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

Snowshoeing with Kids!

If you have not tried snowshoeing, it is a fun activity to do with kids. Snowshoeing with kids might sound challenging, but it is similar to hiking with kids, except they will tire out a bit more quickly. The only main difference is practicing the “duck walk” as my family calls it. Your feet have to be spread wider apart than normal when walking so that you do not step on the front or back of your other snowshoe. I have a four and a six-year-old, so we can only go snowshoeing for about two hours or less before my kids get tired.

 

My husband or I bring a backpack with water bottles, extra gloves (one of our kids always finds a way to get his or her gloves wet), an extra hat, etc. The backpack also comes in handy for storing extra clothes as your family sheds layers while snowshoeing. Everyone starts out cold, but by the end of the journey, hats and gloves are off and sometimes coats as well.DSCN2434

One of our favorite spots to go snowshoeing is in the Snowy Range Mountains. The Snowy Range is part of the Medicine Bow Mountains and is located within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. This stretch of mountains is a part of the Rocky Mountains. I know that Colorado gets much acclaim for beautiful mountain scenery, but I can safely say that the Medicine Bow Mountains can certainly compare. If you drive west from Laramie on Highway 130 for about 40 minutes, at the base of the Snowy Range Mountains is Centennial. Entering this small town feels like stepping back in time. It seems like everyone waves and is friendly. As we drive through Centennial, my kids get excited as they know we will be entering the National Forest soon.

My family loves going snowshoeing on the Little Laramie Trailhead in the Snowy Range Mountains. This trailhead is not far from Centennial (about 10 minutes), so it is perfect for a short getaway to the mountains or a daytrip. The trailhead is marked from the highway and there is parking along the side of the highway as sometimes the parking lot is inaccessible in the winter.14111581183_01058c4913_k

This trail is fairly flat, so it is perfect for little kids or beginning snowshoers. We start at the trail closest to the information sign. There is a beautiful snow covered bridge overlooking the frozen Little Laramie River. My kids love crossing this bridge and seeing the frozen water covered in snow. There is a chance of seeing deer, moose, rabbits, etc. along the trail, so that also adds to the appeal.

 

 

In the winter, we look for animal tracks in the snow and try to spot the perfect future Christmas tree. The kids wear snow pants, as inevitably they will stop along the way to make snow angels, roll down small hills, and sit in the snow. We have mini snowball fights and the promise of warmth as we head back to the car.

 

If you need more incentive to encourage the kids to continue along the trail or walk a little faster back to the car, in Centennial, hot chocolate and coffee are waiting at Mountain View Hotel, Cafe, and Coffee Roaster. We love to stop for lunch at this beautiful hotel after a snowshoeing trip. While waiting for you food, you can walk around and look at the antique surfaces of the room and furnishings. My kids love looking at the coffee roaster in the corner of one of the dining rooms that gives the hotel a wonderful coffee smell. When lunch arrives, my family eats and talks about our snowshoeing trip, and my kids ask when we will go again.

As our kids get older, we look forward to bigger adventures: longer hikes to Medicine Bow Peak (12013 feet), downhill skiing, or camping.  As April approaches, we will not put the snowshoes too far away as spring snowstorms are guaranteed and we may want to explore some more.

Book 2 or more nights in May or June and receive 20% off base rates based on occupancy when you mention the Code: I read the March Blog!  Subject to availability. Call or Request Online and put the code in the Guest Notes

Written by: Mountain View Blogger Kim Gianakon