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Section 6: Trip Four

The Firehole Road/East Gorge Drive south from Rock Springs

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 41.500089, -109.305381
     Ending: 41.011857, -109.425541
 

This trip begins by turning off I-80 at exit #99 and taking W-191 south across the railroad tracks and Bitter Creek. At mile #504 you come to a junction. Here you can continue south on W-191 to Utah and Flaming Gorge Dam. At this junction you can see Wilkins Peak to the west and Aspen Mountain to the east.

Turn off onto the Little Firehole Road (S-9) and the road swings south past a tumbled assortment of sandstone outcroppings and cedar breaks for about six miles. It then follows along the edge of a beautiful little canyon for another mile to Little Firehole Creek. Here the Little Firehole Canyon runs from the horizon on the east to Flaming Gorge on the west.

After crossing the creek, you continue traveling south and climb over a small divide into Middle Firehole Canyon. As you cross the creek at the bottom, Flat Top Mountain is immediately before you to the south. The road then climbs up a steep hill to a junction on top (11 miles from W-191). Here you can turn east on S-33 and hit W-191 at mile #513. From this junction on the Big Firehole Road, you can look back to the north and view the Little and Middle Firehole Canyons that you have just passed through.

Turn southwest on S-33 and the road drops down through the canyon below to a little junction. Here S-75 turns south to join the Lower Sage Creek Road (S-36). Continue west into the Flaming Gorge National Recreational Area. The pavement ends after passing below South Chimney Rock and going by the campground turnoff. Here you can see both North and South Chimney Rock to the north.

Continue south on Flaming Gorge Drive (S-33) and the road climbs a long steep hill. At the top you have a spectacular view of Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The road then swings away from the lake and about six miles further you cross Sage Creek to a junction. Here you can go east along the creek on S-36 and hit W-191 at either mile #520 (via S-36, Lower Sage Creek Road) or mile #532 (via S-34, Upper Sage Creek Road). Both of these are nice drives.

Turn sharply to the west and then south on S-33. The road climbs a long hill and leaves Sage Creek to another good view of the gorge to the west. To the southwest you can see Mass Mountain behind the badlands of the Devils Playground, and Cedar Mountain behind Black Mountain and Twin Butte. Off to the southeast is Little Mountain.

The road then drops down to bottom of the hill to a junction on Current Creek. Here S-38 branches off to the southwest and follows along the gorge. This route has several access roads leading to the lake and will connect back with S-33 after nine miles.

Turn southeast on S-33 and you follow Current Creek upstream for about two miles. After crossing the creek, the road turns sharply to the south and climbs up to a small junction on Current Creek Ridge. Here a road follows along the ridge to the east toward Little Mountain.

Continue southeast on S-33 for five miles to the next junction. Here S-38 turns north along the lake and back to the junction at Current Creek. Also at this junction is an access road going west to the lake.

Stay south on S-33 toward the Uinta Mountains and the road drops down a steep hill and crosses Upper Marsh Creek. You then climb a steep hill to a small junction. Here a ranch/access road turns west, but stay to the southeast and continue climbing up to another junction on top. Here another small road turns east to Little Mountain and then travels north to join the Upper Sage Creek Road (S-34). At this junction, you can see the top of Richards Mountain to the southeast.

Continuing south, you go down another steep hill and cross Middle Marsh Creek. Here the road climbs up the side of Iron Mountain and travels through a thick forest of cedar trees. (Beautiful area. Watch for deer and possibly elk through here.)

Five miles from Middle Marsh Creek is a road turning east across the top of Iron Mountain. Take the main road sharply to the west, then around to the southeast, and down to Minnies Gap (five miles). At Minnies Gap (W-191, mile #551) you can head north to Rock Springs, south to Vernal and Manila, Utah, or east through Clay Basin to W-430 (see page 88 and page 91).