Hotel Insider: A Wyoming B&B Fit for a Cowboy

Greg Keraghosian
·Associate Travel Editor
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The rustic interior of the Log House comes with a spiral staircase. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

What I liked most about staying at Windy Hills Guest House is also what gave me the most trouble there: how remote it is. Isolated from the rest of Cheyenne, Wyo., off a desolate stretch of Happy Jack Road that leads to a lonelier dirt road, it has a sign that’s easy to miss if you’re driving in the pitch-black night, as I was. My Google Maps search had led me astray. By the time I realized I had overshot the place by several miles, I was in the neighboring town of Laramie.

So yes, you’ll want to look close and catch that sign (tip: it’s at Mile Marker 22). But the payoff once you get to Windy Hills is a Western-themed, upscale B&B surrounded by Wyoming’s expansive nature and very few people you’ll have to share it with.

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Don’t miss this sign off the freeway that leads to the B&B. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

First impressions

I usually equate bed-and-breakfasts with creaky floors, dainty wallpaper, and dated furniture. So after traversing the winding, mile-long dirt road at night and checking into the property’s Log House with its three stories, a spiral staircase, polished wood interior, and flat-screen TV, I had a hard time considering it a B&B. Also, as this place is the only sign of civilization for several miles, it was very quiet. The second impression was waking up in the morning and being able to see all that unspoiled nature outside – the delayed gratification is worth it.

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The back porch of the Log House comes with a dinner triangle. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

Background

If you’re staying at Windy Hills, you’ll be sure to meet Cookie, who owns and runs the place, from taking reservations to making breakfast. Cookie (like Prince, she only goes by one name) was making a career in the oil and gas business in Denver until she and her husband bought the 67-acre property 23 years ago, quit their jobs, moved to Cheyenne, and began by opening the Guest House for visitors. “I wore a suit every day,” Cookie said of her past life. “It was just one of those things where you went with it and it started building, and we added this and that.”

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Windy Hills, which is at an altitude of 7,400 feet, closes for the winter and reopens whenever the snow thaws. Its busiest months are July through September.

A view of Granite Lake. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

The accommodations

There are 14 total rooms at Windy Hills spread out among six “houses,” with different terms and price points for each. For instance, the Main House incudes shared public spaces that can be made private for a larger group. The Log House, which can sleep up to six people, is usually only available for a minimum one-week stay. Families are a major part of the clientele at Windy Hills, so there’s a lot of flexibility for booking larger groups: for instance you can open up the Studio House to connect with the Main House. (See more details here about rooms and rates.) Despite the remote location, there is Wi-Fi here, and it worked well for me.

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There’s a clear dome above the bed in the Spa House. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

The vibe

The rooms throughout Windy Hills were remodeled four years ago, and from the kitchenette to the bathrooms, it shows. This is complemented by rustic frontier touches – a fishing pole in one room, a buffalo pillow on the bed, a tribal rug on the wall, a dinner triangle on the back porch, etc. There’s a quiet, tranquil feel throughout the property, from the manmade creek outside the Main House to the unobstructed views of nearby Granite Lake reservoir and the surrounding, undeveloped land owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

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One of the bedrooms. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

The activities

The best amenity here has to be Curt Gowdy State Park, just two miles away. I’ve already written about mountain-biking there, and on many days you’ll feel like you have the park to yourself. You can also go fishing for rainbow trout and lake trout in Granite Lake (there’s no swimming, however). Stay in the Spa House, with its transparent dome over the bed, and you’ll have access to your own hot tub, as well.

My breakfast: the first egg blossom I’ve ever had. (Photo: Greg Keraghosian)

The food

As for the “breakfast” half of this bed and breakfast, I was impressed. Cookie personally delivered her handiwork both mornings: the first breakfast was an egg blossom on toast with pumpkin bread and fruit, and the second was an equally tasty meal of blueberry French toast, sausage, raisin bread, and fruit. Cookie says she’ll make lunch for guests on request, too.

What you might not love

With the benefits of staying in a secluded, natural setting, there are tradeoffs. During my stay, there were flies in the house – lots of flies – and it was impossible to keep them out. Also, if you want to get into Cheyenne proper and see the city, it’s almost a half-hour drive away. But city living isn’t why you’re staying here, right? Suggestion: Rather than going all the way to the city for dinner, take Happy Jack Road to Bunkhouse Bar & Grill, a legit cowboy steak-and-beer joint if ever there was one.

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