Off we go!
As a lover of water I’m constantly seeking out new lakes, rivers and ponds to explore. I’ve been to many of the lakes in Colorado but I’ve spent very little time in Wyoming. Just enough time to purchase fireworks in fact! So I decided to dive deeper and go kayaking at Glendo Reservoir. Wyoming called to me for several reasons. The lack of population density, close proximity to Colorado, and it’s a red state. While this isn’t a political blog, I tend to have more in common with red states than blue states so it’s something to note.
The purpose of this particular trip was to make a quick overnighter to a location where my adventure buddy (Justin) and I could park the Jeep, paddle to a distant shoreline, and fish for the night. Glendo is 5 hours from my house with easy access via Interstate 25. We sought out a shoreline that would be only accessible by water craft or at least very difficult to access without a water craft. Neither of us had been to Glendo so the thrill of a new body of water to paddle also increased our interest. The decision was made, Glendo or Bust!
We loaded our kayaks on my 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and headed north. We left on a Sunday morning so most of the traffic along the front range was minimal. This is a rarity if you’ve ever traveled between Colorado Springs and Ft. Collins. We stopped for breakfast at Omelets, Etc. where we piled some veggie breakfast burritos into our gullets. Justin made some concoction with salsa and gravy on his and I opted for just straight up salsa. While he claimed he didn’t love the meal his actions showed different. I’m not sure he took anymore than 3 total breaths between bite number one and his cleanly licked plate. I do recommend the restaurant. They’ve got a nice menu with some vegan options which is rare to find! With full bellies we continued the trek north to our next quick pitstop, Cheyenne!
Quick stop in Cheyenne
I’ve been to Cheyenne before but I’ve not done any looking around so we detoured around town and checked out Frontier Park which is the home of Cheyenne Frontier Days. We moseyed through the downtown, then zipped back to I25. I’d like to get back to Cheyenne and support the town. It seems like a nice place! From there we had a quick stop in Wheatland. Now this feels like Wyoming! Great small town with a cute brick main street and the best gas prices of our trip at the newly built Mavericks. All right, enough farting around, let’s get to Glendo!
Arriving At Glendo
The speed limit in Wyoming, north of Cheyenne, is 80 MPH so the last leg of the trip went by FAST! My gas mileage was abysmal but it was worth it. You wouldn’t know there is a large tree lined lake by driving the interstate. It’s tucked off to the east just far enough away that if you didn’t know it was there you’d probably drive right by it. We grabbed some snacks from the local gas station to get us through the night and arrived at the state park around 3 PM. The gate attendant was helpful and nice. She gave us some general directions and sent us on our way after paying 15 dollars for park entry. If you’re a Wyoming resident you get a discount which I thought was pretty cool! In Colorado everyone pays the same as of the writing of this blog in 2021.
We opted to circumnavigate the lake by Jeep so we could get a feel for the whole place. Plus the place we intended to launch from was located on the shoreline opposite of the gate. There is not a direct route to go completely around the lake but there is a road that goes about 80 percent around. It just doesn’t connect from the north without taking a long detour.
Glendo has a TON of camping compared to what I’m used to at my home park of Lake Pueblo. There are multiple primitive sites along all shorelines of the lake and some campgrounds that offer electric. It looks like all the campgrounds have at least vault toilets. We didn’t need a campsite on this trip since we were pulling an all night fishing adventure but it’s worth noting that you have a lot of options if you’d like to camp while recreating!
The drive around the lake was scenic with varying terrain and topography. There are lots of beautiful cottonwoods, some pines, rock bluffs, and prairie. The view from the dam is definitely photo worthy! We went to the furthest northeast part of the lake and took the access road back to the shoreline. Winding back towards the lake we took the gravel/dirt roads until we found our launch point. I can’t recall which campground we drove through before finding the access to shoreline but once we were there it was the perfect spot! Time to get in the water!
