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Section 12: Trip Two

The Hat Creek Breaks Road from Van Tassell northwest to Hat Creek


Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

Beginning: 42.664440, -104.090582
     Ending: 42.939524, -104.369250

This trip begins by turning north off US-20 (mile #61) at Van Tassell. Here you can see Rawhide Butte to the west. The North Van Tassell Road travels by some small buttes and bluffs and after about five miles you pass Steamboat Rock (off to the west a bit). You then follow above Van Tassell Creek and travel across the rolling prairie for six miles to the crossing on Van Tassell Creek. The road turns west for one mile and then north one mile to Kirtley Junction, thirteen miles from US-20. Here you can turn west for 15 miles to US-85 mile #155 north of Lusk.

Continue north and after about two miles, you drop down through the Hat Creek Breaks. (Nice drive.) As you pass through this beautiful area of ponderosa pine trees and ravines, you can see the Sherrill Hills to the northeast, Table Mountain to the north, and Swanski Rock to the west. About one mile north of the breaks is S Bar Junction. Here you can take the Hat Creek Road (Colosseum Road) northeast across S Bar Creek, and then turn east below the rim. On this road you can go to Harrison, Nebraska, or you can loop back to the Indian Creek Road and the Hat Creek Road.

Turn northwest across Fitzsimmons Creek and the Hat Creek Road swings west past Swanski Rock (off to the south). After about four miles, you cross Plum Creek (A beautiful little spot.) and the road turns north. One mile further, you come to a junction 22 miles from US-20. Here the Indian Creek Road continues north (toward Shepherds Point and Table Mountain) and then southeast to Harrison, Nebraska.

Turn west and you cross Indian Creek after about three miles. Three miles further is another junction. Here the Thompson Road turns northeast to the Indian Creek Road.

Stay west for two more miles and you cross Spring Creek and Sage Creek to the last junction. Here the Stage Road turns south for one mile to the Old Fort Hat Creek Site (a private ranch now) and then continues south to the Kirtley Road. Stay to the west and in two miles you hit US-85 at mile #163.

One of the many advantages to traveling back roads is the opportunity to meet interesting people. Here Raymond, Lynard, Floyd, and Fred take a break after running me through the small town gambit.