Located on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming between the Snowy Mountain Range and the Laramie Mountain Range, Laramie sprang to life with the establishment of the transcontinental railroad in the 1860s. The town's Old West and railroad heritage can be seen in its charming downtown and experienced at a variety of local attractions, including the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, the Laramie Plains Museum, and the main campus of the University of Wyoming. Whether you're a fan of outdoor adventures or would rather spend the day indoors learning about the region's history, Laramie has something for everyone to do year-round.
Established in 1872, when Wyoming was still a United States territory, this Laramie prison has housed the famous "Wild West" outlaw Butch Cassidy. Today, visitors to this popular historic site enjoy walking tours of the complex, which features various exhibits in historic buildings including the Broom Factory, the Warden's House, and the Horse Barn.
The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is located on 197 acres that feature a nature trail, a picnic area, and a gift shop in addition to the prison and its exhibits. Now open year-round, the Wyoming Territorial Prison offers guided tours are on select days, including a once-a-month nighttime lantern tour. There is a small fee for admission, but the prison also hosts several free events throughout the year.
Located in the grand and historic Ivinson Mansion, the Laramie Plains Museum showcases items collected from around the region. Originally constructed in 1892, the mansion was the home of prominent Wyoming businessman Edward Ivinson and his family for many decades, and later, it served as a home for schoolgirls.
The Laramie Plains Museum is now open for tours and has space available for special events throughout the year. The mansion has been restored and its rooms are furnished with items that illustrate life in Wyoming's early settlement years. You'll see lavishly decorated living areas and bedrooms along with the more humble, but still fascinating, domestic workspaces.
Located just east of Laramie, Curt Gowdy State Park has a lot to offer, whether you're a day visitor or plan to camp overnight. The three reservoirs in the park are all popular for fishing, both from the shore and from a boat. Miles of hiking, biking, and horse riding trails pass through the park's varied terrain, and there are several areas designated for mountain bike play, outdoor archery, horse camping, and wildlife watching.
Curt Gowdy State Park is open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a small fee for daily use of the park's facilities and an additional fee for nightly camping and parking, but you can also purchase an annual camping pass if you plan to stay for multiple days—or come back several times throughout the year.
The American Heritage Center is located in a distinctive teepee-shaped structure on the University of Wyoming campus, where it collects and preserves historical documents, maps, and photographs. While the facility primarily serves scholars and researchers, it does have some exhibits available to the general public. This includes paintings by such prominent Western artists as Henry Farnys and Frederic Remington.
Both the Reading Room and main building of the American Heritage Center are open Monday through Friday, and the main building's second-floor Loggia is also open on Saturdays. Parkin in the Centennial Complex lot is free but patrons must register their vehicles at the AHC Front Desk to avoid parking tickets.
Wandering Laramie's historic downtown is a fun way to spend some time. You'll find well-preserved buildings that are packed with Old West charm, including a Carnegie Library that now serves as an official space for the City of Laramie. There are also stores offering Western art, apparel, and souvenirs as well as sporting goods and gift items. Additionally, downtown Laramie features several bar and grills, steakhouses, and cafes.
While you're in downtown Laramie, don't miss out on the fantastic large-scale art decorating building walls around town as part of the Laramie Mural Project. However, be sure to stop by the project's Main Street office, the Albany County Tourism Board's office on Custer Street, or the University of Wyoming Art Museum to pick up a printed walking tour brochure before you set out.
Established in 2011 as a collaboration between the UW Art Museum and the Laramie Main Street Alliance, the Laramie Mural Project features works from over 40 artists to date.
Located just off Interstate 80 east of Laramie at the Summit Rest Area, the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument is a 12-foot-tall bust of the 16th president of the United States resting atop a 30-foot-tall granite pedestal. Originally constructed by former University of Wyoming professor Robert Russin in 1959 at the top of nearby Sherman Hill, which overlooks the old U.S. Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway), the monument was relocated to the Summit Rest Area in 1968 upon completion of Interstate 80.
Speaking of Abraham Lincoln, a 100-mile round-trip portion of the original Lincoln Highway (U.S. Highway 30) runs right through Laramie. Established in 1913 and known as America's first coast-to-coast highway, the Lincoln Highway is still used today—especially in smaller towns in the middle of the country like Laramie.
Starting from downtown Laramie, you can head north on U.S. 287 and Highway 30 to Medicine Bow, Wyoming, before coming back along the same road. Alternatively, you can take a much bumpier portion of the Old Lincoln Highway known as Hermosa Road, which is accessible from Interstate 80 southeast of Laramie toward Cheyenne.