Autumn in the Snowy Range Mountains

The crispness of fall is starting to creep into the morning and evening air. The mountains are beginning to discard their summer green in favor of warmer autumnal tones. And the elk, deer, pronghorn, and moose are preparing for their courtship season. Autumn in the Snowy Mountains is nearly upon us. Do you need to recharge after a busy summer? Do you crave one more escape to nature before winter sets in? Come to the Snowies this fall.

Fall is that cozy time of year for warm sweaters, hot beverages, beautiful colors, and crackling fires. And autumn in the Snowy Mountains near Centennial, Wyoming will not disappoint. If the end of summer has you wishing for one more getaway before winter, consider planning a retreat to the Snowy Range Area of the Rocky Mountains. 

Autumn in Snowy Range
Libby Creek Photo Credit K. McShane

Stay at the Cozy Mountain View Historic Hotel 

The fall nights may be getting a bit chilly for camping, but The Mountain View Historic Hotel and Cafe in Centennial, Wyoming is the perfect warm hideaway for this season (or any season). Spend the weekend (or week) in one of the hotel’s six rooms and suites. A stay at this beautiful and homey hotel is a great way to enjoy the best of the fall weather, without sacrificing comfort. You can hike, fish, and sightsee by day and enjoy a snug bed with all the modern amenities you could want in the evening. (Read more about this amazing hotel here.)

Autumn in the Snowy Range Mountains
The Mountain View Historic Hotel Photo Credit K. McShane

Feed Your Stomach While You Feed Your Soul

Before venturing into the autumn wilderness for a day of hiking, fishing, or nature-watching, fill your stomach with a delicious and hearty breakfast at the Mountain View Cafe. Hot and fresh omelets, breakfast sandwiches, and waffles are the best fuel for a day spent exploring and reveling in the sights of fall. Not to mention the Mountain View Cafe’s signature house-roasted coffee, which is AMAZING! While you are enjoying your cup of joe and morning meal, you can gaze out the cafe windows at the gorgeous autumn mountains.

The Mountain View Cafe is only open for breakfast this fall (open until 11 Tuesday – Saturday, and noon on Sunday), but the mountain town of Centennial offers several other restaurants to top off your day in the mountains. Dinners at the Old Corral Steakhouse or the Bear Bottom Bar and Grill are always fantastic and filling.

Revel in the Autumn Colors

Autumn in the Snowy Range
Little Laramie Trail Photo credit K. McShane

As the temperatures decrease, the mountains adorn themselves with their autumn raiment. This is, of course, the primary incentive to visit the Snowy Range in fall. Whether you are driving the Snowy Range Scenic Byway, hiking the endless forest trails, or fishing the glassy lakes, you will be awestruck by the stunning vistas. 

In the autumn the aspen turn to gold and the oak trees become ruddy shades of orange and yellow. While the number of deciduous trees may be less than in other areas of the country, the contrast with the deep emerald of pine, spruce, and fir trees makes their colors explode in a way that is truly exceptional. The sweeping slopes of green, gold, and orange juxtaposed against rocky peaks and a brilliant blue sky make for unrivaled photo opportunities.

Hike the Tranquil Trails

Autumn in Snowy Range
Little Laramie River Photo Credit K. McShane

As if the views weren’t enough, hiking in the fall also provides exclusive appeal. The heat of summer has melted away, and the coolness of autumn is a welcome respite. Hiking in the brisk air seems to lend more energy and vitality to a hike. Some higher trails may have early snow, so it is important to wear appropriate layers and adequate footwear. However, the cooler temperatures mean no mosquitoes. (Check out an interactive map of hiking trails in the Snowy Range area here).

What’s more, hiking in the fall is very peaceful compared to the hustle and bustle of the peak summer months. Much like hiking in spring, the trails are less-traveled and crowded and the serenity is palpable. A mountain trail in autumn is the epitome of serenity. 

