The Perfect 2-Day Laramie Getaway — Social Distancing Style

Set mere miles from the powder-streaked gray slabs that give the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow National Forest its name, Laramie is ideal for a Rocky Mountain escape. The charming city is easy to access via a quick road trip, just 50 minutes from Cheyenne and two hours from Denver, Colorado.

Here Wyoming hospitality and unparalleled scenery meet wide-open spaces and ample outdoor opportunities, making it the perfect locale for social distancing. Use this two-day itinerary as inspiration when planning your Laramie getaway.

Trip tip: Pack two days’ worth of clean masks for everyone in your group and don’t forget the hand sanitizer. It’s also wise to bring your own stash of toilet paper and paper towels, as you’ll be dining outdoors with views of snow-dusted peaks and camping out at night. 

Day 1

Hike Vedauwoo

Laramie is a hiker’s haven, so your first stop is Vedauwoo Recreation Area (pronounced “VEE-da-voo”) where you’ll explore scenic Turtle Rock Trail. Traverse the loop, listening for the whoops of rock climbers as they take on world-famous Sherman Granite slabs, crags and hoodoos. Better yet, bring your shoes and crash pad so you can send a route yourself. As you finish your hike — passing numerous ponds and traipsing amid the whispering aspen leaves — keep an eye out for wildlife, including moose and marmots. 

Enjoy a Leisurely Lunch

Next, head to downtown Laramie to knock out that post-hike hunger. You’ll find an array of dining options, all offering carryout and following social distancing protocols, tucked inside the enchanting Old West storefronts, from deli sandwiches to hot noodle bowls and everything in between. Tender steaks and bison burgers pair perfectly with house-made beers at Altitude Chophouse & Brewery, while Born in a Barn brings the heat serving their wings with a flight of sauces. Jeffrey’s Bistro offers sandwiches and mac and cheese for everyone — whether you’re a dairy diehard, vegan or gluten free — and The Crowbar & Grill treats with pizza and unique dishes like their locally loved Pad Thai Fries. 

Walk off lunch in the historic downtown, snapping pictures of the quaint architecture and shopping for souvenirs — like handmade soaps, Western wear and American Indian jewelry — along the way. Tip: Tomorrow’s breakfast will be enjoyed at your campsite, so grab some morning munchies at Baglemakers or Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse, where you can also sip a latte at an outdoor table. 

Travel Back in Time

Step into early Wyoming history at the Wyoming Territorial Prison, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and packed with vestiges of the past. This massive stone structure was a symbol of order in the Wild West and once housed infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy. Learn about the prison’s history, including its days as a farm lab, with eye-opening exhibits and a self-guided tour. 

Tuck into Dinner at Your Campsite

Before leaving town, pick up dinner to-go. You can’t go wrong with vegetarian fare from Sweet Melissa, where the banh mi and fried banana bread will win over the most dedicated of carnivores. Pad Thai and green chicken curry from Anong’s Thai Cuisine are sure to hit the spot, while a bison tenderloin or ribeye from Cavalryman Steakhouse adds a bit of decadence to a meal in the great outdoors.  

Head west on Hwy 130 to find first-come, first-serve campsites, where you can snuggle up under the vast and star-studded Wyoming sky, with the Snowy Range keeping watch as you sleep. (Note: When conditions are dry, fires aren’t allowed. Check local guidelines and restrictions before you get a blaze going.)

If roughing it isn’t your style, opt for a night in one of the region’s many quaint hotels, like The Mad Carpenter Inn in Laramie or Mountain View Historic Hotel & Cafe and Brooklyn Lodge Bed & Breakfast, both in nearby Centennial. 

Day 2

Bask in a Mountaintop Sunrise

Rub the sleep from your eyes, tie on your sturdiest boots and hit the Lewis Lake Trailhead at first light. The 3.2-mile out-and-back trail will take you to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, the highest point in the Snowy Range. The hike offers endless vistas of alpine lakes, dense emerald forests and the seemingly gentle humps of distant mountains.

Sip & Stroll

Celebrate your successful summit at one of the five breweries back in downtown Laramie. Whether your tastes run towards hoppy IPAs, rich coffee stouts or chili-spiked ales, you’re sure to find a draft that’ll wet your whistle. In between brewery stops, check out Laramie’s downtown Mural Tour — these walls feature brilliantly colored artworks and are definitely Instagram-worthy — and dip into shops to get last-minute mementos. 

One for The Road

You’ve got one last stop before heading home: Sugar Mouse Cupcake House. Here you’ll find gourmet cupcakes (think red velvet, Nutella and lemon poppyseed) topped with everything from buttercream and cheesecake frosting to candy bars and malt balls. There’s no better way to fuel a drive home than with sweet memories of a social distancing vacation done right. 

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