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Section 8: Trip One

Kemmerer to Cokeville the hard way: Hams Fork River Road

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 41.817027, -110.535029
     Ending: 42.233411, -110.870645
 

This trip begins by turning northwest on W-233 on the north side of Kemmerer. The Hams Fork River Road passes through Frontier and then crosses the river. The road climbs up a bit past the airport and community park and at mile #4 you cross the river again. You now begin traveling through a small valley between the Hams Fork Plateau on the west and Commissary Ridge on the east.

You pass by several fishing access points and you go by Kemmerer Reservoir at mile #13 and Viva Naughton Lake at mile #15. At mile #20 the pavement ends and you begin traveling on L-305. Here Commissary Ridge is off to the east and along to the north. You can also see Dempsey Ridge and Coke Mountain to the west. Four miles from the end of the pavement you cross Beaver Creek and go by Teddy Bear Corner. A bit further you cross Pole Creek and the valley begins to narrow.

Three miles from Pole Creek, you cross Carl Creek and you can now look to the west and see where the West Fork Hams Fork River joins the Hams Fork River. One mile further north, you enter the Bridger-Teton National Forest and pass through a long strip of aspen trees bordering the river. Here Commissary Ridge is still to the east and the Hams Fork Ridge is to the west.

About two miles after entering the forest, you cross the East Fork and then Burke Creek. Along here you begin seeing lodgepole pine, fir trees and possibly moose. After a few more miles, you pass the old Elk Creek Ranger Station and come to the Hams Fork Campground on Indian Creek (38 miles from Kemmerer).

Turn northwest across the river on NF-10062 and the road makes a steep climb to the top of Middle Ridge. (You begin seeing a few spruce trees along here.) You then come to a junction above Basin Creek. Here a 4WD road (NF-10198) north goes to Green Knoll and Big Park.

Continue southwest along Basin Creek and the road drops down for the next two miles to a side road (NF-10197) turning off to the Big Springs Picnic area. (Nice area.) You then cross the West Fork Hams Fork River and Kelly Creek. One mile further west is a junction with NF-10069 going south to Nugent Park. This road follows along a ridge above the West Fork Hams Fork River for about seven miles to a side road going over to Mayfield Creek. From there, NF-10069 makes a steep drop down to Pine Creek where the road gets much better. A bit further, that road (L-204) passes by the ski area and hits W-232 at mile #3 (17 miles from NF-10162).

Stay north on NF-10162 for one mile to a small junction. Here the road to the Kelly Creek Guard Station continues along the creek. Turn northwest up the hill and you have a good view of the Smiths Fork drainage to the west. As you continue north, the road climbs to a junction on top. Here a 4WD road (NF-10193) turns off along Sam's Creek to the Hobbie Creek Road and the Alice Lake Trail.

Continue north for one mile to an overlook with a great view. Here you can see Coal Creek immediately below you to the west. The Smiths Fork River is the next drainage to the west and on the western horizon is the Sublette Range.

From the overlook, the road drops down to a divide between Coal Creek and Sam's Creek. Here the road swings around to the southwest and then down along Coal Creek and leaves the national forest. The road continues to drop down along Coal Creek through a beautiful sagebrush lined canyon to another junction. Here you can take the Smiths Fork River Road north to US-89 at Smoot (see page 112).

Turn south and you join W-232 at mile #12. The road follows along the river and down through the valley on its way to Cokeville. At mile #3, L-204 turns east to the ski area and then north through Bear Canyon on NF-10069. On this stretch of the road, you can see the Tunp Range to the east and the Sublette Range to the west.

Teddy Bear Corner is one of the best stories around! Inquire locally about the little girl and the nice man.