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Section 2: Trip Four

Douglas southeast to Wheatland on the Esterbrook Road

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 42.755154, -105.408630
     Ending: 42.060431, -105.040585
 

This trip begins by taking W-94 from Douglas (I-25 exit #140) and going south under I-25 to a junction. Here W-91 goes west to the Cold Springs Road (see page 32). Turn south on W-94 and at mile #1 you pass by the Chalk Buttes Road (C-9) going west back to W-91 and Douglas.

As the road follows along the North Platte River, you pass by C-2 going back to Douglas. Here you can see the top of Laramie Peak to the south and to the west is Sheep Mountain. At mile #4 the Bed Tick Road (C-8) turns west toward Sheep Mountain and at mile #7 the Wagonhound Road (C-3) turns west. (If you take this road it will connect with the Poison Lake Road and then rejoin W-94 at mile #10.)

The road now climbs Warm Springs Hill and leaves the river. After crossing Wagonhound Creek (mile #9) and passing the Poison Lake Road, you can see Eagle Peak to the west of Laramie Peak. At mile #15 you cross West Fork LaBonte Creek and at mile #17 W-94 ends at a junction. Here you can take the Brae Road (C-7) to the southwest. On this road you can loop back over to Esterbrook, or you can continue south past Eagle Peak to Garrett and Rock River (see page 30 and page 36).

Turn southeast on the Esterbrook Road (C-5). The road crosses LaBonte Creek and then climbs up for the next two miles. You then drop down a bit to Mill Creek and the Bruner Cutoff Road (going west to the Brae Road). Here you can see Slick Rock to the southwest (exposed granite on the side on the mountain) and Baldy Peak on top.

As you continue south, the road crosses Mill Creek and passes below Elk Mountain. Here you see willow, cottonwood, boxelder, pine, and a few aspen trees. The road crosses the creek a couple of times and then climbs up Mill Hill to a junction on top of Prairie Dog Hill. Here the Glendo Road (C-6) goes east to Glendo and I-25 at exit #111 (see page 29).

Continue south for two more miles to the next junction at Ullman Park. Here you can see Windy Peak to the southwest, Squaw Peak is in the foreground between Eagle Peak and Laramie Peak, and Rock Mountain is to the south. At this junction, C-5 turns west toward Sawtooth Mountain. On this road you can hit the Brae Road going back to Douglas, or you can continue southwest past Laramie Peak to Rock River.

Stay to the south and as you drop down the hill to Esterbrook, the road turns to the east. The road then passes through a stand of lodgepole pine and goes by the Esterbrook Campground (three miles). Here you leave the forest and drop down a few switchbacks to a junction at Three Cripples Creek. At this junction you can go east along Horseshoe Creek to Glendo (see page 29).

Turn south across the creek and you begin following Horseshoe Creek. (Nice drive through here.) After about two miles, the road crosses the creek and climbs up some steep switchbacks to Memorial Overlook. The road then passes below Rock Mountain and crosses Soldier Creek to Harris Park (three miles). After traveling through the park for one mile, you come to a junction. Here you can see Harmon Height to the southeast, Elliot Point to the south, and Black Mountain to the southwest a bit. At this junction, you can take the Harris Park Road east to I-25 (exit #94), between Glendo and Wheatland.

Stay south toward Cottonwood Park (10 miles). After crossing Fall Creek (one mile), you begin following Cottonwood Creek to the crossing at Hubbard's Cupboard. The road then follows the creek between Albany Peak (on the east) and the Haystack Peaks (on the west, below Laramie Peak).

After crossing the creek again, the road travels through Cottonwood Park to a junction. Here you can see the Haystacks to the north and behind them is Black Mountain. To the west is Bear Head Mountain, northwest is Laramie Peak, and to the south is Britania Mountain. At this junction, the Cottonwood Park Road (A-71) continues south where you can hit the Palmer Canyon Road going to Wheatland or Rock River (see page 36).

Turn east on the Fletcher Park Road (A-716). The road gradually climbs up through the forest for about three miles and then drops down a bit to Fletcher Park. You continue to drop down through the forest for three more miles and then down through the open country. Six miles from Fletcher Park, you come to another junction. Here you can take the Fish Creek Road northeast for five miles to another junction. There you can either loop back to Harris Park, or you can turn east to I-25 at exit #94.

Continue southeast on the Fletcher Park Road and you pass between Sheep Mountain on the southwest and Johnson Mountain on the northeast. The road continues southeast around Sheep Mountain and travels through a small basin. You then follow along a sandy wash and cross the North Laramie River.

Two miles after crossing the river you hit pavement. The road then crosses the Dry Laramie River and follows it for a few miles to the Laramie River. After crossing the Laramie River, the road climbs up a small bench and you join W-311 (Hightower Road). Continue south on W-311 for three miles to a junction with W-310. Turn east for four miles to 16th Street in Wheatland. Here you can turn north for one mile to I-25 at exit #80, or you can turn south for one mile to exit #78.

One of the things the Laramie Range is noted for is its stark contrast between the earth and sky.