The Laramie River Valley

The descent into the mighty Laramie River Valley conjures images of the first explorers descending upon the untamed, wild Rocky Mountain valleys. Via Deadman Road (County Road 86), the descent is relatively sudden, and soon after several switchbacks backdropped by the towering Medicine Bows, a great expanse of valley is revealed through the trees. This is an area seen by few. Certainly, the experience is reminiscent of the descent from Kenosha Pass into South Park on U.S. 285, except several orders of magnitude less trafficked.

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The rugged Medicine Bow range is visible in the distance

Larimer County Road 103 runs through the entire length of the Laramie River Valley, some 35 miles from Highway 14/the Poudre River to the Colorado-Wyoming border, where it turns into Wyoming State Highway 10.

From Deadman Rd/CR 86, you intersect with Larimer County Road 80C/Cherokee Park Rd, which then is a straight shot to the intersection with the Laramie River Road/CR 103. At this point, provided it’s a nice day and you’re there because you’re screwing around and don’t have a set agenda, you’re pretty high on life at this point. It’s easy to roll down the windows (if you haven’t already), turn up the stereo, enjoy the breeze and floor it on the well-maintained gravel road. I’ve admittedly gone as fast as 65mph on this portion of the road (I do not condone this and if you do this you are doing it at your own risk).

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Open Road
There are settlements scattered about the valley. At the junction of CR 80C/103/99 is the Diamond Tail Ranch, which is home to over 700 American Bison. Traveling north, Jelm, WY is signed as 20 miles from roughly the intersection. The state border is unmarked aside from an assortment of road signs, but is obvious as an abrupt change from gravel to pavement, upon entering Wyoming.

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Wyoming paves its roads here, presumably to one-up Colorado a little
Continuing north on Wyoming Route 10 will ultimately take you to Wyoming Route 230 at Woods Landing Resort. This is also a way to get to the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, an old observatory atop Jelm Mountain, operated by the University of Wyoming out of Laramie.

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Wyoming Infrared Observatory (WIRO). The Laramie River Valley is due south. The Laramie River itself runs parallel to Wyoming Route 10, before crossing under the road near Woods Landing and then flowing towards Laramie, WY before it joins the North Platte
In addition to containing a road, the Laramie River Valley provides great access to a plethora of recreational opportunities.

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The Laramie River, late fall
There are dozens of dispersed campsites in the area, as well as several hiking/backpacking/horse trails. There are also a few developed campgrounds.

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Dispersed campsite near the river
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Stormy looking clouds over the valley, descending via Cherokee Park Rd/CR 80C
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Open sky
The Laramie River Valley feels wild, and is very remote insofar as the Colorado Rocky Mountains go. It is an area seen by few. There are plenty of recreational opportunities, and it’s a blast to go screw around out here on the weekends.

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