Located in the southeastern part of the state, Laramie began as a railroad town similar to others in southern Wyoming. Laramie is now the third-largest city in Wyoming and home of the University of Wyoming, the nation's highest campus, at 7,220 ft/2,200 m above sea level.
The Wyoming Territorial Prison and Old West Park in Laramie is a complex of attractions that help to illuminate what the state was like in the late 1800s. Its centerpiece is the prison, built in 1872, which once housed the likes of Butch Cassidy. It has been restored, and both guided and self-guided tours are available. The Horse Barn Dinner Theater presents melodramas. The park's Frontier Town is a lighthearted living-history area that contains a saloon, a blacksmith shop and other buildings that replicate a Wyoming town from the 1870s. Costumed staff present craft demonstrations and stage gunfights and prison breaks. You can round out your western experience by spending the night in a tepee in the park's campground.
The university contains several museums. The Centennial Complex is home to the American Heritage Center, an archive of manuscripts and books relating to Wyoming's past, and also a museum displaying works of art. Also in the Centennial Complex is the University of Wyoming Fine Arts Museum, with more than 6,000 sculptures, paintings, prints and artifacts. The university's Geological Museum covers 2 billion years of geological history and displays the skeleton of a brontosaurus. This museum is a dinosaur-lover's delight. The university also has a planetarium. Laramie's Jubilee Days is an eight-day celebration in early July that includes rodeos, parades, fireworks, concerts, street dances and an art show.
When not participating in in-town revelry, visitors can hike the 5.5-mi/9-km trail up 10,272-ft/3,184-m Laramie Peak, the highest point in the Laramie Mountains.
The Vedauwoo Recreation Area (pronounced VAY-duh-voo) is 15 mi/25 km east of Laramie. It's part of the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and contains unusual rock formations made up of stacked boulders. It is a rock-climbing paradise. The loop hike around Turtle Rock is a fairly easy 6 mi/10 km through trees. Native Americans used Vedauwoo as a place to undertake vision quests. On the other side of Laramie is the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, which begins about 30 mi/50 km west of town and follows Highway 130. The pine-lined road runs up into the Medicine Bow Mountains and yields impressive views from the Libby Flats Observation Point. The drive north of Battlefield Highway on Forest Road 801 takes visitors through Aspen Alley, where fall colors peak mid-September to early October. Laramie is 40 mi/64 km west of Cheyenne.
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