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Section 8: Trip Three

The Smiths Fork River - Piney Creek Road from Smoot to Big Piney

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 42.529348, -110.897735
     Ending: 42.540410, -110.116602
 

This trip begins by going south from Smoot on US-89. As you travel through Star Valley, the Gannett Hills are to the west and to the east is the Salt River Range. At mile #72 you cross the Salt River and the road climbs up a bit to a junction with the Smiths Fork Road. Here you turn southeast on NF-10072 and as the road continues to climb and you begin traveling past aspen, fir, and lodgepole pine trees.

After two miles, the road swings northeast and you have a great view of Star Valley, Red Top, and Mount Wagner to the north. The road turns back to the southeast and then drops down to a junction in the Smiths Fork River drainage. Here you can take the Dry Fork Road (NF-10071) south to Cokeville (see page 112).

Stay to the southeast on NF-10072 and across the North Fork Smiths Fork River. One mile further, the road turns east and then north along the Smith Fork. (Nice drive.) After five more miles, you cross the river at Poker Hollow and begin seeing spruce trees. The road follows along the river for about five miles and then makes a sharp cut to the southeast where it climbs up a steep grade to the top of Commissary Ridge (six miles from Poker Hollow).

The road drops down along LaBarge Creek to a junction in the LaBarge Meadows (six miles). Here you can turn north on NF-10138, over the Tri-Basin Divide, and follow the Greys River to US-89 at Alpine (see page 114).

Stay to the south on NF-10138 and along LaBarge Creek toward Graham Peak. After traveling southeast for about eight miles, you cross Road Creek and come to a junction on Coyote Park Creek. Here you can continue south on NF-10138 along LaBarge Creek to LaBarge (see page 114).

Turn northeast on NF-10128 and up Packsaddle Ridge toward Snider Basin and Mount Thompson. After three miles, you go through Witherspoon Pass and drop down past a couple of logging roads (NF-10173 and NF-10139) turning south along the ridge.

The main road continues east down to South Piney Creek in Snider Basin. Here you can see Mount Thompson to the west, Mount Darby to the northwest, North Mountain to the north, and Riley Ridge to the east. One mile after crossing South Piney is a junction at Coal Creek. Here the Middle Piney Creek Road (NF-10046) turns north to Daniel Junction and US-189.

Stay east along South Piney Creek. The road passes between North Mountain and Riley Ridge and then leaves the national forest. As you continue to drop down on S-142, the surrounding area becomes increasingly arid. Six miles after leaving the forest, the road crosses Fish Creek. Here you can see Wyoming Peak to the west, Rand Butte to the near east, and to the far east are the Wind River Mountains.

Three miles further, you cross Middle Piney Creek to a junction. Here S-111 goes west to Middle Piney Lake and over to Daniel Junction (see page 116). Turn east on the pavement and after six miles you join W-350, five miles west of Big Piney.

This is one of many signs indicating the conditions early travelers faced navigating this section of the Lander Cutoff.