Battle Lake Pass
Battle Lake Pass, also called Battle Pass is a
surprisingly high crossing point on the Continental
Divide in the Sierra Madre of Wyoming. There are lower
forestry road crossings on the north side of the pass.
This gentle forested range is a continuation of the Park
Range in Colorado, and a ride here consists of peaceful
solitude in the trees, similar to what one would also
get from Gore Pass
Colorado for example.
low point on US70, where it crosses Savery Creek,
between Savery and Slater
2.(mile15.5,8080ft)Stock Drive Road crosses US70
3.(mile19.4,8430ft)turnoff to overlook point on
south side of road
4.(mile21.0,8300ft)turnoff to Sage Creek Rd on
5.(mile33.1,9955ft)TOP: Battle Lake Pass
6.(mile44.1,7510ft)turnoff to FR443 on left
7.(mile45.6,7280ft)START-END EAST: Encampment
From West. Heading east from Baggs,
the next sign of civilization is the sign announcing Slater.
- Hard to say where the spiritual center of Slater lies.
First I wanted to say, right at the sign that says
"population 25". The sign looks faded enough, that
recent births and deaths may not be be reflected in this
running total. But on second thought, I think it lies at the
excellent pioneer museum, a block or two to the north. I
think that is the real center of town. From there the road
still descends into Savery, and this is finally where the
profile starts. Slater and Savery are easy to get mixed up.
Savery has the post office. Slater has the sign. Neither one
has food of any kind for sale.
70 climbs gently toward a trapezoidal mesa, blocking the
way. I first thougth this location fit the description of
Battle Mountain, after which the pass is named. But the real
Battle Mountain is further north along the unpaved Columbine
Pass road, which branches to the right in this area.The
lake, also named after the same battle, is actually closer
to the top.
Wy70 continues to climb a small curving incline, and given
the right light conditions, lets you peek over a line of
aspen trees onto the ridge of mountains leading up to Hahn's
Peak. Grassy, angular Wyoming plateaus are the foreground to
what is currently the pine beetle kingdom around Hahn's
The road enters the Medicine Bow National Forest, and the
forest itself too. A sign explaining the crossing of the
Savery Stock Driveway is easily missed. In the 1800s, sheep
herders used to cross here between summer pastures in the
Park Range, stretching up into Colorado, and Wyoming's Red
Dessert. Still today there are numerous herding carts on the
unpaved back roads, that strongly resemble the rounded metal
roof carts from that period. Now and then you also still
encounter a herd of sheep.
After a mildly sloping ride through dense forest, a short
detour to the right leads to the best overlook on this pass
road. It is another version of the same panorama, visible
from below. But now Battle Mountain forms the extreme right
of the 200 degree field of vision, while on the other side
the Mount Zirkel wilderness looks like nothing more than a
distant lip of snow around a row of small teeth.
Sofar the entire approach has been part of the Great Divide
Bicycle Touring route. Just after the viewpoint, that route
turns left onto FR801 to descend on the Deep
Creek Road, while Wy70 keeps climbing gently after this
dip in the road.
Continuing to Battle Pass there is still lots of climbing to
be done. The new road bed uses only large radius curves and
slopes of 7 percent or less. This saves the drivers the
indignity of shifting. I don't know what good it does for
cyclists. Eventually, after many swings through the forest a
view point to Battle Lake appears on the right. This is an
unusually rugged location for this rather gentle mountain
range. From here the top is also in sight. It appears as a
treeless meadow in a gentle saddle above.
At the top is a pass sign, calling this location Battle Pass
rather than Battle Lake Pass, as Marshall Sprague does in
his definitive history of Rocky Mountain Passes. A major
attraction of the large parking lot at the top is that it
seems to be always deserted, and it has a decent view also.
The highest peak in this range can be seen on the right,
Bridger Peak with barely a rock outcrop at the top.
From East. (also described upwards). Leaving Encampment,
the road heads for the trees. The junction with FR542, which
I used to make a loop around Bridger Peak is not signed. But
it is located at the start of a chainup area at about
8800ft. Past that the road breaks out of the trees
periodically. The tree skeletons left by the pine beetle
make a stark foreground in the pictures of this area.
Dayrides with this point as highest
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED:
Battle Lake Pass x2: Encampment
<> Battle Lake Pass <> turnaround point at
National Forest Boundary on west side: mechanical odometer
Notes: this was before the current road bed and included
a short section of unpaved road that is now paved.
( < Wy70
Battle Lake Pass Rd(sh) | BLM3328
Miller Creek Road south(sh) > )
Battle Lake Pass , FR543
South Spring Creek s(u) , FR830
Deep Jack Th s(u) , Wy70
Battle Lake Pass Rd - FR801 Deep Creek Rd : jct
FR807 Savery Stock Driveway - Wy70 > Wy70 east > Wy70
Battle Lake Pass Rd - FR801 Deep Creek Rd > FR830 Deep
Jack Th s(u) > FR452 east > FR452(shp) > FR543
South Spring Creek s(u) > FR543 north > Wy70 west >
Battle Lake Pass > back to starting point with short
additional out and back down Wy70 for an extra 100ft of
elevation gain: 75.1miles with 6940ft of climbing in 7:17hrs
(Garmin etrex30 M5:15.7.18)
The Fur Trapper Period: This battle
happened in 1841, between a group of trappers led by Henry
Fraeb and a group of Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe. A sign on
the eastern overlook (not the summit overlook) reminds of
this event and points out Battle Mountain, where this all
happened. The route profiled on the Columbine
Pass page actually comes much closer to Battle Mountain
A mining town named "Battle" was
founded in 1898. It reached a population of 250 and included
a newspaper, two hotels, a general store and a land office.