Section 6: Trip Seven

The Powder Rim Road from W-430 east to Baggs


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Beginning: 41.039200, -108.792405
     Ending: 41.128806, -107.648330
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This trip begins by turning off W-430 at mile #52 south of Rock Springs. (See page 89 for a trip description to this point.) You turn east on S-25 toward the Hiawatha Camp for five miles and enter Colorado on Moffat-4. Two miles further, the road swings back into Wyoming passes through a pretty little canyon where it crosses Horseshoe Creek and Vermilion Creek.

After crossing Vermilion Creek, the road once again enters Colorado just north of the Hiawatha Camp. Then it's north back into Wyoming on S-25 and south into Colorado again. About one mile south of the state line, Moffat-4 crosses Shell Creek and climbs up the northern end of Lookout Mountain for the next five miles. From the summit you can see Kinney Rim along to the north. To the northeast is Powder Mountain and off in the distant east is part of the Sierra Madre Mountains. In Wyoming to the west is Pine Mountain and southwest a bit in Colorado is Middle Mountain and Diamond Mountain.

You then travel east on Moffat-4 for five miles to a junction at the Powder Wash Camp (30 miles from W-430). Here you can continue east on M-4 (13 miles of dirt, 26 miles paved) and hit Colorado-13 at mile #126, four miles south of Baggs.

Turn north at Powder Wash on M-62 to the state line in three miles. A half-mile after crossing over into Wyoming is a small junction. Here the Bitter Creek Road turns northwest. On this route you can hit the Kinney Rim, Sand Butte, and LaClede Roads, or you can continue north to I-80 at exit #142 (see page 98).

This is where the "Adventure" begins and a 4WD or high clearance vehicle is required! Turn sharply to the east and then the northeast on the Powder Rim Road (two-track) and across the North Fork Powder Wash. The road climbs through some cedar breaks and passes on the north side of Powder Mountain (four miles). You then climb a steep hill to the edge of the rim. Here a small road drops down into the basin below. From this overlook you can see Skull Creek Rim and East Fork Point to the north, and beyond them are the Haystacks. To the northwest is the top edge of Kinney Rim and Sand Butte.

The road winds around and up and down for four miles to Anthill Knob (off to the south a bit). Two miles past the knob is another good view to the north. Here you can look north into the Horseshoe Bend area of the Haystacks. To the northwest, behind Skull Creek Rim and East Fork Point, is Adobe Town Rim. In the foreground to the north is Prehistoric Ridge and to the northeast are the three Flat Top Mountains.

The road continues along the rim for five miles to a junction. Here the road going south drops down to Cherokee Basin and joins M-4, running east and west in Colorado.

Continue east for about two more miles to the next junction. At this point, most of the "Adventure" part of the trip has now played out. Here a road turns northwest into the basin below. If you take this road to Rotten Springs, you can go west back to the first Powder Rim overlook, join the Bitter Creek Road at the Skull Creek Rim overlook, or cross Sand Creek and follow Willow Creek Rim to either Horseshoe Bend or the Barrel Springs Road (all of these connection roads require a 4WD, see page 92).

Continue east for five miles and the road winds down through some cedar breaks, passes by McPherson Springs and crosses Sand Creek. A mile east of the crossing is another junction. Here you can take the Standard Road north over West Flat Top to the Barrel Springs Road, about one mile from W-789 (see page 92).

Continue east for two miles to the next junction. Here you can turn southeast on the Poison Butte Road to Baggs. Stay east and you pass by a BLM Waterfowl Enclosure. Along this stretch you can see Muddy Mountain to the east, the top of Battle Mountain is southeast a bit, and further to the southeast is Bakers Peak. Two miles from the waterfowl enclosure, the road makes a jog to the north and then east again. Here an OFR cuts west and then north along North Prong and Middle Prong Red Creek. Stay east and the road drops below Flat Top Mountain and follows along Red Creek for about five miles. You then climb to an overlook of Cottonwood Creek and drop down one more mile to W-789 at mile #43, seven miles north of Baggs.

The Skull Creek drainage and badlands on the north side of Powder Mountain.