By:Courtney Nations Baker | Ph. D. Candidate In Marketing and Sustainable Business Practices
Courtney Nations Baker is a Ph.D. Candidate in Marketing and Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Wyoming. Courtney has lived in Laramie for three years and enjoys numerous outdoor and cultural activities, such as hiking and biking, photographing wildlife, attending live concerts and theatre, and exploring new types of cuisine.
Written July 2015
Disclaimer: Many of the website links provided are outdated and are simply intended to offer general understanding and locations of each experience.
- Visit Terry Bison Ranch and Feed the Buffalo (Cheyenne)
The Terry Bison Ranch is an excellent way to get up close and personal with some of the critters that roam Wyoming. Take the train ride and splurge for a bag of bison feed, which they will eat right out of your hands. You can also go horseback riding or fishing, and don’t forget to grab a photo with the giant jackalope in the gift shop. (http://www.terrybisonranch.com/)
- Drive up to Sybille Canyon (north of Laramie)
Head north out of Laramie on US-287 and make a right onto WY-34, heading east. After passing through pastures, the road becomes curvy, winding through beautiful rock formations and mountains. Eventually, you will come to the Tom Thorne / Beth Williams Wildlife Habitat Management Area. On the right, at the Sybille Canyon Research Unit, you can see moose, elk, bison, and other wildlife. Just across the street is a dirt road that winds along a creek, leading to beautiful Johnson Reservoir and a nice camping spot. Don’t be afraid to get a little mud on the tires! (http://gf.state.wy.us/accessto/whmas/thorne.asp)
- Do the Ghost Tour for Halloween at the Territorial Prison (Laramie)
This is a highlight of October in Laramie. For a spooky experience and a little Wyoming folklore, book a Ghost Tour of Laramie City for after dark one night at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site. The tour begins with live-action tales of historic ghost stories, moves on to a hayride through downtown Laramie, and finishes with a walk through the prison in the dark. Be sure to bring a blanket, hot chocolate, and a friend to latch onto through the fright! (http://visitlaramie.org/event/ghost-tours-of-laramie-city/)
- Spend Time at Vedauwoo (east of Laramie)
Whether you enjoy hiking, bouldering, rock climbing, or camping, Vedauwoo has something to offer you. Wander through Aspen Alley and find the iconic Turtle Rock. Occasionally, you will spot a moose in the marshes! Afterwards, head back to Laramie and have lunch or coffee at the Turtle Rock Café. (https://www.wyomingtourism.org/places-to-stay/detail/Vedauwoo-Campground-Recreation-Area/8296)
- Attend All Jubilee Days Events (Laramie)
If you are staying in Laramie for the summer, Jubilee Days, the celebration of Wyoming’s statehood, is a highlight of the Laramie experience. Be sure to attend the Junior Bull Riding and watch the little kids try to hang on! Plan to spend your entire Saturday on Jubilee Days events. Get up early for the parade, stop by the carnival for a funnel cake, vote for your favorite in the chili cook-off, stop by and watch the bed races in front of the Buckhorn, try some local beers at Brewfest, and stick around for live music downtown in the evenings. The warm summer air and Wyoming pride will have you understanding why they call this place “Laradise.” (http://www.laramiejubileedays.com/)
- Have Lunch at the Bear Tree After a Hike/Ski in the Snowy Range (Centennial)
The Snowy Range is filled with trails for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, and the Snowy Range Ski Area is an excellent local spot for downhill skiing. Once you have exhausted yourself from all the outdoor activities, stop by the Bear Tree Café at the base of the mountain. Their homemade dishes will be just what you need after a long morning or afternoon in the mountains. My personal favorite is the Smoked Trout Appetizer, and I especially enjoy their warm fireplace in the winter. (http://www.beartreetavernandcafe.com/)
- Pick Up Some Treats at the Summer Farmer’s Market (Laramie)
Beginning in July, the people of Laramie can access delicious and nutritious items from Undine Park on Thursdays or Downtown on Fridays. Fresh vegetables, fruits, and eggs abound, and you can also find other hand-crafted items and treats. Take advantage of this wonderful experience and marketplace while you can – come October, you’ll be missing it! (http://www.laramiefarmersmarket.com/)
- Ride your bike on the September Tour de Coop (Laramie)
A true hidden gem in the Laramie community is the Tour de Coop in September. Find out the meeting spot ahead of time, grab your bike, and tour local, homemade chicken coops in Laramie. Each family will share how they started tending chickens, discuss the specifics of their coop construction, and answer any questions you may have. There is usually food along the way. Be prepared to be surprised at some of the innovative techniques and technologies you will discover in the way of chicken-raising! (http://visitlaramie.org/event/tour-de-coop-tour-chicken-coops-in-laramie-sept-7/)
- Attend the Shepard Symposium in April (Laramie)
An important part of Laramie’s history and of its current makeup is how the community came together to express and embrace diversity after the loss of Matthew Shepard. To this day, Laramie continues to work to be more understanding and respectful of diversity issues in the community and world. Check out UW’s annual event, the Shepard Symposium on Social Justice. There are world-renowned guest speakers, fun interactive activities, and even a Saturday night party. You will undoubtedly learn something and probably walk away with new friends! (http://www.shepardsymposium.org/)
- Swing dance on a Thursday night with the CCSC (Laramie)
If you have ever wanted to learn to swing dance or line dance, then this is the place for you. This warm group of students welcomes dancers at all levels of experience. Meeting once per week, the club teaches novices to dance and offers a fun outlet for dancing experts. In spring 2015, they hosted the largest swing dance in history, smashing the Guinness World Record. This is an awesome place to meet new friends, learn some swing moves, or take a date out for a fun night. (https://uwyo.collegiatelink.net/organization/cowboycountryswingclub)
Stay tuned for the next top ten things you must do, coming out in early August!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Courtney by commenting below!