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Section 8: Trip Eight

The Union Pass Road from Pinedale to Dubois

 

Open Google Map at GPS Coordinates:

 
Beginning: 42.881004, -109.974572
     Ending: 43.599742, -109.785710
 

This trip begins by turning off US-191 (mile #105) north of Pinedale. As you head north on W-352, the Wyoming Range is to the west and the Gros Ventre Mountains are to the north. In the Wind River Mountains, you can see Temple Peak to the far southeast and Fremont Peak to the east. On the south side of Fremont Peak is Jackson Peak and on the north side is Mount Sacagawea. As you pass by Cora (mile #4), you can see Triple Peak and Bare Mountain to the far west.

At mile #8 the Willow Creek Road turns east to Willow Lake and at mile #12 you have a nice overlook of the New Fork River. At mile #14 the New Fork Lake Road turns east to the Narrows Campground and a trailhead into the wilderness.

The main road then passes between Black Butte on the west and Middle Butte on the east. You now begin dropping down past stands of aspen to the Green River. (Nice drive.) Here you can see Big Sheep Mountain to the northeast. Just before the pavement ends at mile #25 is the Moose Gypsum Road going east to Big Bend Lookout and Little Sheep Mountain.

Continue north into the national forest for three miles to the Whiskey Grove Campground and a junction. Here you continue northeast on the Green River Road. This route follows along the river and ends at the Green River Campground and a trailhead into the Bridger Wilderness. (This is a very nice drive and the view of Square Top and the Green River Lakes is worth the trip.)

Turn northwest on the Union Pass Road and across the Green River. Three miles after crossing the river is a junction on Tosi Creek. Here you can see Klondike Hill to the northwest and to the northeast is Little Sheep Mountain. The road to the north (NF-660) follows along the river for a bit.

Turn northwest on NF-600 along Tosi Creek and you can see Triangle Peak to the west. After a couple of miles, the road crosses a little creek and turns away from Tosi Creek and starts its climb up Bacon Ridge above Tepee Creek. Two miles further the road cuts sharply to the east to a junction. Here the Kinky Creek Road continues northwest.

Stay east around the ridge and then north on the Union Pass Road. The road follows along a small creek and you begin seeing lodgepole pine and spruce trees. Four miles further, you pass by Mosquito Lake and the road travels along the edge of a large park. Here you have a good view of the Wind River Mountains (Sourdough and Connie Glaciers near Yukon Peak). A few miles further, the road crosses Wagon Creek to a junction in Buffalo Meadows. Here the road northwest goes to Park Creek Meadows.

Stay to the northeast and after two miles you cross Raspberry Creek. The road then passes through another park where you can see the top of Squaretop Mountain to the south and Downs Mountain to the southeast. You then cross Strawberry Creek to a junction on South Fish Creek. (This area is just plain pretty.) Here NF-640 turns off to the Fish Creek Guard Station.

Stay east across the creek and then north as the road travels along the north side of Fish Creek Park to another junction. Here a NF-670 turns north to Leeds Creek (seven miles).

Continue east toward Union Pass and you go by a small road (NF-693) going south to Fish Creek Park. You then pass by a small road (NF-534) going to Lake of the Woods and come to Union Pass. (There was a historical site here that was worth stopping for.) Here you leave Teton National Forest and enter Shoshone National Forest on NF-263.

Continuing northeast from Union Pass, you can see Sawtooth, Darwin, and Triangle Peaks to the west and the Rams Horn to the north. The trees in this area are whitebark pine. The road continues to climb along a ridge for another three miles to a junction. Here NF-531 turns southeast to Union Lake and Moon Lake.

Stay north and the road leaves the Green River drainage and drops down into the Wind River drainage past lodgepole pine, spruce and fir trees, . Here you have a great view of the Rams Horn to the north and the Pinnacles to the northwest. After about four miles, you pass by NF-554 going east above Warm Springs Canyon.

Continue north along Warm Springs Creek to the next junction. Here you can take the Warm Springs Creek Road (NF-532), west and then northwest along the creek, to US-287 at mile #38. This is a nice drive if you are heading north, or if you are not ready to the hit the pavement yet (18 miles).

Stay northeast on the Union Pass Road and you leave the national forest and begin dropping down Warm Springs Mountain. This road has a few steep switchbacks, but the view is great. Five miles from the junction on top the mountain, you hit US-287 (mile #46) about nine miles north of Dubois.