Discover the Most Beautiful College Campus in Wyoming

Written by Clemence-Maureen Feniou
Updated: October 8, 2023
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The University of Wyoming, often called UW, is one of Wyoming’s most breathtaking college campuses. Nestled in the heart of Laramie, UW’s campus is a harmonious blend of architecture and natural beauty.

With its stunning mountainous backdrop and wide-open spaces, UW offers its students and visitors a stunning environment. We will delve into the unique features that make UW’s campus a true gem in Wyoming, from its scenic landscapes to its vibrant academic community.

What Is the Most Beautiful College Campus in Wyoming?

view from the side of old main building, University of Wyoming

The United States admitted Wyoming as the 44th state three years after UW opened.

©ProgWork1 / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Wyoming’s most beautiful college campus is the University of Wyoming (UW). According to a 2017 ranking, UW is the most beautiful campus in Wyoming. 

Located in Laramie, the University of Wyoming was founded in 1886 and opened in 1887. It is known for its academic excellence, athletics, and top-ranked research opportunities. It was last ranked as the 278th best college in Forbes’ 2023 “America’s Top Colleges List.”

Here are some other facts to know about the University of Wyoming.

  • In fall 2022, there were 8,518 undergraduates and 2,442 graduates.
  •  The school has an acceptance rate of 97% but a graduation rate of only 59%.
  •  The school colors are brown and gold.
  •  UW has two mascots. One is Pistol Pete, which is shared and disputed with Oklahoma State University. The other is a fifth-generation mascot, Cowboy Joe V, an adorable pony.
  •  The nicknames for students and athletics teams are “Cowboys” and “Cowgirls.” It takes this name after an old story. In 1891, the Wyoming pick-up football team asked a 220-pound cowpuncher, Fred Bush, to help in a game against the Cheyenne Soldiers.
  •  UW won three national championships: men’s basketball in 1943, skiing in 1968, and co-ed skiing in 1985.
  •  The university’s notable alums include Josh Allen, Dick Cheney, and more.
  •  UW boasts a rich tradition of campus rituals. The mascot, Cowboy Joe V, runs around War Memorial Stadium after each touchdown.

Why Is UW the Most Beautiful College Campus in Wyoming?

outside view of the old main building, UW

“Old Main” was built in 1887, the same year the university opened.

©Thecoldmidwest / CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

There are various reasons why the University of Wyoming is the most beautiful college campus in the Equality State.

Architecture

A critical factor contributing to the University of Wyoming’s status as the most beautiful college campus in Wyoming is its remarkable architecture. The blend of historic and modern architectural styles creates a visually stunning campus between tradition and innovation. The campus architecture centerpiece is “Old Main,” a historic building built in 1887 that symbolizes the university’s heritage. With its elegant Victorian-style design and iconic clock tower, Old Main provides a sense of timeless beauty that captures the essence of academia.

In addition to Old Main, the campus boasts several other architecturally significant buildings. The College of Arts and Sciences Building, with its contemporary design and large glass windows, offers a striking contrast to the historic structures while still harmonizing with the overall aesthetic. The American Heritage Center is another gem, featuring a modern glass façade that reflects the surrounding landscape.

Outdoors

During the fall, the campus boasts vibrant colors as the deciduous trees burst into red, orange, and gold shades. A blanket of pristine snow covers the landscape in the winter, turning the campus into a winter wonderland. 

The exteriors of the University of Wyoming’s campus are a testament to the state’s natural beauty. The campus is set against a backdrop of the stunning Snowy Range Mountains, which provide an incredible view. On campus, there are many grass fields where students can relax or study while basking in the views.

Moreover, the university’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its landscaping. The university maintains lush green lawns and gardens thanks to native plants and sustainable practices. These enhance the campus’s beauty and also contribute to its ecological harmony.

The University of Wyoming’s campus stands out as the most beautiful in the state due to its captivating architecture that blends history with modernity and its exterior surroundings that showcase the natural splendor of Wyoming’s landscapes. UW’s campus is a testament to the harmonious coexistence of education and natural beauty.

Where Is the University of Wyoming?

Welcome to Laramie Sign

Early settlers built Laramie in the mid-19th century along the Union Pacific Railroad line.

©pabradyphoto/iStock via Getty Images

UW is situated in the charming city of Laramie, in the southeastern part of Wyoming. The city is Wyoming’s educational hub and also one of the best locations for a college campus in the country. 

