When we were considering our move to Wyoming, one of our criteria was proximity to mountains and places to hike. With 109 named mountain ranges and sub-ranges in Wyoming, we thought it was a safe bet we’d be able to access something of interest no matter where we landed!
If you’ve visited Cheyenne, Wyoming, which is situation at 6,063 feet (compared to Denver’s 5,279 feet) you might have felt the altitude while admiring the mountain ranges that still looked to be a ways off in the distance. Likely you were looking at the Rocky Mountains, or at least the Laramie Mountains (which are a range of the central Rockies), the Snowy Range, Sherman Mountains, or Twin Mountains, all of which are a 90-minute or less drive from our house.
While it’s awesome to have so many new mountains to explore, we’re also excited about having even closer hiking options in new types of terrain. When we relocated, we drove through one such spot about 30 minutes from our new home that we immediately added to our short list.
We set out for Curt Gowdy State Park on a crisp autumn morning and spent a few hours hiking the Crow Creek to Hidden Falls trail. We turned this into a five-mile loop (~400 feet of gain) by setting out counter-clockwise on Crow Creek trail, popping out to see the falls, and then circling back on the Mo Rocka and Foxtail trails.
There were a fair number of RVers and a tent camper just waking up as we pulled in and purchased our day pass at the very nice visitor center near the park entrance. We’ve been wanting to try out Brian’s camping gear to see if it’s still in working condition and whether we enjoy using it enough to make camping more of a routine activity – Curt Gowdy is the perfect distance from home for a low-risk test run!
I wasn’t sure how busy the trail might be, but we were only the second car in the lot when we set off on our hike. The one couple just ahead of us parted ways around the waterfall, and we only saw a handful of other hikers during our entire time on the trail.
According to AllTrails, this is also a popular mountain biking trail, but we only saw signage signaling the difficulty of the different bike paths – no actual bikers. We also saw evidence of horse-back riding but no actual horses!
The trees and shrubs were changing color and really beautiful against the bright blue sky and rock formations. The first half of the hike along the river was mostly in forested areas with the second half in the open with great overhead views of all the hills, valleys and rock formations throughout the park.
As we approach Hidden Falls, it became apparent we were not correctly attired to actually view the waterfall. After carefully navigating some large rocks across the icy river in a few places, I decided to call it – I really didn’t want to fall in that cold water and freeze for the next hour as we hiked out!
As we neared the bend and could hear the falls, we also lost the few rocks that had allowed us to cross the river in other places.
Brian decided to take off his shoes and socks and wade back to the falls – his argument being that we had already come all this way!
He saw it and photographed it – I’m not sure he ultimately thought it was worth the frozen feet – and we quickly set off on the second half of our hike so he could warm up.
It was a beautiful morning and a great introduction to Curt Gowdy State Park.
As we headed home I sent my mom a few photos, and she said she hadn’t heard the name Curt Gowdy in a long time. We were planning to look him up when we got back, but she let us know he was a famous sports announcer! Maybe you recognized the name, too? If not, here’s a little history my friend shared with me for reference.
Happy to be hiking in our new home state of Wyoming!