Curt Gowdy State Park sits just West of Cheyenne, about 25 minutes from town. The park has been a popular spot for locals and visitors alike since its inception in the 1970’s. For those interested in hiking near Cheyenne, Wyoming, this park is a prime destination. The park was named for legendary broadcaster, and voice of the Boston Red Sox, Curt Gowdy. Curt, for those who may not know, was actually born in Wyoming, getting his first broadcasting job in Cheyenne.
The park offers fishing, boating, and plenty of outdoor fun - but perhaps what it is best known for is the 35 miles of trails strewn throughout the park. Curt Gowdy State Park hiking and mountain biking are very popular in Curt Gowdy, and when you get out here yourself, you’ll see why!
What You Should Know Before Hiking Curt Gowdy State Park
Some things to know about Curt Gowdy State Park hiking include the altitude. If you aren’t used to high altitude fun, it can be a little different than in lower altitudes. The air is thinner, the climate is drier and the sun is more potent. This means you may be catching your breath now and again, and sunburn can happen quicker. But don’t let the high altitude stop you!
With that change in altitude comes incredible scenery, a welcoming, accessible outdoors experience and plenty of adventure. The park is popular for hikers and bikers alike, but you’ll also see plenty of folks fishing, horse riding, and even practicing their marksmanship on the park’s archery range.
Curt Gowdy State Park: Key Information at a Glance
- Yes. Day pass is $7 for Wyoming residents, $12 for non-residents per vehicle. Annual state park passes are also available.
- Gift Shops
- Yes, located in the park's visitor center.
- How do I get to the park?
- Take I-80 to exit 335. The park entrance is located about 10 miles south of Cheyenne.
Top Curt Gowdy State Park Hiking Trails You Need To Do
The park itself, on paper, is not the largest in the state by any means, but it is much beloved nonetheless. With two reservoirs fed by the Middle Crow Creek, and miles of trails, there is so much adventure on foot or bike to be had here. Before you go, you might want to take a look at a Curt Gowdy State Park map to plan your journey. So let’s take a look at some of the top spots in this new hiking guide!
Crow Creek Trail to Hidden Falls
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced
Distance: 3.6 Miles In and Out
Length: Around 1.5 hours
One of the most popular trails is Hidden Falls in Curt Gowdy State Park on the western side of the park. Essentially this is the Crow Creek trail, but there are various offshoots and entry points to be used as well. Running along the Middle Crow Creek from its entry into Granite Springs Reservoir to the namesake Hidden Falls, this trail takes you through mountains of granite and pine forest as the Great Plains transition to the foothills of the Laramie Mountains.
Pro Tip: Late Spring is one of the best times to visit this area, as new growth is coming in, the snow is melted, and afternoon showers can cool off the hike.
Stone Temple Circuit Loop
Distance: 3.75 Miles
Length: Around 1.5 hours
At more than three and a half miles, the Stone Temple Circuit is a favorite amongst hikers and mountain bikers alike. Rolling through bits of forest, rocky outcroppings and meadows, the Stone Temple could be considered one of the quintessential trails in the park. Look for various wildlife and plant life, including mountain bluebirds and astor.
Pro Tip: Enthusiasts say the best time to use Stone Temple is from April to October. Keep an eye out for the local Mule Deer heard!
Mo’ Rocka Trail
Distance: 1.67 Miles
Length: Around 45 minutes
Going by what users say about this trail, Mo Rocka could be described as Short but Fun. With some calling this the best single track bike trail in the park, there aren’t a lot of hills but plenty of fun obstacles. This all combines for some of the most unique trails in the park. Mo’ Rocka can be used as a hiking trail, but the trail’s wheel house is really a technically challenging and fun mountain bike trail. For precise trail details and navigation, be sure to refer to the Curt Gowdy State Park map.
Pro Tip: This is primarily known for being a mountain biking trail, and is usually part of a combined loop between Crow Creek and Fox Tail trails. It’s usually best to visit this trail from April to October.
Crystal Ridge Trail
Difficulty: Easy to Intermediate
Distance: 2.96 Miles
Length: Around 2 Hours
This nearly three mile trail is one of the friendliest in the park, as the range of difficulty starts in the beginner range and only goes up to intermediate. Don’t expect a lot of shade, but *do* expect plenty of views, including taking in Wyoming’s massive sky as you can see for yourself the great plains before they give way to the Laramie Mountains.
Pro Tip: Crystal Ridge sits on the edges of Crystal Reservoir, where trees are sparse and the elements are free to do as they wish. Be aware of winter winds and summer sun on this trail.
The Canyons Trail and Middle Kingdom
Difficulty: Intermediate to Expert
Distance: 5.53 miles
Length: 2.5 hours
The Canyons trail is one of those trails where you can expect amazing views, unique challenges and very few people. For those interested in hiking near Cheyenne, Wyoming, this is a trail not to be overlooked. Hidden Falls and Stone Temple get a lot of the attention - and for good reason - but that makes the Canyons trail all that much more of a gem. Take in the views at the Granite Springs Dam, and over the valley below as you hike down into the Middle Kingdom, then challenge yourself as you take on a series of steep switchbacks as you come alongside Crystal Reservoir.
Pro Tip: Mountain bikers have long avoided Canyons Trail due to the abundance of “hike-a-bike” sections that force one to walk rather than ride. However, hikers will be rewarded with vast views as you travel from rocky cliff sides to stream fed meadows. The Middle Kingdom area is also great for a bit of fishing.
Essentials For Your Curt Gowdy Hiking Adventure
Curt Gowdy State Park, no matter where you go, is high altitude and full of plenty of areas with plenty of sun and not as much shade. With the exception of a few trails on the West side of the park, there will not be much shade. So what should you bring on a hike in Curt Gowdy?
It’s very important to make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen and water. Both are critical to a fun and safe time hiking in the West.
A small first aid kit, hat and a snack or two are probably not a bad idea either. A good backpack will allow for everything you need, and then some - like a spare jacket for if and when the weather may change.
Curt Gowdy State Park Safety Guidelines & Helpful Tips
When it comes to safety in Curt Gowdy, you should be ready for anything. Falls are probably the most common source of injury in the park, so be aware of where you step and make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes. While Curt Gowdy is probably one of the safer spots to recreate, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Sunscreen: At higher altitudes sunburns happen quicker and more intensely, so be sure to protect your skin.
- Be Bear Aware: Black bear have been known to lumber about Curt Gowdy from time to time, so make sure you are taking the right precautions.
- Check the Weather: Wyoming’s weather can change in an instant, have a jacket on hand and watch the forecast leading up to your visit.
- Stay Hydrated: Especially during the summer months you can expect some pretty hot afternoons. Bring plenty of water to keep yourself from getting dehydrated.
Why Curt Gowdy State Park is a Must-Visit for Hikers
Curt Gowdy State Park is one of those places that just sticks out in the mind once you see it. The combination of prairie meadows, lakes, forest, creek-fed valleys, and granite studded peaks all in one area make it a park that allows for so many different experiences. For those interested in hiking near Cheyenne, Wyoming, this park is a must-visit. The trails offer technical biking challenges, while the locale offers stunning view after stunning view - all of it so accessible it could be Cheyenne’s backyard.
While you’re out, make sure to bring the camera and some binoculars. You never know what you’ll see, or what memories you’ll make in this Southeastern Wyoming wonder.