The Snowy Range Mountains surround Laramie and are a stunning backdrop to the city and the university. These mountains offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, skiing, and mountain biking, making them a playground for adventure enthusiasts and those seeking solace in nature. As a college town, Laramie was ranked 68th best overall in 2020.

Laramie is a vibrant and welcoming community that thrives on the synergy between town and gown. The city’s historic downtown area is a charming mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions, creating a lively atmosphere for students and residents. The blend of academia and a tight-knit community fosters a sense of belonging and makes Laramie an ideal setting for students to pursue their academic goals.

Moreover, Laramie’s location in the heart of the American West provides unique opportunities for research and education, particularly in fields related to agriculture, energy, and the environment. The vast landscapes and open spaces surrounding the city offer an inspiring backdrop for scientific exploration and hands-on learning, aligning perfectly with UW’s mission to provide a world-class education deeply rooted in its Western heritage.

UW’s location in Laramie, Wyoming, is more than just a geographic setting; it’s an integral part of the university experience. The city’s natural beauty, community spirit, and proximity to the wonders of the American West make it an exceptional place for students to learn, grow, and appreciate the world around them.

Where Is the University of Wyoming Located on the Map?

UW is located in the southeast of Wyoming, 50 miles northwest of the state capital, Cheyenne. It is 21 miles (34 kilometers) north of Colorado and 80 miles (129 kilometers) west of Nebraska

UW’s History

long horn cattle wandering in herd near Shell, Wyoming all different colours heading up a dirt road free roaming no no fences background for drought, agriculture, beef farming, business horizontal f

UW started with agricultural and ranching programs. These still exist today.

©Shawn Hamilton/Shutterstock.com

The history of the University of Wyoming (UW) is a story of resilience, growth, and a commitment to higher education in the heart of the American West. Founded in 1886, UW is Wyoming’s flagship public university and has played a pivotal role in shaping the educational landscape of the state and the region.

UW’s origins go back to the Morrill Act of 1862, which provided land-grant institutions across the United States with federal land to establish colleges focused on agriculture and the mechanical arts. This act laid the foundation for the creation of UW, which was initially known as the University of Wyoming Agricultural College. In its early years, the university focused on agricultural education, reflecting the importance of farming and ranching in the Wyoming economy.

One of the most significant events in UW’s history occurred in 1887 when it admitted its first class of students, consisting of 42 young men and women. This marked an important milestone, as UW became the first institution of higher education in the Wyoming Territory. The university then expanded its academic offerings and evolved into an institution with various disciplines and programs.

Throughout its history, UW has faced challenges, including financial hardships and periods of enrollment decline. However, the university’s commitment to academic excellence and its faculty, staff, and students’ perseverance have helped overcome these obstacles. UW also became a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) in 1987, a testament to its commitment to research and scholarship.

Today, the University of Wyoming continues to thrive as a leading institution of higher learning in the West. It offers diverse academic programs, conducts groundbreaking research, and is a hub for intellectual and cultural activities.

What to Do in Laramie

Aerial View of Downtown Laramie, Wyoming in Summer

Laramie is the third-most populous city in Wyoming after Cheyenne and Casper.

©Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock.com

Often called the “Gem City of the Plains,” Laramie offers diverse activities for visitors. One of the city’s main attractions is the University of Wyoming, which annually hosts cultural events, lectures, and sports games. Don’t miss out on their football games at the War Memorial Stadium!

Exploring the historic downtown area is a must, with its charming shops, restaurants, and vibrant arts scene. The Laramie Mural Project showcases local art on buildings throughout the downtown area. If you are more interested in history, the Plains Museum offers a glimpse into Laramie’s history, from its early days as a railroad town to its present. The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site provides a fascinating glimpse into the Old West. It features historic buildings and intriguing stories of its former inmates.

Annually, Laramie hosts various annual events. These include the Jubilee Days rodeo and parade, the Laramie Brewfest, and the Laramie Farmer’s Market.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Laramie is a gateway to numerous recreational opportunities. Hiking and biking trails in the nearby Medicine Bow National Forest offer stunning views of the Snowy Range Mountains. In the winter, the area becomes a haven for skiing and snowboarding with popular destinations like Snowy Range Ski Area.

Additionally, Laramie is famous for its fly-fishing in the Laramie River. The area is also perfect for a stroll, birdwatching, or a peaceful afternoon picnic. It’s an excellent spot for wildlife viewing as well.

