Snowy Range Scenic Byway
Entire Byway: 29 miles
Travel time: 1 hour to half a day
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway crosses the Medicine Bow Mountain Range and includes the 29 miles of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest portion of Wyoming Highway 130. This byway is located in southern Wyoming and can be reached by exiting Interstate 80 at Laramie or at Walcott Junction approximately 20 miles east of Rawlins.
Driving time along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway from one forest boundary to the other depends on the interests of the visitor. Driving straight through during the summer tourist season will take about an hour. Stopping to enjoy the magnificent scenery, the many points of interest, or adventures like camping, hiking, biking and fishing can extend travel time by several hours or even days.
Culture and Commerce: Surrounded by all this nature, you may get the urge to stop a while and try out your fishing abilities. There is no better place to try than the North Platte in the fall. Stop by Hack's Tackle in Saratoga for guidance and gear.
Approachable from the west or east, the byway route rises from 8,000 ft. on the valley floor to a height of 10,847 feet above sea level. The byway closes for the season in mid-November, and traditionally reopens with the help of snowplows before Memorial Day weekend.
Be sure to stop and enjoy each of the towns on this byway: Laramie, Centennial and Saratoga. Each has its own charm.
Music in the Mountains: If you're in the area at the beginning of September, make room in your schedule for the Snowy Range Music Festival. Get uplifted by nationally renowned Blues singers before you move on to the next stop in your road trip.
Native American History
The land now known as Medicine Bow National Forest has a long history, reaching back as far as 8,000 years when ancestors of the Plains Indians inhabited the area. The Northern Arapaho, Oglala Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone and the White River Utes all frequented the area. They utilized the forest to gather the prime “mountain mahogany” wood they liked to use when making bows. The soothing mineral hot springs along the banks of the North Platte River provided a welcome place to “make medicine” to cure their ills and hold ceremonial powwows.
You can still visit at least one of those springs today, in the town Saratoga. Admission to the public hot springs is free and the town is just a short drive west from the byway.