Only a few "old timers" can remember when Glendo Lake didn't dominate the landscape north and east of the community of Glendo. Constructed between 1954 and 1958, the dam and power plant are an important part of the economy of this northernmost town in Platte County.
The lake is one of southeast Wyoming's largest lakes, and certainly one of the most popular lakes in Wyoming. The lake itself is over 12,000 acres in size, and the state park boundary encompasses an area almost twice that size.
Built initially for flood control, irrigation, and generation of electricity, today the lake is viewed by many as one large summer playground. From Memorial Day in May to Labor Day weekend in September the population of the Glendo area increases by thousands as boaters, fishermen, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts pull off Interstate 25 at exit 111 on their way to "the lake."
The enterprising residents of Glendo have worked hard to provide the services needed by these weekend tourists. Several restaurants, a service station, a motel, several trailer parks, and boat storage units make up most of the business district of Glendo, which stretches from the exit east to within shouting distance of the park's west entrance.
The history of Glendo, however, reaches much farther back than the construction of the lake. In fact, Glendo's history goes back at least to the establishment of the Horseshoe Stage Station and the construction of the telegraph station along the Overland Stage Express near the present day town of Glendo. These were exciting times in what would later become southeast Wyoming.
There is evidence of activity in the area long before the first white settlers came through the area along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trail. One such site where prehistoric man left his mark is what is incorrectly called the "Spanish Diggings," a four hundred square mile area where early native peoples, not Spaniards, developed quarries where they mined raw materials for tools and weapons. This area has been called an "archaeologist's paradise," and ancient artifacts found here can be found in museums around the country.
Speaking of museums, the Glendo Historical Museum, founded in 1956 contains many artifacts found in the area as well as early pioneer and World War II collections. Photographs taken of the dam and lake from its earliest days are also on display.
Late spring, summer, and autumn are certainly the best times to visit the Glendo area, and if you have a couple of spare days, a visit to the Esterbrook and Laramie Peak area west of Glendo would certainly be worth your time. This area, located between 7,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level, offers unmatched rugged mountain scenery, fresh air and uncrowded campgrounds most of the tourist season. Campgrounds here are basic, so come prepared.
If you're up for it, the Laramie Peak Trail will take you to the very top of this 10,272 ft. mountain. The trail is about five miles each way and is moderately difficult. No climbing experience is needed as the trail was originally designed for ATV's to carry men and supplies to the towers at the summit. It's a certainty that after a few days in our mountains you will leave fully refreshed and invigorated.