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Section 4: Trip Four

Moneta to Jeffery City on the Castle Garden - Ore Road

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 43.160334, -107.712270
     Ending: 42.494631, -107.825746
 

This trip begins by turning off US-20 at mile #78 just east of Moneta. As you head south on the Castle Garden Road (F-507), you pass by the Buck Camp Road (F-508) going southeast after one mile and stay on the main road southwest. Along this stretch you can see the Bighorn Mountains to the northeast, Lysite Mountain to the north, and Cooper Mountain to the northwest.

After about eight miles you hit the top of the Moneta Divide. Here the Wind River Range is to the west, the Owl Creek Mountains are northwest, and the Beaver Divide is around to the south. About four miles south of the divide you begin traveling through some shallow depressions and soap holes called the Buffalo Wallows. About one mile east of this area is the Geographic Center of Wyoming.

Fifteen miles south of Moneta is a junction. Here a side road (BLM-2107) to Castle Gardens turns east for six miles. (Take this journey! The road travels along the base of some bluffs and fractured rock. The jumbled rock figures, broken country, and twisted trees are fantastic and builds a certain amount of anticipation of what the gardens will look like. The road ends at a small parking area where you can take a hiking trail to the petroglyphs—you will not be disappointed. The raw beauty and power of this site will not soon leave you!)

Continuing south from the Castle Garden turnoff, the road follows along Muskrat Creek for about five miles and then winds around a small hill. Up here you can see the Gas Hills to the southeast. The road then drops down for one mile and hits W-136 at mile #38. Here you can turn west to Riverton and W-789 (see page 66).

Turn southeast and after passing by Sarcophagus Butte (about six miles) is a junction at mile #44. Here you can turn northeast on the Gas Hills Road and connect with either the Dry Creek Road to Waltman or the Poison Spider Road to Casper (see page 66 and page 68).

Turn southwest on the Ore Road (F-5) and the road travels through a mining area for about seven miles. Here the road swings south and you begin traveling through Muskrat Basin (below Beaver Rim, stretching from the east, around to the south, and over to the west).

On top of the divide is a small junction where you can follow along the rim for a bit on BLM-2401. Here you can see Crooks Gap to the south (Crooks Mountain is on the west side and the Green Mountains are on the east side). To the west is the top of Tin Cup Mountain and back to the north are the Bighorn Mountains and Owl Creek Mountains. If you look across Black Rock Creek to the southeast you can see the peaks of the Granite Mountains. Behind them in the distance are the Ferris Mountains. (Nice view.)

Continuing south, the road begins to drop down a bit and you can see where the creek runs through Black Rock Gap off to the southeast. Further down the road you begin traveling past the domed hills of the western edge of the Granite Mountains. Along here you get a better view of Crooks Gap, with Crooks Peak (small flat top) on the west side and Sheep Mountain (broad and rounded) on the east side. After crossing the Sweetwater River, the road goes by a small mine site and you enter Jeffery City on the Ore Road (US-287, mile #23).

The side road to Castle Garden is well worth the trip!