CR505 Casper Mountain Road - Circle Drive s(u)

Casper Mountain makes a great out and back paved climb. But the Non - Casper side is paved to less than 300ft down from the summit. So I am putting this with the unpaved climbs.

This plateau is a kind of retreat area for Casper, retreat from heat, dessert and the endless horizon - retreat into a dense forest, a ski area and camping with trees.

1.(mile00.0,5120ft) START-END NORTH: near North Platte River, downtown Casper
2.(mile06.5,5560ft)jct Wyoming Blvd - Casper Mtn Rd
3.(mile08.5,6510ft)jct Garden Creek Rd/Wy252 - Wy251
4.(mile12.4,7790ft)jct with Hogadon Rd to ski area on right
6.(mile17.4,7280ft)jct with Muddy Mtn Rd. Profile turns left onto Circle Dr
7.(mile24.8,6160ft)jct with Coal Mtn Rd on right
8.(mile25.6,5660ft)START-END SOUTH: jct Circle Dr - Wy487

above: paved approach from Casper
below: Mud Mtn Road from unpaved approach on Circle Drive


From North.
Looking for a low place to start the profile, the North Platte River suggests itself for such a purpose. There is even a bike path along its shores, passing a curious piece of art resembling a cowboy, engaged in some mysterious, but non identifiable activity in the middle of the river.

No matter which road you take in a northerly direction, it climbs steadily. I think the best way to get to the northern outskirts is just to make use of the spacious residential streets in this town. They are so wide, they resemble mormon towns, which are designed to biblical proportions.

Somehow you arrive at Wyoming Drive or Outer Drive, same road, different names (point 2), and Mount Casper looms above, rather shapelessly. It doesn't look like much from down here. It's definitely not a wall. It is more of a lump. It will seem much bigger from the top.

Both Wy251 and Wy252 climb towards it. The profile uses the more direct Wy251. The last houses quickly thin out. This is one of the few occasions in Wyoming, where you can see a road far ahead - but it's not heading for the horizon in straight line. Instead it cuts across the loaf ahead in a straight traverse.

It takes a while to get there. The road has a uniform slope. a good shoulder, and even a "share the road with bicycles" road sign, though I didn't see another bicycle.

Before the road heads back into the interior of the narrow plateau, there is a gigantic parking lot, from which to survey the incredible, vast treeless spaces below. And there is also the wide North Platte River, meandering through the dessert, where the ride started. With the road now safely in the trees, a home appears next to the road. The sign reads "Shangrila" (spelled that way). It consists of a double garage at street level and the living level below that, facing the other way, safely out of the wind.

This profile stays left at the next junction. A right goes to the Hogadon Ski area. You drive to the top of this one, then after the ski run, let the lift carry you back up to the car. This reduces the theoretical maximum number of ski runs you can get into a day by one, compared with a ski area where you drive to the bottom and a equal lift closing time. A note: From the map it looks like there is a primitive road down the south side of the mountain, so that this could also be made into a summit point.

But this profile, as already said, stays left at the previous junction. This option climbs a little more, less than 300 ft and then traverses the forested top between parks, campgrounds and retreats. This could be the middle of Indiana or Minnesota, if you forget the climb. Meanwhile the road designation has changed from Wy251 Casper Mtn Road to CR505 Circle Drive.

From South. (described downwards) But the Wyoming wide spaces return quickie. After only descending a little less than 300ft, the surrounding forest disappears - so does the pavement - an the wind returns just as quickly. At the next major superwide rocky dirt road boulevard intersection, there are options for climbing east up Mud Mountain, or heading east for Wy253. But this profile descends further on CR505.

This road stays on top of a small grassy ridge, which itself is in the valley of Big Red Creek. (Many of the names here seem to include "Big" and "Mud"). The view is terrific, a ribbed red cliff leading the eye to the horizon and the distant, from here small lumps of the Pedro Range. The road passes a Cheney Ranch and makes one more small climb before descending through state land on a smooth road to Wy487, or alternatively, the unpaved but smooth Coal Mountain Road.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:


( < CR409 Pathfinder Rd s(u) | Muddy Mtn Rd s(u) > )
CR505 Casper Mountain Road - Circle Dr s(u) : near jct Coal Mtn Rd - Circle Dr > Circle Dr west > Coal Mtn Road west > Wy220 north > CR310 north > back onto Wy220 north > several miles of sightseeing around Casper with detours > Wy251 north > Cr505 Casper Mtn Rd - Circle Dr s(u) > Circle Dr south > back to starting point on Circle Dr: 55.1miles with 4970ft of climbing in 5:27hrs (Garmin etrex30 m5:15.7.27)