I do a lot of planning before I go on a trip, and sometimes it seems like I know everything I’m going to see, before I leave home. That’s why it’s so much fun to discover something completely unexpected — which is exactly what happened as I drove through a place called Vedauwoo.
Don’t ask me how to pronounce Vedauwoo. I don’t have a clue. But here’s what I do know. Vedauwoo is home to some of the most bizarre rock formations in the west. It reminds me of places like Joshua Tree National Park and the Alabama Hills near Mount Whitney.
Unfortunately, it was pouring the rain as I drove through Vedauwoo, so I could only take pictures from inside the car. The piles of rock near Vedauwoo Road (the only ones I could easily photograph) aren’t even the most impressive. A huge mountain of rounded boulders, called Turtle Rock, sits in the middle of the area, towering more than 300 feet above the surrounding landscape. No surprise, it’s all quite popular with wide-crack rock climbers.
There’s a main parking area (which requires a fee, so I didn’t go in), then there are numerous other pull-outs along Vedauwoo Road. Some of these turnouts are meant only for 4-wheel drive vehicles, so be careful if you’re in a lesser vehicle. Also beware, Vedauwoo Road is dirt, and it is severely washboarded in some areas.
Vedauwoo Road eventually connects with Happy Jack Road, which parallels Interstate 80 on a much more scenic route into Cheyenne. Clearly, I was racing to get ahead of a storm front, and I succeeded at pulling in front of it, and arriving in Cheyenne with mere minutes to spare, before the rain caught up with me again.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.