North Platte River: Saratoga to Interstate-80

CLASS - I

GRADIENT - 11 ft/mile

LENGTH - 45 miles

FLOAT TIME - 14 hours

BLM QUAD MAPS - Saratoga, Medicine Bow

PUT IN - Saratoga Town Park

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - county road south of Fort Steele

North Platte River

USGS Gage Station CFS near Sinclair.

North Platte River

 

Beginning at the Don Johnson Landing in Saratoga, you go under three bridges as you leave town and begin following along some white bluffs. This is a beautiful stretch of river as it flows past stands of cottonwood and peachleaf willow trees. A bit further downstream, a view opens and you can see Elk, Coad, and Pennock Mountains to the east and to the southwest are the Sierra Madre's. About two hours from Saratoga, you go by a low cut bank to Foote Landing. This landing is reached by turning off W-130 at mile #16.

Just below Foote Landing, the river swings west past the base of Sheep Rock. As the river turns back to the north, you go by a camping area and landing. This area is reached by taking a side road at the Pick Bridge Landing. Continuing north, you travel along a seeping coal bank for a bit and one hour from the Foote Landing is the Pick Bridge Landing. This landing is reached by turning off W-130 at mile #14. There are a couple of access roads that branch out from this area. One goes south along the east side of the river and the other goes north along the west side.

Downstream from Pick Bridge, the river begins following along some cliffs and outcroppings. After about two hours, you come to the last landing on this end (the Old Frazier Place reached from the Pick Bridge access road.) You then go by Johnson Island and the surrounding area becomes increasingly arid. Here the river begins alternating between ridges on the left and right as it twists and bends its way to the north.

Two hours from the Old Frazier Place is a nice little grove of shade trees at Coal Mine Draw (river left in the apex of a large bend). Two hours further you enter into a small canyon (Savage Hills) at the top of Oxbow Bend. After another two hours, the river makes a sharp turn to the west along some red and white cliffs at a landing. This landing may be reached, as well as several others on river left, by taking the North Platte River Access Road #347 at I-80 Fort Steele exit #228.

Continuing downstream for an hour, the river passes through another large bend to a landing across from Pass Creek. Two hours further, you pass through a cut in The Hogback and begin following the River Access Road. The landings along this road are just south of I-80 and are on fishing easements. Float time from Saratoga to The Hogback is about 14 hours.

Photo Caption (image not shown): A Sunday afternoon cruise to Pick Bridge Landing for Saratoga floaters Jody, Tim, Loretta, and Sara.