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Section 5: Trip Four

Point of Rocks to Farson on the Steamboat Road


Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

Beginning: 41.679198, -108.781777
     Ending: 42.209579, -109.226245

This trip begins by taking I-80 exit #130 to Point of Rocks. You start on W-77 going east along I-80 for two miles where the road turns into S-15 and then travels north through Deadman Wash. After eight miles, you pass by the power plant and two miles further the pavement ends. Here the road swings northwest below a small ridge and travels through Potash Wash to a junction. Here you can take S-18 west toward Zirkel Mesa to Superior.

Turn north on S-15 and the road climbs up to the top of the rim. Here you can see Six-mile Ridge and Black Butte to the south. As you continue north, you can see Black Rock to the northeast, the Wind River Mountains to the north, and to the northwest a bit is Spring Butte. Further to the northwest is North Table Mountain, the taller South Table Mountain, and Steamboat Mountain.

The road crosses Deadman Wash (Yep, the same Deadman Wash.) and then travels between Black Rock and Spring Butte. After crossing Black Rock Creek, you come to a junction 21 miles from Point of Rocks. Here you can turn east on the Dunes Road (S-15) to US-287 and a variety of other choices (see page 80).

Stay northwest on S-17 for seven miles to the next junction. Here the Dunes Road (S-17) continues west between Steamboat Mountain and North Table Mountain to Rock Springs.

Turn north on S-83 and the road crosses the Killpecker Sand Dunes and winds around to a small junction at the base of Steamboat. Here a side road (BLM-4102) takes a sharp cut to the northwest and climbs along the side of Steamboat to the top. This road is quite steep and should not be attempted if it's wet.

If you can make the trip, you get a fantastic look at the Steamboat buttress and the lookout from the top offers an exceptional view of the basin to the south. From there you can see the sand dunes stretching east to the Ferris Mountains. There are aspen, willow, and pine trees up here and you can see bands of horses, herds of mule deer, antelope, and possibly elk. As this side road travels north past the Tri-Territory Historical Site to rejoin S-83, you get a view of Oregon Buttes and the Wind River Mountains.

Back at the base of Steamboat, if you choose to stay on the more traveled S-83, the road winds along past knobby hills and sandstone and follows along a rim to the east. After about three miles, the road turns north and you climb a bit to Freighter Gap. After passing through the gap, the road crosses Split Rock Canyon. The road climbs up a bit more to rejoin BLM-4102 at the base of Bush Rim (10 miles from the little junction at Steamboat).

Now that both travel options have joined, you head northwest on S-83 and drop down to Jack Marrow Creek. The road follows along the creek for a couple of miles and then crosses it. Three miles further is another junction. Here a road continues west along the creek for a few miles and then turns southwest toward Indian Gap.

Turn north across Jack Marrow Creek on S-83 and then along Rock Cabin Creek toward Rock Cabin Springs (three miles). There is part of the old cabin still standing and the spring is a great place to picnic and watch muskrats working around their lodge. About a half a mile north of the springs is a junction (51 miles from Point of Rocks). Here you can take S-21 east to the Oregon Buttes Road.

Take S-21 going west and as you work your way toward W-28, you have a nice view of Sweetwater Gap in the Wind River Mountains to the north, Oregon Buttes and Continental Peak to the northeast, and the Wyoming Range to far the west. The large flat topped mountain just off to the southwest is Buffalo Hump. About 13 miles from Rock Cabin is a small junction where a smaller road turns east. Stay west on the main road and you cross Pacific Creek in three miles and hit W-28 (mile #13) east of Farson. (Note: For people going the other way, three miles after crossing Pacific Creek, you take the main road to the southeast and not the smaller road to the east.)

Rock Cabin Springs—a good place to picnic and swat desert mosquitoes.