Section 5: Trip Three

The Great Divide Basin Road from W-287 to Rock Springs

 

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Beginning: 41.976504, -107.356699
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This trip begins by turning off US-287 at mile #15 at the base of Willow Hill. As the road heads west across Separation Flats, you can see the Seminoe Mountains to the east, the Ferris Mountains to the northeast, and to the northwest are the Green Mountains. The first series of hogback ridges you pass is Separation Rim. As you continue west and climb up a small divide (southern end of Bull Springs Rim), you can see the Mahoney Lakes and Mud Flat Lakes off to the south. These lakes are located in a large depression and dust devils are frequently seen in this area.

About 26 miles from US-287 is a junction with the Sooner Road (BLM-3215). On this road you can travel north to the Crooks Gap Road going to US-287 at Jeffery City, or you can loop back to US-287 at Bairoil. If you turn south on the Sooner Road, it crosses the Chain Lake Flats and joins the Riner Road going to I-80 at exit #196.

Continue west on S-63 for four miles and the pavement ends near a mine site. From this point you can just barely see Steamboat Mountain to the west. Oregon Buttes are north of Steamboat and a bit further north is Continental Peak. To the northwest are the Wind River Mountains near South Pass.

Two miles from the end of the pavement is a junction. Here the Riner Road (BLM-3203) cuts sharply to the southeast. This road travels past the Chain Lakes to a junction at Mud Springs (15 miles). There you can turn northeast to US-287, or you can continue south through Buck Draw, climb over Windy Ridge, and then travel through Creston Draw to I-80 at exit #196 (32 total miles).

Continue west for two miles to another junction. Here you can take the Crooks Gap Road north to Jeffery City and W-287 (or after about 15 miles, you can take the side road back to Bairoil, see page 78).

Turn south on S-23 and after three miles you pass by Circle Bar Lake (off to the east). A few miles further south, you go by the Government Reservoir Road (BLM-3237, looping over to the Luman Road) and you then pass Coal Butte. Six miles from Coal Butte is a junction on the Siberia Ridge. Here you can continue south for 15 miles to Wamsutter and I-80.

Turn west on S-20 and follow the Luman Road along the Siberia Ridge. Along this stretch you can now see North and South Table Mountain to the west (just south of Steamboat Mountain). To the southwest is Black Butte and to the south is Delaney Rim. After eight miles you come to the next junction. Here you can turn south on the Red Desert Road (BLM #3207) for one mile to a small junction. There you can continue south (not southwest) for 20 miles to I-80 (exit #165) at Red Desert.

Back at the main junction, continue west toward Continental Peak and you have a good view of Lost Creek Basin. The road travels across the greasewood flats and past alkali deposits for five miles to the Lost Lake Road (BLM-3208) heading north. Five miles past the Lost Lake Road is a tricky area and unmarked junction. Here S-67 turns south to I-80 (exit #158) near Tipton. Continue west for one mile to the next junction. Here S-67 turns sharply north toward Hay Reservoir ( and connects with BLM-3219, see page 78) and a small OFR turns south towards the road going to Tipton.

Continue on S-20 and take the road going straight west and toward Steamboat. The road follows along a low vegetated dune on the north and open flatland on the south. After about six miles of wondering if you are on the right road, you pass by Chalk Butte off to the south. Steamboat is still ahead of you to the west. Three miles past Chalk Butte you can breathe easy again when you hit S-21 (a much better road). At this junction, you can go north to Oregon Buttes and W-28 (see page 83).

Turn south on S-21 for four miles to another junction. Here you can continue south on S-21 to I-80 (exit #152) at Table Rock.

Stay west toward Steamboat on the Twelve-mile Well Road (S-82). After about seven miles is a small junction. Here you can take S-19 south 16 miles to I-80 (exit #142).

Continue west on S-19 and during the next eight miles you have a nice view of the Wind River Mountains (looking north across Black Rock Flats). At the next junction you can turn north on S-15 toward the Bar X Ranch. On this route you come to another junction in six miles. There you can turn northwest and hit the Steamboat Road (S-83) going to Farson. Also at that junction, you can travel northeast to the Bar X Ranch where you have the option of looping southeast back to the Great Divide Basin Road, or turning north to Oregon Buttes and W-28 (see page 82 and page 83).

Back at the main junction on the Great Basin Road, stay to the west on S-15 and head toward Black Rock and Spring Butte. A couple of miles after passing Black Rock is another junction. Here you can turn south on S-15 to the Jim Bridger Power Plant and I-80 (exit #130) at Point of Rocks (see page 82).

Turn northwest on S-17 for seven miles to the next junction. Here you can take the Steamboat Road (S-83) north to W-28 near Farson.

Continue west on S-17 and the road passes between Steamboat Mountain on the north and the two Table Mountains on the south. As the road drops down the other side, you can see the Boars Tusk and the Chicken Springs area to the west. To the north you can look through Indian Gap (Steamboat on the east and Essex Mountain on the west) and see the Wind River Mountains.

A few miles further at the Chilton Ranch, you can take a washboard road northeast to a parking area at the Sand Dunes ORV area. Two miles further is another road going north into the sand dunes. Both of these roads offer places to picnic and play in the sand.

From here the main road swings south of the Boars Tusk. Just after passing the Pine Canyon Road (beautiful drive and return trip to the east) is a junction at Fifteen-mile Knoll.

If you turn northwest here, the road climbs along the side of White Mountain near Chicken Springs (seven miles). If you stop at the pole fence around the springs you have a nice place to picnic and view the Killpecker Sand Dunes and the Boars Tusk. The road then travels through some vegetated sand dunes (tricky driving) and hits W-191 at mile #33 south of Farson (16 miles total).

Turn south on S-17 and the road follows along Killpecker Creek. Along this stretch, you can see White Mountain to the west and the Leucite Hills to the east. Three miles south of Fifteen-mile Knoll is a small junction. Here you can take a side road west to the White Mountain Petroglyphs (real nice). Another mile further south is a side road going east to Cedar Canyon.

Continue south for seven miles and you pass by a side road turning east to Long Canyon. Stay south on S-17 for five more miles to W-191 at mile #10. Here you can continue south to Rock Springs or turn north to Farson.

The Boars Tusk is a most powerful figure that stands like an ancient guardian and seems to influence the entire area.