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Section 8: Trip Five

Big Piney to Daniel on the Middle Piney Creek Road (with an option to Alpine on the McDougal Gap Road)

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 42.540410, -110.116602
     Ending: 42.848863, -110.070972
 

This trip begins by turning off US-189 in Big Piney and heading west on W-350. As you head toward the Wyoming Range, you can see Riley Ridge and Deadline Ridge to the southwest, Triple Peak and Bare Mountain to the northwest, and to the east are the Wind River Mountains.

At mile #5, W-350 ends and you continue west on the pavement to a junction (six miles). Here you can turn southwest on S-142 to Snider Basin and then over to the LaBarge Creek Road. There you can either go south to LaBarge or west to Smoot (see page 112 and page 113).

Stay northwest on S-111 and the road follows along Middle Piney Creek below Johnson Ridge. After about 10 miles, you enter the Bridger National Forest and come to a junction. Here you can turn south on NF-10046 toward North Mountain and travel to Snider Basin.

Continue west and you begin passing aspen, fir, and limber pine trees. After two more miles you come to another junction. Here you can continue west on NF-10124 to Middle Piney Lake and the Sacagawea Campground. From this junction you can see Fish Creek Mountain to the southwest and to the west is Wyoming Peak.

Turn northwest up the hill on NF-10046 along Walker Creek and you begin seeing lodgepole pine. After passing through a small saddle, the road drops down along Edwards Creek to North Piney Creek. Here Mount Schideler is to the west and to the northeast is Bald Mountain. Also at this crossing is a trailhead to North Piney Lake and the Wyoming Range Trail.

After crossing North Piney Creek the road crosses Apperson Creek (two miles), and follows along the creek for a bit. The road then climbs up past Red Castles to Bare Pass. Here you can see Triple Peak and Lander Peak to the northwest and to the far north is the Gros Ventre Range.

As the road drops down from the pass, you begin following South Fork Bare Creek and then Bare Creek. Five miles from the pass you come to a small junction. Here NF-10050 turns west and follows along South Cottonwood Creek.

Turn northeast on NF-10046 and you leave the national forest after crossing Bare Creek and South Cottonwood Creek. About two miles further, you come to a junction with the North Cottonwood Creek Road (39 miles from Big Piney). Here you can turn west on the McDougal Gap Road NF-10125 to Alpine. (See option below.)

Turn east on S-129 toward the Wind River Mountains and the road follows along a bench above North Cottonwood Creek in the north and Spring Creek on the south. After about 10 miles, S-129 ends at Ryegrass Junction. Here you can go southeast on S-117 to US-189 at mile #119 (16 miles).

Turn north on S-117 and across North Cottonwood Creek. Along this stretch you can see Bare Mountain and Triple Peak to the west and to the northwest is Prospect Peak and Lookout Mountain. One mile further is a junction where S-117 turns east to US-189 at mile #128. Stay north on S-116 toward North Horse Creek and the road climbs along and then over a ridge to an unmarked junction. Here you can turn east and join S-117 near US-189 at mile #128. Also at this junction you can turn west to South Horse Creek.

Continue north on S-116 and the road crosses Horse Creek in one mile. Here you can see Prospect Peak to the west and to the northwest is Horse Mountain (next to Lookout Mountain). Three miles further, you hit pavement at a junction near the base of Beaver Divide. Here you can go three miles west on S-112 to Merna and then over to North Horse Creek.

Turn east on S-112 and after six miles you join W-354 at mile #6. Here Horse Creek is on the west and the Green River is on the east. After a few miles, you pass Old Fort Bonniville and cross the river to US-191 at Daniel Junction (mile #111).

OPTION: McDougal Gap Road to the Greys River Road.

Turn west on NF-10125 toward Alpine (50 miles) and you enter the national forest again. The road follows along North Cottonwood Creek and travels past Lander Peak and Triple Peak toward Mount McDougal. After about three miles, you cross Hardin Creek and two miles further you cross Ole Creek and then North Cottonwood Creek.

Eight miles from the junction on North Cottonwood Creek, you come to McDougal Gap and a trailhead to the Wyoming Range Trail. (Very nice area.) The road drops down a couple of switchbacks to a meadow on Sheep Creek. You then follow the creek down through a steep, rugged canyon cutting through the Wyoming Range. (Fantastic drive.)

After five miles, North Fork Sheep Creek joins Sheep Creek in the run down the canyon. (Just plain beautiful.) A bit further the canyon widens to a small park and then closes in again. Nine miles from the gap, you come to a junction at the Greys River. Here you can turn south to LaBarge or north to Alpine (see page 114).

A cold milk, sandwich, and chocolate chip cookie break at Bare Pass. In the distance is Triple Peak and Lander Peak.