Jelm Mountain Road is in Southeast Wyoming about 40 minutes from Laramie. This trail lies on the outskirts of the beautiful Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. This road was originally created to be the home for a USFS fire tower, which was predominantly used to report fires before aircraft became the popular method. The Jelm Mountain fire tower was used in conjunction with the fire tower atop Deadman Hill, just SE of the Jelm Mountain fire tower, and together were used to report fires in and around the surrounding areas, including the Laramie Basin and Laramie River valley. In 1975, the fire tower was decommissioned and replaced with an observatory. After 2 years of construction, the WIRO (Wyoming Infrared Observatory) started making its first observations. Jelm Moutain was chosen as a site for the observatory, due to its proximity to the University of Wyoming, low-light pollution, low atmospheric moisture (which can interfere with observations), and existing power and phone service. This trail is not the most interesting trail to drive on if you are looking for a purely off-roading experience, but it provides stunning views of the area as well as a very interesting piece of equipment located at the top. You can even schedule a tour if astronomy is your passion!
It was a bit windy for the trip to the top of Jelm Mountain, but the views were stunning. Thunderstorms were forming off to the east, and this was a unique perspective to watch nature's fury. We encountered only one other vehicle on the trail. The road was dry and we had no problems reaching the observatory. This is a place where nature and science intersect.
Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well.
A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg