Section 10: Trip Five

The Red Grade Road from Big Horn to Burgess Junction

 

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Beginning: 44.682768, -106.999664
     Ending: 44.703448, -107.497874
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This trip begins by turning off I-90 at exit #33 and heading toward Big Horn. You travel west for one mile on W-342 and then north for five miles to W-335. Here you turn southwest for three miles to Big Horn. As you leave town and head west toward the Bighorn Mountains, you can see Little Goose Canyon and Little Goose Peak to the southwest. To the northwest a bit is She Bear Mountain and Walker Mountain.

At mile #9 W-335 ends and you begin the steep climb up Red Grade on S-26. Along this stretch of the road you see limber pine, ponderosa pine, aspen, and fir trees. You also have a good view of the basin to the east. (You can almost see Dorothy and Toto from up here.) The major climb is over about three miles from the end of the pavement. Here you can see Little Goose Peak to the near south above Tepee Creek and to the far south is Black Tooth Mountain in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area.

You then enter the national forest and begin traveling through Poverty Flats on NF-26. The road goes by a trailhead to Black Tooth Mountain and you should pass by a terrible road (NF-314, 4WD) going south to Little Goose Campground.

The road continues along the open top and then drops down a bit to NF-238 going north to Rapid Creek. The road continues to climb up Swamp Creek Hill and then drops down across Rapid Creek. (Nice area.) Here the road climbs up a bit past a small cascade and to a trailhead to Willow Creek and Penrose Park. The road continues along through a small park and over a hill to a junction. Here you can take NF-293 south to Park Reservoir and a trail to Geneva Pass.

Continue west past the East Fork Campground and across East Fork Big Goose Creek. Here you can see Spear Mountain to the south and Eagle Peak to the southwest. You pass by the Big Goose Ranger Station and the Ranger Creek Campground and begin following along Ranger Creek toward Dome Peak. After about three miles, the road begins to climb up a bit and you pass by Duck Pond. (Cute!) Just around the bend you cross West Fork Big Goose Creek to the Twin Lakes Picnic Area and a trail to Sawmill Lakes.

After leaving the picnic area, the road passes by an overlook of Sawmill Lakes and the Bighorn Mountains to the north. About five miles further you go through Sawmill Pass. Here Dome Peak is to the south and Bruce Mountain is to the west.

The road travels along the East Fork Tongue River and through a long park to a road (NF-226) going south to Woodchuck Pass. (Watch for moose in this area.) The road now meanders around to the north and continues along the river. (Nice drive.) After about six miles, you cross the South Fork Tongue River (just below the confluence of the east and west forks) to the Dead Swede Campground.

After leaving Dead Swede, the road passes through an area where a tornado blow down occurred (June 25, 1991) and continues north for two miles to the Tie Flume Campground. The road now turns west for three miles to US-14 at mile #43. Here you can go north to Burgess Junction, or southwest through Shell Canyon to Greybull.

Part of the 1991 tornado blow down south of Burgess Junction.