A short drive from Laramie, Vedauwoo is a rock climber’s paradise. Not a climber? You can also hike, picnic, or enjoy the breathtaking views.

What to Do in Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park is almost entirely in Wyoming. 3% of the park to the north is in Montana, and 1% to the west is in Idaho.

©Lillac/Shutterstock.com

Beyond Laramie, Wyoming offers various activities that showcase its rugged beauty and unique cultural heritage.

Yellowstone National Park

The state is home to Yellowstone National Park, America’s first national park, renowned for its geothermal wonders like Old Faithful and abundant wildlife, including bison and grizzly bears.

The park, one of the crown jewels of the American national park system, is a must-visit destination in Wyoming. This sprawling wilderness reserve is renowned for its geothermal wonders, including the iconic Old Faithful geyser that erupts regularly, shooting water high into the sky. Visitors can explore various geysers, hot springs, and colorful thermal pools.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be in heaven, as Yellowstone is home to diverse species such as bison, elk, grizzly bears, and wolves. Watching these animals roam freely in their natural habitat is a truly captivating experience. Hiking trails, such as the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Lamar Valley, offer opportunities to immerse oneself in the park’s breathtaking scenery.

Grand Teton National Park

If you are taking the time to visit Wyoming, then head out to Grand Teton National Park.

Adjacent to Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is another Wyoming gem visitors shouldn’t miss. Towering granite peaks, including the iconic Grand Teton, showcase some of the most stunning mountain scenery in the United States. The park also offers various outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain climbing, and kayaking on alpine lakes.

Grand Teton National Park is also an ideal park for photography enthusiasts. During sunrises and sunsets, the mountains bask in a warm, golden light, offering stunning photo opportunities. The Snake River, meandering through the park, has excellent water activities. It is also a great spot for wildlife viewing, including moose and bald eagles.

Other Activities in Wyoming

Interested in the cowboy spirit? Cheyenne Frontier Days is a must-visit rodeo and Western festival celebrating Wyoming’s cowboy heritage with bull riding, parades, and live entertainment.

Wyoming also offers excellent wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities, with the chance to spot rare species like the sage grouse and pronghorn antelope in their natural habitats.

The state’s rich history comes to life at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, which houses five museums dedicated to the American West, art, and Plains Indian culture. Meanwhile, the Devil’s Tower National Monument is an iconic geological wonder known for its unique columnar basalt formation, attracting rock climbers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re exploring Laramie’s cultural offerings or venturing into the wilds of Wyoming, the state offers a diverse range of activities that cater to a wide array of interests and provide a deep appreciation for its natural beauty and Western heritage.

Wildlife Around UW’s Campus

Mule Deer buck environmental portrait with the Rocky Mountain foothills in the background

The mule deer is indigenous to western North America.

©Tom Reichner/Shutterstock.com

The University of Wyoming’s campus, nestled in the heart of Laramie, offers a unique opportunity for students and visitors to connect with Wyoming’s diverse wildlife. The sprawling campus, with its blend of open spaces and natural surroundings, serves as a habitat for various wildlife species, making it a living testament to the state’s rich ecological heritage.

One of the most common and cherished wildlife encounters at UW involves the presence of mule deer. These creatures can often be spotted grazing on the campus’s open grassy areas, especially during the early morning or late evening hours. Their presence adds a touch of natural beauty to the campus environment and reminds visitors that they share this space with the local wildlife.

The campus is also home to various bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Whether it’s the sight of red-tailed hawks soaring overhead, the sweet melodies of songbirds in the trees, or the comical antics of ground-dwelling birds like magpies and crows, bird enthusiasts can enjoy observing a rich avian diversity right on campus.

The nearby Laramie River, which runs adjacent to the university, attracts various aquatic wildlife. Students and nature enthusiasts often catch glimpses of waterfowl like mallards and Canada geese paddling along the river’s edge. The river and surrounding vegetation also provide habitat for smaller mammals, including muskrats and beavers. They can occasionally be spotted during peaceful walks along its banks.

The University of Wyoming’s campus offers a unique opportunity for visitors and students to observe their local wildlife. From mule deer to a diverse array of birds and aquatic life, UW’s campus serves as a living testament to the rich biodiversity of Wyoming.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © aceshot1/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Clémence-Maureen is a writer at A-Z animals primarily covering geography, locations and travel. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from the University of Southern California, which she earned in 2023. A resident of Hawai'i, Clémence-Maureen enjoys hiking, surfind and volunteering in taro farms.

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