Hot Spot: Vedauwoo, Wyoming

WHERE:

Vedauwoo (Pr: vee-da-voo) is a nationally renowned scenic area located in Southwestern Wyoming within the Medicine Bow National Forest. Drivers traveling between Cheyenne and Laramie on Interstate 80 will be treated to iconic rock outcroppings. It covers an area of over 2.25 million acres in Wyoming and Colorado. Though it is decidedly unclear, some say that the name is a romanized version of the Arapaho word “bito’o’wu” which means “earth-born”.

 

WHY:

The main reason to visit this place is its striking beauty. From the incredible rock outcroppings to the vast, rolling hills and mountains, to the Aspen groves and Ponderosa Pine forests, this place is stunning in every way.

The range of activities here are as boundless as its expanse. Not only are there creeks with brook trout running throughout the landscape, there is a vast network of roads and trails for exploring. There are amazing dispersed camping spots on nearly every forest-access road, so you can find your perfect location. Car camping is easy and you can park and hike in to the spaces between as well.

Watching the sun set over Turtle Rock (background) and the Devil’s Playground.

 

The climbing is incredible. Huge, Sherman Granite formations have been rounded by time and weather, offering prodigious opportunities for offwidth crack climbing (wider than your fist, narrower than your body). This place has a lot of history in the climbing community. After World War II, some men from the famous 10th Mountain Division began spending time at Vedauwoo, doing class-four scrambling and summiting as many formations as they could. This began the race to develop more climbing routes in this awesome area. There are several guidebooks and a solid website describing a myriad of routes!

This forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife, so the viewing is endless. I watched a murder of crows and a single hawk soaring around me, calling out to each other. Below on the ground, I found a large wild turkey feather. I heard a pack of coyotes howling from the vista below as I watched the sunset. There are beaver, moose, mountain lions, deer and elk that wander these hills as well.

A hidden pond with some clear beaver sign. Not a soul around.

A hidden pond with some clear beaver sign. Not a soul around. Photo by Arielle Powers

I highly recommend picking up the free road map at any of the Forest entrances, which will show you how to get around the area, and where you can camp. If it weren’t for this map, I would have been lost on this vast web of roads in an instant! The roads are fairly well maintained and well marked, but are definitely prone to washboard status, so be gentle with your car or use your friends beater. My first campsite was a bit trashed so I recommend showing up with a spare trash bag so that you can leave the space cleaner than you find it. This is a beautiful place, and let’s leave it that way when we depart.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or a place to gather with your friends and explore, Vedauwoo has got it all.


Climbing Guide Books to Vedauwoo:
Rock Climbing at Vedauwoo, Wyoming: Climbs of the Eastern Medicine Bow National Forest by Rob Kelman

Fat Crack Country by Zach Orenczak

Heel and Toe: The Climbs of Greater Vedauwoo, Wyoming by Rob Kelman and Skip Harper
Other Climbing Resources:
Mountain Project: Vedauwoo
Vedauwoo.org

© 2016