilderness for posterity. For generations, various Native American tribes congregated in this region as a part of a ritual powwow ceremony. The tribes would search for a particular type of mahogany wood that was considered to be especially good for bows. It was also believed that it could cure illnesses and diseases, and bows made with this wood played a large role in various rituals and ceremonies.
The closest town is Laramie, a little over 30 miles to the east. The Medicine Bow National Forest headquarters are run out of Laramie. The town has a handful of attractions, such as Rocky Mountain Herbarium and Laramie Plains Museum, several fun retail stores, and restaurants. Book an RV in Albany County, WY, and get ready to embark on an RV camping trip of a lifetime.
Covering a vast swath of southeastern Wyoming, Medicine Bow National Forest encompasses well over a million acres of wilderness. The terrain varies from arid, barren desert prairie to deep, lush green forests to desolate, rugged mountaintops that tower some 12,900 above sea level. The opportunities for outdoor recreational fun are endless. Hike, bike, horseback ride, fish, hunt, rock climb, and photograph.
With several hundred miles of trails to explore, it’s easy to achieve that elusive sense of isolation and sheer wilderness. Get a sense of what this part of the country was like long before pioneers migrated west. One of the more popular hikes is the trail up to 12,013-foot Medicine Bow mountain peak. Though the final ascent is challenging with a steep 2,000 elevation gain in short three miles, the views atop the summit are well worth the efforts.
Virtually untouched by man, Medicine Bow National Forest is a prime spot for wildlife viewing. Many animals make their homes in these woods, including moose, wolves, black bears, and eagles. A small herd of wild horses is also known to roam the park, though they tend to stay in open meadows and grassland regions.
A region within the National Forest called Vedauwoo is extremely popular with rock climbers. The large sandstone boulder outcroppings were shaped by endless winds, creating odd shapes and structures. As a result, there is a large variety of climbing challenges for climbers to contend, and the difficulty ranges from easy to expert.
When winter rolls around, the fun doesn’t stop. As the soft snow blankets the woods, silencing all sounds of civilization, adventurers strap on your snowshoes and cross-country skis and hit the trails. Many of the established hiking trails are set aside for skiing and snowshoeing in winters.
Skip the long drive from a boring hotel and wake up in a travel trailer rental surrounded by nature. Perhaps a deer will mince by the front door. Birds almost certainly will act as an alarm clock and ensure that you wake up as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon.
There are numerous public and private campgrounds in Medicine Bow National Forest. In the Snowy Range region, North Fork Campground has 60 sites for adventurers to choose from. Of these sites, ten are located on the banks of Little Laramie River. There are faucets with drinking water and vault toilets. It is otherwise primitive. The campground does not accept online reservations and operates on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Alternatively, you could also RV camp at Vedauwoo Campground in the Pole Mountain area. There are 28 sites, many of which are nestled in between massive boulders. Each site has a fire ring for roasting s’mores. Once used as a hideout spot for outlaws, the campground was designed to blend with the landscape. Although it’s largely primitive, there are vault toilets available for the guests. Like North Fork Campground, it operates on a first-come, first-serve basis and does not accept online reservations.
In this remote corner of Wyoming, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there isn’t anything civilized. With a little patience and the help of a rental motorhome, adventurers can travel from town to town in pursuit of the best coffee, gift shop, or souvenir store. Near Centennial, WY, a ranch-turned-refuge, has opened their lands to a herd of wild mustangs. The refuge harbors around 350 horses, and visitors are welcomed (by appointment only).
One of the first public museums in Wyoming, the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, displays various memorabilia from the Wild West era, dinosaur fossils, and exhibits featuring the state’s native plants and wildlife.
Twin gouges etched deep into the earth dwindles to a distant vanishing point on the horizon. Near the old-west town of Saratoga, a portion of the original Oregon Trail tracks are still visible even to this day.
Full of history, charm, and beautiful landscape, Wyoming will be the perfect place for an idyllic Airstream rental camping trip with family and friends.