Touring the busy National Parks that have extreme overcrowding problems is not the best way to escape from the modern world. Basically, overcrowding creates a human zoo atmosphere that may cause stress and anxiety, which is far from what a pleasant vacation dream is about. The lesser known destinations, especially those in remote areas will offer a more peaceful experience and the adventures certainly will be memorable. Since the majority of mainstream tourists only flock to Grand Teton and Yellowstone in Wyoming, that leaves plenty of uncrowded wide open spaces to explore in this state.
The Medicine Bow National Forest covers a vast territory in southeast Wyoming near the Colorado Border. Because this is a remote area with relatively few world famous attractions, the majority of mainstream tourists simply overlook this region, so overcrowding is rarely a problem even on holiday weekends. There are many unique wilderness areas where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains and as can be imagined, this truly is a visually stunning place to be. The best way to discover all that lies in store is to visit the Medicine Bow National Forest website, which is where all campgrounds, trails and recreation areas are listed. Two of the most famous destinations in this neck of the wood are Pole Mountain and Happy Jack, which offer plenty of breathing room for having fun in the sun!
The Happy Jack Recreation Area is managed by the Medicine Bow National Forest Service and this unique destination is located about halfway between Laramie, Wyoming and Curt Gowdy State Park. Interstate Highway 80 runs close by, while taking the two lane country roads to this destination will offer even more eye appeal. Streams, rivers and small lakes can be seen throughout this area from the roadside, while the name Curt Gowdy confirms that this is a top notch fly fishing region.
The signage for the Happy Jack Recreation Area is easy to spot and the main dirt road is smooth enough for an average passenger car all the way to the Happy Jack Trailhead and campgrounds. The dirt side roads are a bit rougher and a high ground clearance vehicle is recommended when heading into the back country. The campgrounds nearly always have open campsites that are offered on a first come, first serve basis. There is an official RV camping area along with a group campground that does require reservations. Dispersed camping is an option too and 100% pack it in-pack it out rules do apply.
Hiking, biking and horseback riding are the main summer activities, while during the winter season Happy Jack is a premium snow shoe hiking destination. Grassy meadows surround pockets of deep forest in this area, so the birding and wildlife viewing opportunities are guaranteed to be good on any given day, especially near sunrise and sundown. Black Bears, coyotes, moose and mountain lions are common in this environment, so proper food storage and being aware of the surroundings will be necessary. Large deer, elk and antelope graze in the grassy fields, while hawks and eagles fly overhead, so be sure to pack a good camera or binoculars for a Happy Jack adventure!
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