Watch Wildlife

Autumn Wildlife
Moose Photo Credit K. McShane

Yet another reason to visit the Snowy Range in autumn is the abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities. This is especially true before the hunting season is in full swing. Pronghorn, elk, deer, and moose are in their fall rut (mating season) and are often less shy as they pursue females. They are also trying to add as much additional weight before the scarcity of winter and will spend long hours grazing in the open. Plus, the fact that the mountains see fewer tourists in the fall means that there is less human encroachment to make them scarce.

Relax, Renew, and Rejuvenate

Autumn in the Snowy Range
View of Lewis Lake and Sugar Loaf Photo Credit K. McShane

Whatever it is that draws you to the Snowy Range in autumn—whether it be a cozy stay in a historic hotel, breathtaking views, or a quiet and peaceful hike—the mountains promise serenity and rest. Leave behind the busyness of the everyday hubbub and renew yourself in the mountains.

Book any room or suite for 2 guests now through Oct for $88, Call the hotel directly to access this special. Based on Availability. Subject to Blackout Dates.

Leah Veinbergs at Two Little Time

Explore Wyoming

Mike asked me to attempt writing something that  might hold your interest, my first blog.

We take time off in the spring and fall, close the cafe and take in only a few hotel guests so we can make repairs and improvements to the building, relax (which means sleeping in for me) and some travel.  This fall we were invited to the Wyoming Tourism Convention in Riverton Wyoming.  We passed through the area of Lander and Riverton years ago and have always wanted to re-visit.

We drove over the Snowy Range on Highway 130 in a rain and snow mix. Then we jumped on I-80 to Rawlins and north on US-287 turn at Muddy Gap Junction, which has gas and a store. You can also sign your name or draw a picture anywhere inside the store if you bring your own marker or pen. We stopped to stretch our legs at Devil’s Gate, a geographic feature that the Overland Trail and Pony Express used to navigate the land.  The high plain covered in sage, is a grayish-tan, with mountains to the south of us.  As we continued west the land starts to show glimpses of red soil until the land and road in front of you drops and whole hillsides are red with white stripes.  Our next stop was Johnny Behind the Rock, a trail loop close to Lander.  We went our separate ways to explore among the red sandstone formations, large sagebrush and cedars.  Mike choose to climb the right side ridge. I stayed below and took pictures of the 5 foot tall sage bushes then climbed the left formation to explore.

Johnny Behind the Rock - Standing on the left side, Mike had climbed the flatter red side
Johnny Behind the Rock – Standing on the left side, Mike had climbed up the flatter red side

The next morning we left Lander for our first Wyoming State Park, Sinks Canyon S.P.  The sink itself is pretty impressive, the river in the canyon turns sharply and goes under a cliff then disappears…yes disappears into the ground and comes back up a few hundred yards down the canyon.

Sinks Canyon State Park
Sinks Canyon State Park
Sinks Canyon State Park,  where the river turns and goes under ground
Sinks Canyon State Park, where the river turns and goes under ground

It is a place where you want to climb down as far as you can go to see where the hole is.  If only we had super flashlights and wet suits.  Unfortunately the visitor center closed after Labor Day so we missed out, it looked like there were some interesting displays inside.  We were impressed with the signage at the trail head in the state park educating you to be conscious of transferring non-native invasive plant species seeds on your shoes, clothes and pets.  We continued to drive up the canyon then started to climb in a series of switchbacks that gave us views of flat land where Lander sits.  This took us into the Shoshone National Forest(the Wind River Range is here) where we drove 20+ miles on decently graded gravel roads. There was new signs throughout the Forest, which made us jealous because our forest district (Medicine Bow-Routt) needs a lot of TLC.  We saw squirrels, chipmunks a grouse and beaver dams.  We stopped at the largest lake and watched the huts for a while in hopes of seeing a beaver being busy, no sightings or sounds.

The conference that propelled us to the area was definitely worthwhile. We met many new people, and the speakers were informative.  We learned about the State of Wyoming tourism campaign for the coming year, #ThatsWY    And Mike got to meet and speak with our Governor Matt Mead for a few minutes and invited him and his family to visit the cafe soon.

Looking over Shoshone National Forest at the Wind River Range, after driving over and through
Looking over Shoshone National Forest and the Wind River Range, after driving over and through