Central Vedauwoo can get crowded even on nice weekdays, and if you're looking for more solitude, the Valley Massif, so striking from high vantage points along the north side of Central Vedauwoo, is not far away but will usually present more of a wilderness feel.
At the Valley Massif you will find mostly single-pitch trad lines, but there are some bolted lines and some multi-pitch trad opportunities (the latter are mostly on the northwest side, and most routes are on either the northwest or the southeast side). Grades range from 5.4 to 5.11b. Remember that this is Vedauwoo, where grades can seem stiff and weird. For example, the day I was at this crag, I solo-led a 5.4 (not really 5.4; see below), 5.5, and 5.6, and it was only on the 5.4 that I was afraid I might fall; at what felt like the crux, I think I put three pieces in, which then interfered with my movement!
So, if you're looking for some adventure without much commitment and are willing to get a little wet, you'll probably love climbing at the Valley Massif and wonder why you hadn't checked it out sooner. And if off-width is not your thing, you'll be happy to know that there is plenty of "normal" climbing here.
From I-80 between Laramie and Cheyenne, leave the highway at Exit 329, marked for Vedauwoo. This is about 16 miles from Laramie. Take Vedauwoo Road east and drive 1.2 miles before turning left onto a well-signed road for the Vedauwoo Recreation Area. Stop at the self-pay station and then proceed. Signs point you to the campground, picnic areas, and trailheads. Park at the West Turtle Rock TH.
Hike the Turtle Rock Trail past Holy Saturday.
My edition of Heel and Toe says to go about five more minutes to where one leaves the trail and crosses the beaver ponds that are the main barrier to accessing the valley north of Central Vedauwoo, but it was longer than that, I'd say about a half-mile from Holy Saturday, to where there is an obvious use trail branching off to the beaver ponds. I was lucky enough to find conditions dry enough that my feet didn't get wet, but don't count on that being the case.
Spur Trail to Valley Massif
Once you are across the beaver ponds, the good use trail takes you to the Valley Massif. At a prominent fork, go left to access the northwest side or right to access the southeast side. While the trail goes directly to the NW base, getting to the start of the SE routes may require some tricky scrambling.
To date, I have only climbed three routes here, and all are on the SE side. Thus, I am not going to list every route on each face when I know little about most. For excellent information, including topos, please see the Vedauwoo.org page for the Valley Massif.
Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12b.
Valley Massif North Side
Valley Massif North Side
Valley Massif North Side
Valley Massif South Side
Routes range from 5.5 to 5.11a. Those I've climbed:
Bill Steal, 5.6-- Great route with great pro. There are now anchors just left of the top, but if you want to extend the climb a little, you can. It's worth it, and getting back to the anchors by downclimbing is fairly easy.
Sunny Day, 5.5-- If you like layback routes, you'll like this. It protects well, but you'll need medium and large gear, maybe doubles (I went with cams and hexes that complemented each other). No bolted anchors. Walk/scramble off climber's right.
Powder Puff, 5.5-- This is 5.4 on Mountain Project but 5.5 on Vedauwoo.org and in the local guideook, Heel and Toe. Personally, I thought it was the hardest of the three routes I climbed here. Protection was a little shaky at the start (the beloved pink Tricam helped), but it's good after you get into the main crack. At the finish, you can exit right and walk off or finish on a mini-pitch called Corbel Exit, also graded 5.5. You have to mantel and get a high foot on a chicken head, and there's no protection, but it's worth doing. Walk off climber's right.
Bill Steal, 5.6
Sunny Day, 5.5
Powder Puff, 5.5
Corbel Exit, 5.5
Note: a few routes on this crag start from near the top, so you have to either scramble up or climb something else to get to them.
Top of Valley Massif
The self-pay fee was, I think, in July 2014, $5 per vehicle per day. Passes are accepted. Since I have always had a pass here, I have never checked in subsequent years to see if the fees have gone up.
When to Climb
May through October is the best climbing season here, though snow often falls in September.
There is a 28-site campground in the recreation area. It is first-come, first-served and fills quickly on weekends in good weather. Vault toilets and drinking water are available, though in July 2014 the water wasn't flowing or I was just at the wrong pump. The camping fee was $10 per night in July 2014. Closed during the winter, the campground is usually open by the beginning of June.
There is a lot of dispersed camping available nearby, with some restrictions (for example, postings prohibit camping too close to the turnoff for the recreation area).
You could also backpack in, but I don't think overnight parking is allowed at the trailhead, so you'd have to park outside the entrance and hike the extra distance in.