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Section 4: Trip Five

Pathfinder south from W-220 to Sinclair

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 42.554568, -106.834756
     Ending: 41.784385, -107.118060
 

This trip begins by turning off W-220 at mile #81 between Muddy Gap Junction and Alcova. As you head south toward Pathfinder Reservoir on N-409, you can see Pyramid Peak in the Pedro Mountains to the south, the Ferris Mountains to the southwest, the Granite Mountains to the west, and to the northeast is Flat Top and Casper Mountain. After about four miles, a side road turns west to Bishop Point (Natrona County Park) and part of the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge.

Stay to the south and the road travels through an area of lichen covered rocks and juniper trees. The road drops down the hill past Swede Spring to a junction at an interpretive area. Here you can go down to the marina and recreation area, or you can loop back to Bishop Point (six miles).

Turn toward Alcova Dam on N-408 and the road winds down through the switchbacks where you have a nice view of the North Platte River and Pathfinder Dam. This scenic area is lined with cottonwood, willow and juniper trees and contains a variety of birdlife.

The road leaves the river after a half mile and you begin following along the edge of Fremont Canyon. At the next junction, the tunnel road turns off to the power plant. If you get out and knock around here a bit, you can hear wrens singing in the gorge and you'll probably see some marmots and rock climbers (human).

Turn south across the bridge and away from the river. The road climbs up to an overlook of Alcova Reservoir and another junction, thirteen miles from W-220. Here you can go north on N-407 (along the edge of Alcova Reservoir) and loop back to W-220 at mile #87 at Alcova.

Turn south on N-407 toward the Miracle Mile. After four miles, you cross the county line and begin traveling on C-291. The road then crosses Canyon Creek (three miles) and the pavement ends. After a few miles, the road swings southwest a bit and you can see The Chimneys and Heath Peak to the near southwest and a bit farther to the west is Pyramid Peak. Along here you can also see the Shirley Mountains to the south and the Seminoe Mountains to the southwest. A couple of miles down the road, you pass by Dome Rock Reservoir and a BLM access area on Indian Springs Creek.

About four miles from Dome Rock, the road crosses Sage Creek to a junction at Leo. Here you can take C-291 south to US-30 at Hanna or Medicine Bow. You can also take the cutoff through Shirley Basin to W-77 (see page 72 and page 73).

Turn southwest toward Seminoe Dam on C-351 for four miles to the Miracle Mile and another junction. Here you can take the road south to Kortes Dam (dead end), or you can follow the river north back to Pathfinder Reservoir and Sage Creek.

Stay west across the river and the road climbs along Hamilton Creek and through the Seminoe Mountains. (Nice drive.) The road winds around through the mountains and passes numerous rocky crags. Along here you see chokecherry, aspen, cedar, limber pine and ponderosa pine trees. It's four miles to the top of the divide and the road swings back to the southwest as you travel down Morgan Creek on the other side. After three miles a side road continues down to an overlook and Seminoe Dam.

Turn south toward the state park and you climb up a steep hill to an overlook of Seminoe Reservoir. Here you can see Elk Mountain to the south. As you leave the park, you begin traveling on pavement again and the road passes by some sand dunes (stretching east from Rock Springs). You now begin traveling toward the Haystack Mountains through the northeastern edge of the Great Divide Basin.

The road continues southwest across the arid flats for about 20 miles where then it drops down along the North Platte River. You travel through a canyon lined with fragmented boulders and rimrock (Fort Steele Breaks) for three miles to the Dugway Recreation Site. The road leaves the river and eight miles further you enter Sinclair (I-80, exit #219).