Snowy Range Scenic Byway
Includes Medicine Bow National Forest, Mirror Lake
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway in Southeast Wyoming rises from sagebrush and lodgepole pines, and takes its visitors up into the high country of the Medicine Bow Forest and the magnificent Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Mountains, with open alpine meadows often covered with wildflowers, fir and spruce high elevation forests, and amazing views of rugged mountain peaks that rise over 12,000 feet above sea level.
Located on Wyoming State Highway 130 between Laramie Wyoming (to the east) and Saratoga Wyoming (to the west), the Snowy Range Scenic Byway includes 29 miles of the scenic Medicine Bow National Forest.
Because of this high elevation, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway is only open usually from Memorial Day (with the help of snow plows) through the end of October, depending on the weather. Snow usually lingers late into the spring and early summer near the pass.
How to Get There
From the east, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway can be reached by taking Wyoming State Highway 130 from the outskirts of Laramie Wyoming, and from the west, the Snowy Range Scenic Byway can be reached by Interstate 80 approximately 20 miles east of Rawlins.
If you drive straight through without stopping, the drive will take about an hour. However we highly recommend that you take your time and enjoy all of the turnouts, points of interest and recreational opportunities found along the way.
Reaches 10,847 Feet In Elevation!
The Snowy Range Scenic Byway of Wyoming works its way from about 8,000 feet above sea level... and then climbs higher and higher until it finally reaches its highest point at 10,847 feet above sea level. And even at this high altitude, there are still huge jagged peaks that reach over 12,000 feet above sea level, that tower over its visitors at the pass.
At this elevation, visitors are in the middle of classic "Alpine" conditions, which include alpine meadows as well as fir and spruce forests. And with classic alpine meadows comes a fantastic display of wildflowers throughout the summer, and the Snowy Range alpine meadows provide some amazing varieties of high altitude wildflowers for your enjoyment. The tallest peak in the Snowy Range of the Medicine Bow Mountains is Medicine Bow Peak. This massive peak rises 12,014 feet above sea level, and is located several miles north of the Snow Range Scenic Byway, at about the midway point of the byway.
Visitors enjoying the highest point along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, which is 10,847 feet!
Outdoor Recreation Opportunities: Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Skiing
Along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway of Wyoming provides many points of interest, as well as scenic turnouts. There are also terrific spots to camp and fish along this amazing byway. There are also several trail heads that take hikers deep into the Medicine Bow National Forest, and into the canyons and cirques of the magnificent Snowy Range.
In addition, there are several lakes that are easily accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities, such as Mirror Lake, Barber Lake and Lake Owen.
Mirror Lake Area and Picnic Ground
The Mirror Lake Area and Mirror Lake Picnic Ground is a popular place to enjoy a snack while taking in the tremendous beauty that surrounds you.
There are 30 available parking spots, four being designated as handicap accessible. There are single and double sites, as well as a group site. There is also a fishing platform, toilet, paths to water, paths along the shore of Mirror Lake, and a path to a historic Civil Conservation Corps bathroom.
All of these paths are accessible for folks with disabilities. As previously mentioned, there are several other lakes along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, such as Barber Lake and Lake Owen that are also accessible to people with disabilities.
Photographer capturing the beauty of Mirror Lake and the Snowy Range.
Throughout the summer season, the high alpine meadows will display a wide variety of wildflowers. But what's interesting is that each species show up at a different time of the summer. So depending on your timing, you just never know which species (sometimes more than one at a time) will be on the "grand stage" for everyone to behold.
Depending on the week, wildflowers that call the Snowy Range alpine meadows "home", include the blue columbine, American bistort, buttercups, moss campion, marsch marigold, strawberry, stonecrop, sticky geranium, cinquefoil, Jacob's-ladder, silky phacelia, penstemon, shooting star, elephant head, harebell, paintbrush, gentian and alpine forget-me-not.
And as we mentioned, it seems each week the landscape seems to change as some flowers stop blooming, and other flowers begin. And no matter which species is on "center stage", the high alpine meadows along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway of Wyoming are awe-inspiring all summer long!
Alpine wildflowers along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway in Wyoming.
Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area
There is also a ski area along the Snowy Range Scenic Byway called the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area. Located on the east side of the Medicine Bow National Forest, this is a popular winter recreation area for locals and visitors alike.
Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Wyoming.