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Section 10: Trip Seven

The Paint Rock Road from Ten Sleep to US-14


Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

Beginning: 44.032520, -107.460563
     Ending: 44.568943, -107.535212

This trip begins by turning off US-16 at mile #26, just west of Ten Sleep. The Nowood River Road (W-47) heads northwest along the river and below the Bighorn Mountains. After five miles, you cross the river and begin following Blue Ridge off to the west. Three miles further is a junction. Here you can continue along the river on the pavement to W-31 and US-20 at Manderson.

Turn north up the hill on the dirt road (W-83) to Hyattville. After about one mile is a small junction where W-54 loops southeast back to Ten Sleep. Turn north on W-54 and the road crosses Buffalo Creek and follows it into the Renner Wildlife Unit. After three miles is a junction at the county line in Buffalo Flat. Here you can turn northeast through Ziesman Canyon and join the road to Meadowlark Lake (see page 144).

Continue up the hill to the north and past Cedar Mountain (off to the east). After leaving the wildlife unit, the road travels through the basin to a junction (four miles). Here you can turn east to Meadowlark Lake.

Continue north on BH-R49 and you cross Paint Rock Creek and join W-31 in Hyattville. The road crosses Medicine Lodge Creek, and after one mile you come to a junction. Here you can continue on W-31 to Manderson and US-20.

Turn north on the Alkali/Cold Springs Road to the next junction in a half mile. Here you can take the Cold Springs Road to the Medicine Lodge Archeological State Park (nice place) or the Bighorn National Forest.

Stay north on the Red Gulch / Alkali Creek Road. Along this stretch you can see Paint Rock Canyon to the east and to the northeast is Medicine Lodge Creek Canyon (between Black Butte and Bear Mountain). The road snakes around along Alkali Creek and you pass buttes, bluffs, and painted badlands.

After about eight miles, the road swings around to the east and begins climbing up the foothills on a long, steep grade. Here the road loops around some terrific canyon country. You continue to climb up a ridge for about four miles where you begin passing cedar trees. The road then travels along the top and you can see the Absaroka Mountains to the far west.

Fifteen miles from W-31 is a junction. Here you can take the Red Gulch Road northwest for 20 miles to US-14. That road drops down and swings past a red topped dome after a couple of miles. There it continues a gradual decent down the long, open slope of the foothills for another 10 miles where it makes a short climb over a red bluff. That road then makes a steeper decent along a ridge to the Red Gulch Dinosaur Track Site (15 miles from the Alkali Creek Road). Along that stretch you can see the undulating Potato Ridge off to the southwest. That road then drops past lavender and pink badlands for another five miles to US-14 at mile #10.

Stay northeast on the Alkali Creek Road and you begin passing limber pine and a few aspen trees. Further up the mountain you begin seeing lodgepole pine. After six miles you enter the national forest to a junction. Here NF-17 turns south past Spanish Point to Paint Rock Lake and three campgrounds.

Turn north on N-17 and you drop down past spruce and lodgepole pine to South Trapper Creek. You then cross North Trapper Creek, Johnny Creek, and Jack Creek. The road then climbs up to a junction and trailhead on a small saddle. Here you can turn east to Shell Lake.

Continue northwest up Crooked Creek Hill. The road then drops down a bit and after about four miles you go through Snowshoe Pass. Here a small road goes up the mountain to the northwest.

Continue north, down the mountain, to Shell Creek and the ranger station (three miles). You then pass by the Shell Creek Campground and the Cabin Creek Picnic Area where you hit US-14 at mile #31.

Damon looking for a good place to land.