Best Lakes in Southeast Wyoming – Quick Trips
With summer around the corner, it’s time to start planning weekend trips to the lake. There are several lakes in the area, each providing different opportunities, such as boating, fishing, water-skiing, and even windsurfing. (Arguably the most well-suited sport to Wyoming). These close lakes provide a great way to take a day trip or an extended weekend trip, as many of them have camping options available. And with stocked lakes, perhaps you will be able to enjoy some fresh fish over a campfire.
About twenty minutes west of Laramie lays Lake Hattie. Lake Hattie is the largest of the Laramie Plains Lakes, with between 1500-3000 surface acres of water depending on the water level. Set in the shadow of the foothills, Lake Hattie is primarily a fishing and boating lake. Lake Hattie is stocked by the Fish and Game Department, making it a great destination for young fisherman, so they can experience the excitement of getting their first catch. Four Seasons Anglers in Laramie keeps a fishing report of Lake Hattie, as well as other local lakes, online. They also offer tips for fishing on the lake. Lake Hattie contains rainbow, brown, and lake trout, Kokanee salmon, and perch. The brown and rainbow trout generally range between 12-30 inches, and the lake trout average between 5 and 15 pounds (or enough for a good dinner). Lake Hattie does have a few campsites and boat ramps, but overall it is more of a rustic lake with no electric or water hookups. However, since it is close to town, it makes for more of day trip than a camping one. In addition to the fishing and boating, Lake Hattie is also known for its windsurfing. With the strong breeze coming across the plains, windsurfers enjoy a great change to practice their skills. Most windsurfers use between 5.5 and 7.5 sails and boards greater than 901. Winds are best in the spring and fall, but make sure to bring a wet suit as temperatures are much colder.
Two hours from Laramie is Guernsey State Park and Reservoir. Guernsey is a great lake to take the family to because it has camp facilities and other activities in the surrounding area. Guernsey Reservoir is the result a dam built in 1927. The dam, as well as the gatehouse, are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The reservoir at Guernsey provides a great opportunity for boating, swimming, and fishing. Guernsey has 2,400 surface acres, 27 miles of shoreline, and 3 boat ramps. Fish types include walleye, yellow perch, and channel catfish. However, make sure to watch out for the boaters and water skiers that populate the lake. After a day on the lake, visitors can relax at one of the state park’s seven campground areas, five of which are around the lake. All the campgrounds have comfort stations, picnic tables, grills, and drinking water. In addition to the reservoir, Guernsey State Park has a variety of other activities. The Guernsey Museum and Castle and Brimmer Point provide a great place to explore and see great views of the lake. There are also ten miles of hiking trails in the area that were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The trailhead is at Brimmer Point turnoff. There are also several historic sites in the area, such as the Oregon Trail, Register Cliff, and Fort Laramie. The Oregon Trail ruts are located ½ mile south of the town of Guernsey off Highway 26. Register Cliff, where immigrants signed their names into the cliff, is two miles southeast of Guernsey.
If you are looking for beaches to swim at, Glendo State Park is the place to go. It is a popular destination for boaters, fishers, and families. Fishermen like Glendo because it has produced several fishing records. Like Guernsey, Glendo has excellent campsites, sanitary facilities, tables, and grills for guests use. While there are many campground areas at Glendo, the park recommends that visitors stay at Two Moon campground area because the camp area has many pine trees for shade and wind protection. It also has a great view of the lake. There are approximately 200 sites within Two Moon. There are also motel units, if camping seems unappealing. Glendo also has a complete marina, which is useful for boaters and jet skiers. Besides the lake, Glendo offers excellent hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as the Spanish Diggings, a large site of aboriginal activity. One visitor reviewed concluded, “Glendo provides a great weekend camping, swimming, water skiing, wakeboarding, fishing and exploring the lake. Beautiful scenery. Plenty of room for everyone. Nice shady campsites. Great family getaway.”
Like Lake Hattie, Curt Gowdy State Park has three great lakes within 30 minutes of Laramie. Unfortunately, swimming is not allowed in any of the lakes, so this destination is for fisherman, boaters, water-skiers, and campers only. Since the main reservoir, Granite, is filled with snow melt from the Snowy Mountains, waters remain at frigid temperatures throughout the summer forcing park officials to disallow swimming to prevent hypothermia. Water-skiing, as well as other water sports, is permitted. Besides providing room for boaters, Granite reservoir is known for its rainbow trout and kokanee salmon fishing. The other two reservoirs, Crystal and North Crow, are generally less busy and provide fishing opportunities. Small boats (under 15 horsepower) are allowed on Crystal reservoir, but the shoreline is also adequate for brown trout, rainbow trout and Kokanee salmon fishing. North Crow Reservoir is the most remote and rustic of the three lakes. There is little development at North Crow, so do not expect to find running water or comfort stations. Camping is also available at Curt Gowdy State Park, with the main camping areas being Tumbleweed, Camp Russell, and Aspen Grove. While the lakes do attract many visitors to Curt Gowdy, the park is also well-known for its mountain biking trails. Several mountain biking races are held at Curt Gowdy each year, so the trails are kept in excellent condition.