Laramie Peak is the highest Wyoming peak in the Laramie Range (Laramie Peak at state.wy.us), which is located in the northern part of Medicine Bow National Forest. Laramie Peak is also the second highest peak overall in the range behind Colorado's South Bald Peak at 11,003 feet (Jimmyjay), and it is rated the 8th most prominent peak in Wyoming (Ryan Schilling). The mountain does not rise above treeline, making it great for winter snowshoeing and an easy summer hike-up. The switchback trail leading to the top begins around 7,500 feet, making the days elevation gain about 3,000 feet. The degree of incline remains moderate for most of the journey, making biking up the mountain possible, and riding down the mountain highly recommended! The trail is overall well maintained and smooth, and 4-wheelers regularly drive to just below the summit, in which a short scramble is necessary. I must point out that the true summit is not the wood helicopter pad with the names carved in it. In order to "truly" summit the mountain, you must climb the relatively small rock chimney. Unfortunately, the summit is decorated with an array of towers, receivers, and even a building, all of which are used for communication and/or emergency purposes.
The best way to reach Friend Park and the Laramie Peak Trailhead is to turn west at Glendo, Wyoming and drive the Esterbrook Road. This road turns to gravel and dirt for most of the journey. Drive through the town of Esterbrook and follow the signs to Friend Park. There are also detailed directions on how to get there from Douglas, WY:
In Douglas, WY, take State Rt. 94 (from Exit 140 of Interstate
25) 16.4 miles to a "Y" intersection (County Rt. 5/Esterbrook
Rd.). Bear left onto County Rt. 5/Esterbrook Rd. (dirt) and go
10.8 miles to the Esterbrook Work Center at a "Y" intersection.
Bear right, staying on County Rt. 5, and go 15.3 miles to still
another intersection (Forest Rt. 671/Bear Creek Rd.). Bear left
onto Forest Rt. 671/Bear Creek Rd. (steep with single-lane
sections) and go 2.7 miles to campground sign. Turn left at sign
and go 1 mile to campground.
NOTE: County Rt. 5 becomes rather rough and rocky. At 3.6 miles
on Rt. 5, an unmarked "Y" intersection appears. Bearing either
left or right takes the driver to the same place for continueing
on Rt. 5.
Small fees are required at the Friend Park Trailhead for camping. To camp at Friend Park (right by the trailhead) the cost is now $10.00, up from $5.00. A $2.00 donation is requested at the trailhead for non-campers. Thanks to SP member 'lizs' for that updated fee information.
When To Climb
Laramie Peak is great to climb all year long, with the peak most commonly summited in July after the snow has melted. Just like any mountain, be prepared for snow during the spring and early summer months.
The Friend Park campground is at the trailhead of Laramie Peak. During weekend in the summer months, the campground is very busy, but weekdays should give you relative solitude. If you want complete privacy, haul your backpacking gear up the mountain. There are a number of great spots to pitch a tent near the trail. Beware of weekend traffic, though. Dozens of day hikers and even four-wheelers will pass you on certain days.
The following information pertains to Friend Park Campground only and is credited to www.forestcamping.com and their Medicine Bow National Forest web page:
Friend Park Campground Platte County, Wyoming
Laramie Peak is part of the Medicine Bow National Forest and is located within the Rocky Mountains. The nearest city is Douglas, Wyoming. To make reservations to camp at Friend Park Campground, call 1-307-358-4690. The elevation at Friend Park Campground is 7,400 feet.
The campground is located above Friend Creek at the base of
Laramie and Friend Peaks. Laramie Peak, at 10,272 ft., is the
highest peak in the Laramie Range and was a landmark for pioneers using the Morman and Oregon Trails. The campground is delightful for tents and small RVs (pop-up and slide-in styles). There are several nice rock climbing formations nearby. Sites are fairly close together and shaded by firs and pines. The campground is a good location for wildlife viewing as well.
The campground is open seasonally, but there are no regulations prohibiting camping within the National Forest during the winter months.
The Friend Park Campground is open seasonally from June 1 through October 31. The cost to stay at Friend Park is now $10.00 per day, with a maximum stay of 14 days permitted.
There are no RV sites, 8 tent sites, and 3 "combined sites" intended for tents and/or RVs. The total number of camping sites is 11. The Park contains tent pads, group tent sites, open sites, and wooded sites. There are 11 tables and grilles at Friend Park, one for each site.
If you are RV camping, there are no hookups, no group RV sites, only one RV pull-through, and no waste station. The average parking apron size is 14' X 33' and the parking aprons are gravel. Travel trailers are not recommended because there is no turn-around.
Friend Park contains vaults and wheel-chair friendly toilets, but there are no flush toilets or hot showers. There is no public phone, no playground and only one hand-pump water spigot.
All surrounding hiking trails are multi-use, so be prepared to encounter cyclists, 4-wheelers and even horseback riders.
Horse Shoe Creek also runs near Friend Park, making brook trout fishing a realistic option.