We’ve officially sprung forward into Daylight Savings Time and the initial chaos it exerts on family sleep schedules. No matter your perspective on whether Daylight Savings is a worthwhile exercise, no one can deny that we are excited to see more and more sun. Spring is officially around the corner and for anyone with kiddos enrolled in school you know what this means…spring break is here!
If you’re not headed to a tropical island paradise or desirable desert clime, rest easy — you’re not alone and it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a brief escape closer to home. If you’re looking for some options within 3 hours of Sheridan — good news — there are a number of amazing state parks worth exploring now before the summer crowds show up.
Glendo State Park
Glendo S.P. is a great destination for springtime fun whether you’re a hiker, photographer, birder, biker, kayaker or just wanting to enjoy some impressively scenic camping under the stars. With more than 45 miles of professionally-designed and built trails, it is destination-worthy.
If you’re base-camping at Glendo and looking for a great day trip with some serious solitude, check out the 15-mile float through scenic Wendover Canyon on the North Platte River. This is mostly wide and gentle Class I water through a particularly impressive canyon.
Full float details here: http://www.rff.com/poudrepaddlers/Glendo2015.htm.
Guernsey State Park
While many in Wyoming may be familiar with Glendo S.P., fewer have heard of or visited the outback of Guernsey S.P. Spring break is the perfect time to explore the more than 10 miles of Civilian Conservation Corps trails that have been restored and provide “the finest examples of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) work in the Rocky Mountain area.” In fact, the picnic pavilion known as “The Castle” may be the most elaborate picnic shelter ever built in the country.
Still not sold on this historic and scenic scrubland? Did I mention you can stay in yurts? Guernsey S.P. has four yurts available to rent year-round and confirmed openings for the upcoming weeks of spring break. These are solar-powered, rustically furnished retreats with spacious decks and expansive views. Give them a call to get one booked at 307-836-2334.
Hot Springs State Park
It’s not all in a name…in addition to the 104-degree hot springs, water parks and state bath house for luxurious spring-time soaking, this park has more than 6 miles of trail winding through spectacular river-side terrain (keep an eye on the bison herd) not to mention the ever-fishable Bighorn River. Better yet, if you like your solitude with a dose of city amenities, unlike the other state parks, this one is easy walking distance to a diverse selection of overnight lodging (no camping here) as well as downtown Thermopolis — where you’ll find restaurants, boutique shops and the One-Eyed Buffalo Brewing Company.
So, hook up the camper, throw your tent in the car and reserve that yurt or hotel room. Pack for early spring weather and drop by the grocery store before you head out of town to stock up on vacation food. Pushing just a little outside your comfort zone will get your family en route to a true adventure and easily (and affordably) make for one of the most memorable trips you’ll ever take for spring break.
Full details on these parks and others as well as travel distances, directions and other up-to-date information is available on the Wyoming State Parks website, www.wyoparks.state.wy.us.
Wyoming weather disclaimer: Wyoming’s “Spring-break” weather can and will change without notice or predictability. If the forecast predicts consecutive days of temps in the 60s, you’d better get out for a mini spring-break trip before the next blizzard shows up.
Colin Betzler is the executive director of the Sheridan Community Land Trust.