Casper Mountain

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Casper Mountain
Casper Mountain, from the east side of Casper, Wyoming.
Elevation 8,130 ft (2,480 m)
Location Natrona County, Wyoming, U.S.
Coordinates 42°45′09″N 106°18′52″W / 42.75250°N 106.31444°W / 42.75250; -106.31444
Easiest route Wyoming Highway 251
Casper Mountain carries a majority of the area's radio communication towers.
Casper, as seen from the summit of the mountain.
Another view of Casper as seen from Casper Mountain.
A view of the road (Wyoming Highway 251) climbing the mountain.

Casper Mountain is a long mountain at the north end of the Laramie Mountains overlooking Casper, Wyoming along the North Platte River. Casper Mountain is such in length that it's visible from Space, at the altitude that the ISS and Space Shuttle fly. At a top elevation of 8,130 feet (2,478 m), the mountain rises approximately 3,000 feet (914 m) above Casper.


Unlike many mountains in Wyoming, Casper Mountain is largely privately owned, however there are still several miles worth of canyons and hills for the adventurous backpacker.

There are many recreation opportunities on the mountain. Casper Mountain has one of very few ski areas with a parking/entry point located above the resort. It is known as Hogadon Ski Area.[1] Although small, the ski area provides the largest source of winter entertainment on the mountain. Other activities include cross country skiing and snowmobiling. A small area of the ski trails are lit at night, providing night skiing.

In the summer Casper Mountain can be a great place for camping,[2] and in the fall some hunt for deer and elk. A trail known as "The Braille Trail" offers a short scenic hike, and is meant for those who are blind, but caters to everyone.[3] The trail celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2010, and was visited by about 2,000 people.[4] The area around the trail has picnic sites, and is popular during the summer. The trail is accessible on a road near the base of Tower Hill. Along with the Braille Trail, Casper Mountain has many other miles of trails for the avid hiker. At the base of the mountain's north side, lies Garden Creek Falls. The Casper Rotary Club manages the trails around the area and in December 2010 was beginning to renovate some of them in order to make them safer for hikers. The club plans to install low intensity lighting in the parking lot, to be powered by solar panels.[5]

The mountain is also host to annual summer-solstice gathering at Crimson Dawn Ranch.[6] This event, based upon children's stories told by a local woman to her children in the 1930s and '40s, has grown into a local tradition, with hundreds of families migrating up the mountain to see actors re-enact tales of witches and warlocks. The area around the ranch is reported to be haunted by the woman.

Casper Mountain is also home to Beartrap Meadow, a large open space at the base of the road leading to the far east side of the mountain. Large parties have and continue to be held in the meadow. Beartrap Meadow also houses several campsites for picnics and relaxing.[7] Since 1994, Beartrap Meadow has been home to the popular Beartrap Summer Festival the third weekend of July which features bluegrass music and has included bands such as Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.[8]


Wildlife on the mountain includes wild grouse, white tailed deer and elk, among other species native to Wyoming. Mountain lions have also been spotted on the mountain.[9] On the west flank of the mountain, Jackson canyon, one of the largest migratory populations of bald eagles in the world take shelter during certain times of the year.


The southern side of the mountain is bordered by another mountain known as Muddy Mountain, which in itself, has many recreation opportunities.[10] Much has been discussed about Muddy Mountain's future. Although the main road on the mountain (Wyoming Highway 251) stays open year-round, the road to Muddy Mountain is usually closed during the winter, due to conditions, and the fact that a majority of Muddy Mountain is uninhabited. It remains open to snowmobiles however.[11]


All of Casper's high powered television stations originate from towers on the mountain, as do a vast majority of the area's FM radio signals.[12] A cross country ski area cuts right through an area known as Tower Hill (see pictures), where many of the towers are located. Local, State and Federal agencies - BLM, Sheriff, Fire, EMS and Casper PD - operate sites on Casper mountain providing both analog and digital support for traditional radio systems as well as the WyoLink [13] state wide trunking system. There are other commercial sites on the mountain as well, providing such services as Wireless ISP and Cell phones. Local amateur radio operators also take advantage of the mountain. One of the more heavily used amateur repeaters is operated by the Casper Amateur Radio Club - W7VNJ.[14]


Although the mountain has seen its fair share of fires, in August 2006 a large wildfire known as the Jackson Canyon Fire burned 11,496 acres (40 km²) on the western end of Casper Mountain,[15][16][17] In September 2012, the Sheep Herder Complex fire burned 15,887 acres, and consumed 37 residences and 23 outbuildings, according to InciWeb. The fire was 100 percent contained by September 16, 2012. The cause of the fire remains unknown.[18]


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