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Section 6: Trip Six

Wamsutter south to Baggs on the Barrel Springs Road

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 41.659521, -107.967894
     Ending: 41.050488, -107.652773
 

This trip begins in Wamsutter (I-80, exit #173) by taking Broadway past the Post Office and across the railroad tracks to S-23. You go south (past the Echo Springs Road turnoff) on S-23 for seven miles to a junction. Here you can continue south on S-23 and C-701 to W-789 at mile #28 at Dad.

Turn southwest on the Barrel Springs Road (BLM-3310) and after three miles the road swings to the west. From up here you can see Flat Top Mountain to the south and to the southwest (above Delaney Rim) are the gray bluffs of the Haystacks. Seven miles further west are two junctions at North Barrel Springs.

At the first junction you can take the Red Desert Road north along Delaney Rim and loop back to Wamsutter (a rough road). About 100 yards further west is the second junction. Here you can continue west and go past an old building to a pumping unit where the road splits. There, the main road to the north goes up a hill and follows along the rim toward Tipton. The small road to the southwest crosses the creek and goes up a hill to the LaClede Road (see page 96).

At this second junction, turn south on the Barrel Springs Road and toward the Windmill Draw Road. Two miles south of the junction, an OFR turns northwest past a couple of pumping units and hits the LaClede Road going west.

Continue south and you can see the Haystacks to the southwest. To the west are the Man and Boy Buttes and to the far southeast is Battle Mountain. Five miles from the North Barrel Springs-Tipton Road junction, you drop down to the Barrel Springs-Eureka junction. Here you can take the Eureka HDQR-Wamsutter Road east for eight miles and join C-701 (S-23 has become C-701 at the county line), 15 miles south of Wamsutter.

Continue south on the Barrel Springs Road. After crossing the creek and climbing a hill, the road travels south for about six miles to a small junction. Here you can take the road to the southwest and climb through some rimrock to the top of Willow Creek Rim (about two miles). That road then passes through some blowouts and soap holes for about three miles to another junction. There the road south dead ends at a pumping unit, so you can either take the road west into Horseshoe Bend (The Haystacks), or follow the rim road southeast to a crossing at Sand Creek and hit the Powder Rim Road. (Both of these are 4WD roads, see page 94.)

Stay southeast toward Flat Top on the Windmill Draw Road and after five miles you cross Windmill Draw. Three miles further is another small junction. The road up the hill to the west goes past Courthouse Butte and over near Church Butte.

Turn southeast down the hill and you get a glimpse of Dad Dail Reservoir. At the bottom, the road swings east through South Barrel Springs Draw and travels across the Mexican Flats to a small junction (six miles). Here a road continues east through Red Wash and hits W-789 at Dad (six miles). Turn south for one mile and the Windmill Draw Road joins the Standard Road at a main junction. Here you can take the road east and hit W-789 at mile #30 just south of Dad.

Continue south on the Standard Road and the road winds around to the southwest. After six miles, the road turns south past an OFR going west and you climb to the top of West Flat Top. Here you can see North Flat Top off to the east. As the road drops down the other side, you can see East Flat Top to the east, to the southwest is Powder Rim, and to the far west is Kinney Rim.

The road continues to drop down along Hangout Wash to a junction with the Powder Rim Road. Here you can see Cherokee Rim to the south. If you go west across Sand Creek (one mile), you can travel past Powder Mountain and hit the Bitter Creek Road, north of Powder Wash, Colorado (see page 94).

Turn east for two miles to the next junction. Here the Powder Rim Road continues east to W-789 at mile #43 north of Baggs.

Turn southeast and the road drops down across Red Creek at the eastern tip of Cherokee Rim. You then follow along Sand Creek for a bit and the road climbs a ridge above the Little Snake River on the south and Red Creek Basin on the north. The road continues along the ridge toward Battle Mountain and Bakers Peak. After passing by a road going northwest, you drop down past Poison Buttes into the basin below.

The road travels through the basin for about four miles (past OFR's with poison gas warnings) and then drops down through a cut in The Bluffs. You follow along the base of The Bluffs for about four miles to W-789, one mile north of Baggs.

Asking for local information is sometimes fun. When I inquired about these "dugouts" near McPherson Springs, the reply was "They must be for something 'cause people 'round here don't dig holes in the ground for nothing".