I have camped in this general area for over 40 years. I like to go mid-week in the fall, you pretty much have the area to yourself and have your choice of campsites.
Personally, I find having easier access to the facilities of the main campground worth $10 per night if you can find a spot. These dispersed campsites are a good free option if you can't find one though. Make sure that you camp at one of the designated spots, it is not a pick-you-spot-anywhere kind of experience: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd581855.pdf
Sites 1-4 are found shortly after the Nautilus parking lot, where you can find a single bathroom. These spots are also the closest to the trails that take you to the rock climbing routes.
Big campsites, no one close, bring water!! Completely free and loved the unique landscape!
Easy in & out but has become busier in last few years. Still nice quick getaway to some easy hiking.
Great spot. Clean. Plenty of spots. Right off the high. Right next to the state park so their amenities are available to use. Road is a little rough driving in. Beautiful views of the rock formations.
Great section of national Forest between Cheyenne and Laramie. Easy access off the interstate. Lots of atv traffic but otherwise quiet and easy to find your own spot away from 'neighbors'
Places to explore galore! You can climb, mountain bike. hike, fish, and ATV in some areas.
All of the free dispersed camping sites are along Vedauwoo Road that leads to Happy Jack Road from I-80. The exit to Vedauwoo State Park is right off I-80 and only 17 miles west of Laramie WY. The Vedauwoo Road itself was a bit wash-boarded, but freshly laid with crushed granite. There are a few spur roads that allow camping. The map in the attached photo shows the area pretty well. There are no amenities here. A rock fire ring and a numbered post will show you where camping is permitted. The camp areas are spaced very far apart. You are near the road, but no other campers. You need to pack out everything you bring in. I had a very nice time here. The next evening I did go into the established campground. Please see my ranger review for Vedauwoo Campground. (includes a review of the ICEMULE cooler seen in some photos!)
Activities in the area include: mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, horseback riding, ATV's, and fishing. Nearby, continue on Vedauwoo Road until it meets Happy Jack (paved) take a right and you will encounter Curt Gowdy State park where you can rent paddling equipment or boat and tour 2 of the lakes in the State Park. It is beautiful there and they do have a couple campgrounds on the waterfront.