Curt Gowdy State Park (tel. 307/632-7946; http://wyoparks.state.wy.us) named for the television sportscaster who hailed from Wyoming, is quite pleasant, if not spectacularly beautiful. Located 23 miles southeast of Laramie, the 1,645-acre park is a great spot for a picnic ($6 day-use fee). Or stay the night in one of the five campsites for $17 per night. There are two lakes here, but no swimming is allowed (they provide part of Cheyenne's water supply). Boating is permitted, but no rentals are available at the park. Call for further information. To get to the park, take I-80 east until you see the exit for Wyo. 210, the scenic back road to Cheyenne.
About 10 miles southeast of Laramie, on the edge of the Medicine Bow National Forest, are Pole Mountain and the Vedauwoo Recreation Area (tel. 307/745-2300). Vedauwoo and the Happy Jack trail head near the Summit exit of I-80 have some excellent summer and winter recreational opportunities. The name Vedauwoo (pronounced Vee-duh-voo) is Arapaho for "earth-born." The rock formations -- soft-edged blocks shaped like stools, turtles, and mushrooms -- were considered the sacred creations of animal and human spirits, and young Indian men sought visions there. Today rock climbers pursue their quests for challenging climbs here, and find tough technical pitches. Other folks see a great place to mountain bike, hike, and scan the vistas. There is a campground with sites for $10 per night. To get there, take I-80 east toward Cheyenne, past the second-biggest Abe Lincoln head in these parts (10 miles outside town) to exit 329, to the Vedauwoo turnoff.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.