Section 6: Trip Five

The Irish Canyon- Clay Basin Road from W-430 to W-191

 

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Beginning: 41.000210, -108.787631
     Ending: 41.007281, -109.425399
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This trip begins at the Wyoming-Colorado state line at the end of W-430 at mile #55 (see page 89 for a description to this point). Most of this trip is in Colorado and Utah, but it is a very scenic route connecting two of Wyoming's back highways.

One mile after entering Colorado on Moffat-10, you go past a road (M-167) turning west to Middle and Diamond Mountain (south of Pine Mountain in Wyoming). You then cross Fonce Wash and G Wash to a couple of junctions. Here a road (M-63) going east to the Hiawatha Camp and then another road (M-72) going west to Talamantes Creek and Cold Spring Mountain.

Continuing south, you have a beautiful drive past the canyons, foothills, and overlooks of the Vermilion Creek Bluffs. About 14 miles from the state line the road drops down and winds through Irish Canyon. This is a spectacular area. At the bottom of the canyon is small turnout and picnic area where you can stop and look at some petroglyphs. Four miles from the petroglyphs is the junction with Colorado-318 (mile #19). Here you can go east to Maybell and US-40 (40 miles).

Turn west and you travel along Vermilion Creek and then along the Green River at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge (mile #12). Along here you can see the red rock entrance to Lodore Canyon to the south. On the east side of the "Gates" is Douglas Mountain and on the west side is Diamond Mountain. To the north is Cold Spring Mountain. After traveling 19 miles on C-318, you pass by the national park headquarters on Beaver Creek and enter Utah where the pavement ends.

You pass by several side roads during the next seven miles, but keep on the main road (D-22) toward Flaming Gorge. At the Taylor Flat Bridge Junction, you turn north and leave the river. This route cuts through Home Mountain on a good, but very steep road. This is a terrific little canyon lined with cedar, cottonwood, and boxelder trees.

After climbing to the summit, the road drops down and crosses Clay Basin Creek into Clay Basin (nice little pocket). Five miles from the summit is a series of junctions where a couple of OFR's turn north to Clay Basin Camp. At these junctions, you can continue west on the pavement, cross Red Creek (one mile) and travel through Martin Draw toward Flaming Gorge (24 miles). Eight miles from Red Creek, the paved road crosses over into Wyoming where you begin traveling on S-70. Three miles further, that road joins W-191 at mile #551 near Minnies Gap.

Back at the junctions with the OFR's turning north, if you take either one of these roads, they will pass through or around Clay Basin Camp. Those roads then join together and head north towards Richards Gap. After a couple of miles, that road crosses into Wyoming, passes through the gap and then crosses Red Creek. That road (S-62) then travels north for two miles to an overlook at a small junction. There the main road takes a sharp turn to the west and three miles further it joins W-191 at mile #541.

Looking north from Clay Basin, through Richards Gap, to Little Mountain.