Justin and I unloaded the kayaks and all our gear. It took very little time as we were both excited to get our boats wet and check out some shoreline. The weather was just perfect. About 90 degrees with very little wind. The sky was hazy due to the wildfires in California and Canada but we didn’t let that bother us. We paddled from Muddy Creek towards Sandy Beach Dune area. We didn’t get all the way there as we stopped to check out the boat ramp and camping, wade into the water, walk the shoreline, and scope out our overnight spot. There was some great bird watching and fish jumping everywhere!
The shoreline we picked was east facing with our own personal sandy beach. It was protected from the main body and served almost as a lagoon. We could fish the main body if we wanted to or our own personal lagoon with ease! Upon our arrival around 6 or 7 PM we dragged our boats on shore and turned our attention to dinner. I had a gourmet selection of Tostito’s Hint of Lime chips with Tostito’s Restaurant Style Sals while Justin opted for Nutella (I think) and Pepsi! Just what we needed to replenish our lost calories. Justin was kind enough to share one of his ice cold Pepsi’s with me. It was better than the luke warm water I had been filtering and drinking and made a nice treat.
The sun was setting, the fish were jumping and our lagoon was serene. We stuck it out all night. No luck on the catching but oh well! In the morning we had a short paddle back to the Jeep then off to Laramie for some more exploring but first we checked out the tailwaters of the North Platte River.
North Platte River
This was one of our favorite parts of the whole trip. After we finished kayaking Glendo Reservoir we followed the road down to the North Platte River. The river starts at the hydroelectric plant and goes to Guernsey State Park 20 something miles down stream. There are several scenic spots and you can kayak this whole stretch of the North Platte! While we were only able to check out a few spots close to Glendo it definitely piqued our interest and added another item to our lengthy must do lists. We will be back for you North Platte!
Road Tripping to Laramie and checking out the Lincoln Highway
From Glendo we zipped back down to Wheatland to pickup the cut off over to Laramie. Did I mention the cheap gas here? Did I also mention my Jeep was sucking down gas faster than a redneck in a beer chugging competition? Thank goodness for Mavericks! From Wheatland to Laramie is a mostly uneventful drive. There aren’t really any towns or major landmarks along this route but we did pass by an elk farm and were graced by several huge bulls standing along the fence line. Their huge racks still covered in velvet! Elk are such majestic creatures. If you’ve never had an opportunity to see one you must make it a point to do so!
Arriving in Laramie
Upon arrival in Laramie we had two goals. Check out the UW football stadium (Justin checks these off his list) and check out the river area. Maybe we could find some other kayaking other than Glendo Reservoir…. After checking out the stadium (quite impressive) we went to Optimist Park where we parked and walked into the river. There was a nice path that followed the river which provided great walking and riding opportunities. The North Platte isn’t a huge river through here but apparently there are some fishing opportunities. After talking with a local we headed out to a new mountain biking area the city is building on the outskirts of town. The trails look to be moderately difficult with some harder stuff mixed in. For being in Wyoming it looks like a really nice place to mountain bike and hike!
While we were in the area we couldn’t leave before laying our tires along the Lincoln Highway, also known as Highway 80. The history was interesting and the visitor center they have outside of Laramie is worth the stop! This visitor center is located at the highest point along Highway 80 at over 8000 feet. There is a video playing inside, maps, clean bathrooms, tables, and ample parking. The statue of Abraham Lincoln towers above the highway and makes a great photo opp.
After taking some photos and reading the history of the area we headed back west to take a cutoff into Fort Collins, Colorado and continue our trek home. For an adventure that lasted well under 36 hours I think we got a lot accomplished and explored some areas we’ve never been to. I’d like to get back and check out the river float as well as visit Guernsey State Park. Wyoming was a nice change from Colorado. The openness is refreshing. Be sure you get the invasive species sticker on your water craft before putting any type of water craft in any body of water!
Thanks for coming along on this adventure and please check back soon for more adventures and don’t forget to check out my other blogs!