WHEN FOLKS THINK OF NICE PLACES to camp in Wyoming, chances are they imagine the northwest corner of the state. Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Wind River Range. The rest is just boring prairie, right? Okay, I’ll let the masses think that way. Then they’re less likely to overrun the less appreciated areas. 

I won’t be giving away any secrets. The area I’ll be writing about is used by many — primarily locals and those fleeing the crowds in Colorado. It’s clearly marked on maps and it’s freeway close. Yet it’s quiet and there’s room to spread out. No reservations, no lines. You might have trouble getting a spot in a campground, but we’re more interested in dispersed camping, aren’t we?

The area I’m referring to is between Cheyenne and Laramie, part of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. You’re at more than 8,000 feet elevation, so summers aren’t as hot as lower places.

The most popular spot in this area is a rock climbing paradise named Vedaowoo. There’s a campground there filled with rock climbers, but there’s dispersed camping all along a network of roads past the campground and trailhead. Some of the spots are designated dispersed campsites.

Northwest of Vedaowoo, at the summit exit from I-80 where there’s a rest area and a large monument to Abraham Lincoln (because I-80 is called the Lincoln Highway), you can access another cluster of roads. Turn either way from the rest area and enjoy wandering the well maintained dirt roads.

Although I know the exact coordinates of the five different dispersed camps I enjoyed, I’m not going to drop any pins for you. That’s not because I don’t want to share my special spots. It’s because I would prefer you explore the area yourself, discovering the variety of terrain, finding what speaks to you. It’s the journey as much as the destination. It’s the personal growth exploration brings, even when you’re just a few miles off the Interstate.

[A bit of Wyoming trivia: Laramie isn’t in Laramie County but Cheyenne is.]