Spectacular views consisting of rolling hills, meadows, waterfalls and massive granite formations make this a memorable spot for visitors from all over. The park is divided into 7 sections that center around 3 reservoirs and is in the foothills of the breathtaking Laramie Mountains.
The reservoirs – Granite Springs, Crystal and North Crow – offer opportunities for fishing and boating. The park also features 35 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding as well as camping, rock climbing, archery and bird and wildlife viewing.
Curt Gowdy State Park is open year-round, however, the campgrounds, visitor center and Hynds Lodge are only open seasonally from May 1 to October 1.
With so much to see and do you’re sure to find something interesting here whatever time of the year you visit. Really the only thing that you aren’t able to do here is swim, as swimming is not allowed in the reservoirs.
Here’s a closer look at each of the activities this park has to offer:
Boating at Curt Gowdy
There are three bodies of water located inside the park and that means many opportunities for boating, whether you enjoy kayaking, canoeing or even paddleboarding. And motorized boats are also allowed (on the Granite and Crystal Reservoirs only) but speed must be maintained under 15 MPH.
There are two docks with ramps here for public use from May to October – one at Granite Reservoir (south of the Visitors Center) and one at Crystal Reservoir (at the Crystal Dam overlook).
Only non-motorized boats are allowed on the North Crow Reservoir which is more isolated and lies 5 miles west of the Visitors Center.
You can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and paddle boats at Reservoir Aquatic Rentals located inside the camp store next to the boat ramp. Prices start at $20 for the first hour.
Hiking at Curt Gowdy
With over 35 miles of trails accessible year round you’re sure to find something suited to your interests and comfort level. The trail system ranges from easy to expert and starts at the Visitors Center and ends at the Crystal Reservoir.
There are trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. And cross country skiing during the winter months.
Here are a few of the more popular trails here:
- Kate’s Trail – an easy one mile concrete trail that starts and finishes at the Visitors Center and is ideal for anyone with disabilities.
- Crow Creek Trail – an intermediate trail, 3.6 miles in length, that winds its way to Hidden Falls and the beautiful waterfall there.
- El Alto Trail – only a mile long but due to the climb it’s more for expert hikers. The view is incredible!
- Slabz Trail – this is another short but steep trail that leads up and to gorgeous views of the park below.
Biking at Curt Gowdy
Part of those 35 miles of trails include four mountain bike areas and mountain bike skills areas. And this trail system was awarded the designation of Epic by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). This means you won’t be disappointed if you’re searching for someplace interesting to ride.
Horseback Riding at Curt Gowdy
There’s also a year-round equestrian loop included in those 35 miles of trails. Riding is only allowed in one area but there is a large, fenced pasture for them to run in as well as a public horse corral located near the Aspen Grove Campground.
Fishing at Curt Gowdy
Fishing is a popular activity found here all year long. Rainbow trout and kokanee salmon are plentiful at two of the three reservoirs during the Spring and Summer and perch can be caught while ice fishing during the Winter.
Granite Reservoir contains rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Crystal Reservoir also has rainbow trout and kokanee salmon and also brown trout. There is shoreline fishing here as well.
North Crow Reservoir is in a more rustic and peaceful spot (there are no picnic tables, motorized boats and amenities here). Splake and grayling can be found as well as rainbow trout and brown trout.
Stream fishing can be easily accessed in two locations: at the inlet to Granite Reservoir and the Upper North Crow Reservoir; and at the walk-in area between Granite Reservoir and Crystal Reservoir.
Archery at Curt Gowdy
The 28-target field course here was developed by Cheyenne Field Archers during the 1960s. It meets the guidelines set out by the National Field Archery Association.
It consists of a 2-mile trail throughout the woods of moderate difficulty that is open year round.
Bird Watching at Curt Gowdy
This park is considered to be a prime area for birdwatching. From late April to early May there are many migrating birds and this makes for a wonderful opportunity to spot non native birds to this area.
During the Spring and Summer sparrows, blackbirds and finches are easily sighted as well as ducks, geese, vultures and hawks. There are bluebird houses thoughtfully placed throughout the park to allow visitors a glimpse at these beautiful creatures.
Nature and Wildlife at Curt Gowdy
Not only will you spot many birds on your visit to this park but you’re sure to also see squirrels, chipmunks, mule deer, elk and yellow-bellied marmots.
Don’t be surprised if you see a black bear! There’s a bear habitat nearby and occasionally one wanders into the park. Just be sure to keep any food sealed up and you won’t have any trouble with them.
Pets at Curt Gowdy
Dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed. Leashes cannot be any longer than 10 feet.
Camping at Curt Gowdy
There are 159 campsites in the park spread throughout 12 camping areas. 90 are reservable and 69 are first come first serve sites. They’re made up of tent campsites, RV campsites and equestrian campsites. There are also cabins available that have A/C and heat and are available year-round. There are showers at the Visitors Center and sites have fire pits and picnic tables.
Weddings and Other Events at Curt Gowdy
Historic Hynds Lodge is available from May 1 until October 1 for conferences, weddings and other large gatherings. The amphitheater nearby can also be rented and makes for a serene setting.
The lodge itself has a large rustic stone fireplace, a covered porch, large kitchen, and dining room. And can accommodate up to 30 people overnight.
Day use $7/day per vehicle (resident)
Day use $12/day per vehicle (non-resident)
Park Hours: Open year round 24 hours/day
Visitor Center Hours:
May 1 – October 1, open Monday – Sunday 8 – 5
October 2 – April 30, open Wednesday – Sunday 9 – 3 (closed Monday and Tuesday)
Below is an interesting video showing an aerial view of Curt Gowdy State Park: