I love after a day of meetings and work obligations being able to get outside somehow. Not all the places I am for work are great for it, but thankfully Casper is!
Casper is Wyoming’s second largest city, and sits on the northern side of Casper Mountain, a large mountain that stretches west-to-east. Casper Mountain boasts a ton of outdoor recreational opportunities, ranging from Hogadon Basin Ski Area, multi-use trails, campgrounds, and much more. I personally love mountain biking on the trails on Casper Mountain – so much that I’ve done three 8-hour long endurance races there! (You know the trails are good when I want to ride them over and over for eight hours straight!) That being said, I have not done much exploring by foot.
On a warm October evening, I headed to Rotary Park, which sits at the base of Casper Mountain. This park is the gateway to the short jaunt to Garden Creek Falls and the trailhead for the Bridle Trail, which was my destination. This trail was built in 1939-1940, and climbs steeply through rock formations and forest, includes a fun and short rock tunnel, and offers up amazing views of Casper below. There are multiple inner loops which means hikers can choose the length of their adventure. More information and a map can be found here.
I started out on the East Bridle Trail, which is a brute out of the door with a steep climb. The fall colors helped distract me from my screaming legs, but damn this was a climb! I think finally after a mile the trail leveled out to a more reasonable level and I continued cruising along. Though the parking lot had been busy, I was enjoying solitude on the trail.
The Bridle Trail is very well marked. I was running AllTrails just to be careful, but the signs at intersections had signs that made staying on the path I wanted to be on easy. There are also overlooks and benches along the way for a nice break if needed.
Split Rock is a fantastic part of the trail, and combined with fall colors this was my favorite part!
I swung by quickly to take a peek at Garden Creek Falls, which I had visited a few years ago. Then it was back to the car. Overall, I completed the 4.2 miles in 1 hour 40 minutes, which included a short pause to answer a call from a coworker (nobody needs to be hearing me breathing hard!).
I liked the Bridle Trail and would definitely hike it again when in the area. This is not necessarily a remote trail in quiet wilderness, and you will hear road noise from Casper Mountain Road and run into other humans. You will read complaints about this in reviews, but I think expectations just need to be kept in check!
Date Hiked: October 10, 2022
Trailhead: Rotary Park
Total Mileage: 4.20 miles (Garmin Vivoactive 4s/Strava)
Elevation Gain: 1,076 feet (Garmin Vivoactive s)
Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Weather: Clear and sunny
Trail Conditions: Dry