Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Monday, May 12, 2014

Our first Big Trip

Fort Robinson State Park in Nebraska is our destination.
We start out on a beautiful spring day in Laramie heading north out of town. We appreciate the green of the high prairie, the full Laramie River and multitudes of antelope grazing and lazing in the pastures. Our path takes us on the Sybille Canyon highway over Morton Pass and down into the Sybille Creek drainage. The scenery is spectacular. We stop at a convenient turnout next to the Sybille Wildlife Preserve to see elk, buffalo, big horn sheep and even a glimpse of a moose, maybe.

Up and out of the canyon, through the newly planted cornfields near Wheatland WY and on to Gurnsey  for a convenient gas/restroom stop. Coal trains from the Powder River mines intersect on the east side of town with the National Guard training station, a busy place in the summer. We turn north onto a narrow, twisty but scenic highway through ranching country.  The tiny mining town of Hartville is east of the road. Some of my ancestors came here in the mining days when land became scarce in Nebraska and their families remained in Wyoming becoming ranchers. Their families are scattered throughout the west. 
We turn onto Highway 20 at Manville heading east to Lusk WY. A handy rest area just west of Lusk, one of a very few in Wyoming, offers us a place for lunch and to stretch our legs.  A memorial to the Cheyenne to Deadwood Stage lines offers some insight into the history of the region.

Continuing east on US 20 we pass into Nebraska. This highway is named Bridges to Buttes Highway here and we soon see white sandy looking buttes as we near Crawford NE. There is evidence of a fire some time ago along these former pine forested ridges, now grassed over.  Down into the Soldier Creek drainage and into the Fort Robinson State Park.  We find a pretty paved and mostly level site near the shower house. The park has paved sites with picnic tables and fire rings, most with electricity and some with full hookups. There is a quiet, out of the way spot for tent campers along the creek.
Fort Robinson was an Army fort protecting settlers and wagon trains as the west was settled. It became a cavalry training base for the Army after WWI and later was repurposed as a meat animal research center for the University of Nebraska. The Fort was repurposed again as a State Park when the research facility was relocated to central Nebraska. 
There are wonderful historical buildings and recreated educational buildings telling of the western migration, the Indian wars and the sad final days of the Cheyenne Chief Crazy Horse.  MNy of the former barracks, officers quarters an other fort buildings can be rented for family reunions and vacations. Equestrian facilities are available with stable rental for horses and a dedicated campground for equestrian events. A lodge on the grounds has rooms and a restaurant and summer events include the Post Playhouse where musical theater is presented. Horseback trail rides, stagecoach rides and a chuck wagon cookout are also summer fare. 
We enjoyed the beautiful weather this first evening with an eye on the weather forecast. Sure enough, we woke up to snow the next day.


  1. Glad you didn't encounter the terrible weather much of the eastern half of Nebraska did last night! Enjoy your time at Fort Robinson.

  2. you missed a whole bunch of snow here in Laramie! oh well, can't have everything