Vedauwoo is an Arapaho word meaning "Land of the Earthborn Spirit." It is an area of fantastic granite rock formations located in the Laramie Range on the Medicine Bow National Forest in southeast Wyoming just off of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie. This is a popular area for climbing, bouldering, hiking, biking, picnicking, and camping.
Vedauwoo is pronounced Vee-da-voo and is known to some as the "Joshua Tree of the North." The climbing is similar to J-Tree but there are fewer handholds and the granite crystals are larger and very rough, so tape is a must for your hands. At Vedauwoo there are enough rocks and walls to climb to keep a climber busy for a very, very long time! There are over 900 routes currently on record including some of the best wide crack climbs known. Every fall the Fat Crack Festival
is held at Vedauwoo. Also check out this website
which is a great resource for finding more info about climbing routes.
This area is also fun for non-climbers. Hikers, mountain bikers, and nature enthusiasts will all enjoy the area. A suggested trail is the 3-mile trail called the Turtle Rock Trail. Go in the fall and you'll see the beautiful aspen groves along this trail turn gold. Also watch for beaver in the ponds and other wildlife including deer, squirrels, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and raptors. You can also hike through the picnic area and up the Vedauwoo Box Canyon for a great overall view of the area.
Mid-April through mid-October is the climbing season but Vedauwoo can also make for a nice winter outing. If you park at the campground entrance you can snowshoe or ski the Turtle Rock or Box Canyon Trails. Even if it's windy the air in the Box Canyon is often still.
The rock making up Vedauwoo's fantastic rock formations is the 1.4 billion year old Sherman Granite, which is some of the oldest rock in Wyoming. The uplift of the Laramie Mountains that began around 70 million years ago and exposed this rock. Younger and looser layers of rock and sediment have progressively eroded, and this continues today. The hard granite of Vedauwoo is made of large crystals of quartz, orthoclase, plagioclase, and some mica and is more erosion-resistant, resulting in unique, wind and water-sculpted forms.
Just east of Vedauwoo spectacular sandstone cliffs are formed of the 300 million year old Permian-age Fountain Formation. This formation was formed from sand dunes where it met with the salty waters of a shallow, epicontinental sea. This produced beautiful cross-stratified beds containing fossils of sea urchins, snails, and sea lillies.
Vedauwoo Area Map
Vedauwoo is easy to get to... Take I-80 west of Cheyenne (30 minutes) or east of Laramie (15 minutes) to the Vedauwoo Road Exit (Exit 329). Proceed east about 1.2 miles to the campground and picnic area entrance.
An alternative route is from the Happy Jack Road that runs to the north that's sort of the back road between Laramie and Cheyenne.
At the Laramie Ranger Station you can buy a map of the dirt roads in this area of the forest for only $1... it's called the Pole Mountain Map.
No permits are needed to climb or hike at Vedauwoo. There is a modest fee if you park in the day use area. Interagency Annual, senior, and access passes are also accepted. Click here
for more information on the day use passes.
Firewood may be gathered but not cut from dead standing trees in this area. Also, firewood may not be removed from this part of the Forest but may be used for campfires on site.
All off-road travel by motorized vehicles is prohibited in this area.
Dogs must be kept on a leash while in the day use, trailhead, or campground areas.
Please practice Leave No Trace
ethics during your visit.
Rock Climbing at Vedauwoo
History of Vedauwoo
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests
Weather Forecast for the Laramie Range
Box Canyon Scenery
Vedauwoo Campground has 28 first-come, first-served sites that are $10/night. Some of the tent sites are nice and secluded set back amongst the rocks. Click here for more info!
Dispersed camping is also allowed in the Pole Mountain area north and east of Vedauwoo. Bring your own water, park alongside roadways but don't drive off-road, and pack out what you pack in. Check with the Laramie Ranger District Office for more info on dispersed camping opportunities near Vedauwoo (307) 742-2300
Suggested Books and Maps
Climber at Vedauwoo
Heel & Toe: The Climbs of Greater Vedauwoo
by Skip Harper and Rob Kelman
Vedauwoo Bouldering and Fat Crack Climbing
How to order a Medicine Bow National Forest and Pole Mountain Map
For more information
USDA Forest Service
Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests,
Thunder Basin National Grassland
2468 Jackson Street
Laramie, WY 82070