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NatureVISZ - The Best Rocky Mountain Range You’ve Never Heard Of

Wyoming's Snowy Range Mountains are a relatively small mountain range within Medicine Bow National Forest, about 30 miles west of Laramie and 3 hours north of Denver. With jagged peaks, crystal clear lakes, and alpine meadows with colorful wildflowers, the range is a hidden gem in southern Wyoming. Snow can be expected any time of year since the area is located at a high elevation ranging from 9,000 to 12,000 feet.

Peaks above Mirror Lake

Amazing Hiking with Jaw Dropping Views

Snowy Range hiking might offer the most scenic views available in a condensed area of the Rockies. Several trailheads are within a few miles of each other that branch out throughout the range where you can see amazing views and explore. Walking along, I found myself stopping often to take in the gorgeous views.

Trails starting at Lewis Lake
Mirror Lake view from Trail
Ice forming on Mirror Lake

Medicine Bow Peak

Medicine Bow Peak, standing at 12,013 feet, is the highest peak in the Snowy Range. Two popular trails lead up to the summit; one is a 6.2-mile hike, while the other is 3.2 miles more difficult. I opted for the shorter trail and found breathtaking views.

The Snowy Range Mountains
View from Summit of Medicine Bow Peak
Alpine Lakes Below Medicine Bow Peak

Tragedy on The Mountain

In the morning of October 6th, 1955, United Airlines 409 took off from Denver for Salt Lake City. The DC-4 was flying about 50 feet below the ridge line near Medicine Bow Peak at an altitude of 11,570 feet when it crashed. All 66 people aboard died in the crash.

Memorial Plaque

Scenic Byway Drive

The byway is a two-lane paved road suitable for all vehicles located in southern Wyoming. It’s called Snowy Range Scenic Byway(Wyoming Highway 130). The road was built in the 1870s as a wagon road and was paved in the 1930’s. The pass is named for the large amounts of snow that remain at high elevations during the summer months. This is one of the highest roads in Wyoming.

High Elevations on the Byway
The Byway starts just outside of Centennial Wyoming

Winter Wonderland

Within the high elevations you will find pine forests, tundra along with towering mountain peaks and an abundance of wildlife. Snowmobiling, Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing, Hiking and even downhill skiing at the Snowy Range Ski Resort make this a winter play land for outdoor enthusiast.

Reflections on Lewis Lake
Sugarloaf Mountain above Lewis Lake
View from Lost Lake Trail
Wyoming Wildlife Worth the Watching
View from French Creek Canyon Trail

No place like it!

At different times of the year, I have hiked in the Snowy Range. In May, I hiked through deep snow still remaining from the winter, and have also found relief from the hot, humid summer with cool temperatures in August. It was snowing the day I woke up on my August trip and my tent was covered in white powder. In October, we hiked trails as snow fell from the sky and covered the landscape, creating images that belonged in a Norman Rockwell Museum.

Light Snow on the Trail in October
Warming up from October Snow

Visitors looking for an up-close encounter with the Rocky Mountains will not be disappointed by this hidden gem in Wyoming. With fewer crowds and spectacular scenery, the Snowy Range could just be the best mountain range you have ever seen!

Breathe in. Breathe out. Move on.


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