As the heart of Albany County, Wyo., and one of the top destinations in southeastern Wyoming, Laramie is known for many things. It’s a charming college town with an interesting, unique downtown district. It’s a place where western culture and history are celebrated and preserved. And it definitely stands out as a hub for all kinds of outdoor recreation.
When it comes to the types of properties United Country Real Estate | Lariat Realty LLC lists, the options are plentiful throughout the region. There are homes in town on an acre or two; farms and ranches on hundreds of acres; high-end equine properties; riverfront recreational land; and a whole lot more.
Let’s take a closer look at the appeal of Laramie, Albany County and southeastern Wyoming for visitors and residents alike.
The roots of Laramie’s name (inspired by French trapper Jacques La Ramee) pre-date the town’s settlement by decades. The trapper, who may have been the first European to explore southeastern Wyoming, disappeared around 1820. It wasn’t until the 1860s that Laramie was officially established, sparking the beginning of many famous wild west stories.
By 1868, Laramie became the western terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad. The city was a spot where trains were fueled, repaired and readied to haul passengers and freight. However, the benefits of rail travel also came with an unwanted element.
It seems notorious western outlaws used the trains to flee from the law, and many of these criminals ended up in Laramie. The townspeople formed a vigilante group in an effort to capture, kill or drive away the riff raff. That plan succeeded, Laramie stabilized and began to grow. Eventually, Laramie was known as the “Gem City of the Plains” after inventor Thomas Edison build the first electric power plant in the Rocky Mountains and lit up the city “like a gem.”
Looking for more insight into Laramie’s past, while also discovering ways to enjoy the present-day city? There are plenty of places to go, from museums and historic Wyoming sites, to Laramie’s popular downtown district and beyond.
The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is one of many in the area listed on the National Register. It once held violent western outlaws in the 1800s, but today it’s a museum. On the University of Wyoming campus, head to the American Heritage Museum for history and artifacts tied to legends such as the Cisco Kid and Hopalong Cassidy. Also check out Fort Laramie National Historic Site, originally a fur trading post and later a U.S. Army post.
Annual events are a big deal in Wyoming and one of the most beloved is Laramie Jubilee Days. The weeklong event each July dates back 78 years and includes a rodeo, parade, music, food and more. Less than an hour from Laramie in Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum features exhibits, shows and a nine-day summer schedule of events showcasing western culture.
In May 2022, Laramie received a Great American Main Street Award recognizing the city’s efforts to preserve and revitalize its historic downtown district. With 32 hand-painted murals, art galleries, diverse restaurants, local shops and craft breweries … downtown is a must-see destination. Be sure to check out the downtown farmers’ market on Friday afternoons, or head to another nice one at Undine Park each Thursday.
Laramie is located between its namesake mountain range and the Medicine Bow Mountains. The Laramie Valley is considered the eastern gateway to the truly rustic and rural parts of Wyoming, and if you’re into outdoor recreation on the river, at the lake or in the mountains, you’ll be right at home here.
Throughout the city, there are more than a dozen smaller parks with sports facilities, picnics areas, ponds and the like. But for a more intense outdoor experience, travel 15 minutes or more to the outskirts. Medicine Bow National Forest is part of a group of managed wilderness areas with hiking, biking and horse trails; fishing lakes; big game hunting land and more. Within the forest, the Vedauwoo Recreation Area is known as a rock-climbing mecca with campsites.
About 24 miles east in Cheyenne you’ll find Curt Gowdy State Park in the mountain foothills, where anglers pursue various trout and salmon species. Back in Laramie, Hutton Lake National Wildlife refuge is a hot spot for avid birders and a good place to see pronghorn antelope.
Despite its name, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway is fantastic in the warmer months as an alternative to driving I-80 while stopping along the way to marvel at the stunning natural beauty. That said, winter sports are huge in Wyoming and there are some excellent places in the Snowy Range Mountains for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
Sources: VisitLaramie.org; TravelWyoming.com; LaramieMainStreet.org; En.Wikipedia.org; WyoParks.Wyo.Gov; TrueWestMagazine.com; Fs.Usda.Gov; StateParks.com