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Fort Collins: Fermented Paradise and Laundry

This post jumps back to our late spring trip out west.  Leaving the Vedauwoo Recreation area between Laramie and Cheyenne, we backtracked and drove southeast to Fort Collins, Colorado. We had several reasons for making Fort Collins our destination. First, Julia has an optometry school friend who resides there.  Her husband is a lawyer.    And they both like to hike and drink good beer, so lots of things to talk about after not seeing each other for a number of years.  Second, after a week without hookups, we needed to resupply, shower, do laundry, dump tanks,  and plan our next journey into the mountains. We checked into Boyd Lake State Park for a two day mid-week stay.   All of Colorado State Parks are expensive for camping and charge an additional $10 each day for non-residents. At Boyd Lake, sites are tight. Coin showers with out-of-order change machines.  No firewood for sale. On the plus side, the on-site laundry facilities were excellent.  Also, it was very convenient to use

Vedauwoo Recreation Area, Wyoming


When I started researching Vedauwoo during the planning of this trip, I was pretty sure that I was going to like it.  The area checked lots of my boxes.  High elevation, free camping, thirty minutes from a college town (Laramie), trails, and interesting rocks.  

This area is closed to campers (with gates across the road) until about June 1st each year.  We drove in from Nebraska on June 2nd. Vedauwoo is literally right off of Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie.  The closest "town" is Buford (population 1).  Verizon cell phone service was iffy but could be improved to two bars by climbing a nearby rock formation. 

Pronounced Vee-da-voo, the area is popular among rock climbers and off road vehicle enthusiasts.  Rock climbing is a silent sport and doesn't bother me a bit, although I have no urge to do technical climbing.  Off-road vehicles don't bother me a bit until someone turns the key.  Then the noise and dust can be quite annoying.  Thankfully, most of the time that we were here, the dust and noise were minimal.  As the weekend approached, the noise and dust increased but only near the road. There was one younger boy that drove up and down the road from sunrise to sunset, back and forth, back and forth.  We tried to stay far away from the road when things got dusty and noisy.

Dispersed camping is different here from other places that I've been.  You must camp in assigned spots, which are numbered.  That might seem  like a negative, but it didn't turn out that way.  The numbered campsites are extremely well-spaced, and there's got to be at least a hundred of them.  The system actually worked well to keep people from bunching up too close together.  The spot we finally settled in (lucky 13) was a couple of hundred yards from the next nearest camper.  

Back yard

Side yard


Front yard

There is a pay campground here also, but the sites are much tighter together, and there is no good reason to stay there.  All water must be brought in, although there is a spigot at a rest area on the way to Laramie.  There was also a vault toilet about a ten minute walk from our campsite.  It was kept clean and well-stocked by U.S. Department of Agriculture employees.

What's to love about this place?  For me it was the rock formations. As mentioned before, I'm not a technical climber, but there are so many rock formations to play around in.  It really made me feel like a little kid to run around in and on top of the rocks.  Pure joy!

The elevation was over 8000 feet at our camp, so we enjoyed warm days (70's) and cool nights (40's).  After each day of exploring, we had plenty of time for food and drink.  We stayed six days.

We made a few side trips to visit Laramie and Cheyenne and also did some hiking in the Pole Mountain area.  Those will be the subject of a separate post.  



  1. "Rock climbing is a silent sport" OK, I have to admit my first thought on reading that was "Yeah, right up until someone is falling!" and my second thought was "But at least the noise doesn't last long"

    I do like the idea of the numbered campsites. Since it seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way, something has to take the place of common courtesy.

    The first thing I noticed about Buford was that UP has a couple sidings there - Oh how sad to be a rail-geek.

  2. Ok, now I'm not going to be able to think about rock climbing as a silent sport again without chuckling.

    I'm afraid that the absence of common courtesy is going to result in all kinds of new rules--some of which make sense and some of which probably won't. In the case of Vedauwoo, it makes sense. That didn't prevent a couple of people from ignoring the rules and camping at non-designated sites. Also, with no designated trash receptacles, people were using the fire rings for beer cans, cigarettes, and other lovelies.


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