Discover the tranquility of wandering alone through ponderosa forests and around rocky peaks. If you’re after wide open skies, head a few miles west to the Thunder Basin National Grassland, where more than a half-million acres of prairie are home to dozens of distinctive North American mammals and birds. Hike, fish, hunt, camp… or just breathe the clear Wyoming air.
A 3.5 mile-long trail located about 22 miles northwest of Newcastle, the Mallo Trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and hunters. Although it’s relatively short, the trail passes through a range of distinct ecosystems, from thick forest and scrub to bare rock and open grassland. These ecological areas are home to a diversity of wildlife, including deer, elk, wild turkey, grouse, mountain lions, and coyotes.
Just two miles north of Newcastle off U.S. 85, the Serenity Trail is a short and relatively easy 3.5-mile loop that passes through ponderosa forest and over weathered limestone rock formations. There are some scenic views west over the foothills and the Thunder Basin. Open to hikers and mountain bikers, it’s also popular with trail runners.
Flying V Trail
This series of connected trails starts about eight miles north of Newcastle off U.S. 85, just above the historic Flying V Lodge. The mix of single-track, two-track, and skid trails is currently about nine miles long, but it’s continually expanding thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers. Popular with mountain bikers, the trail system is also open to hikers. It criss-crosses a 500-acre area of thickly-forested hillsides around the ghost town of Cambria, a company coal mining town that boomed between 1890 and 1928.
Thunder Basin National Grassland
Covering most of eastern Weston County, Thunder Basin National Grassland is a massive prairie habitat that spans 547,499 acres. Open to hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping, the terrain supports a rich ecosystem that’s home to pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, and more than 100 species of birds. The grassland is divided into several distinct areas, each with different opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploring. The town of Upton is completely surrounded by the Thunder Basin National Grassland, and the borders are only a few miles west of Newcastle along Hwy. 450.