Cutler Hill s(u)
Cutler Hill is the eastern summit on US14 over Granite
. About a 700ft drop separates the two. But this
point can also be approached without going over Granite
Pass, using some of the unpaved roads in the area.
This road over the Bignhorn Mountains seems to have a
little more traffic than the parallel alternative Powder
, since it seems to be used more by
Yellowstone bound tourists. Still - most times traffic is
light. There is a good shoulder, but near the summit it
sometimes has gravel on it from the last resurfacing
operation. - No rumble strips.
From East. This is US14 going towards Granite
Pass. The road reaches a low point while crossing over the
Tongue River, immediately east of Dayton. It seems Dayton's
friendly main street is as wide as it is long, There is a
candy store, gas station and a two restaurants of sorts.
From here on the road climbs continuously, not very
steeply, but unusual for a Bighorn climb - it never goes down
until it reaches the summit of Cutler Hill. First this happens
in wide radius turns, as if the road seems to encourage
momentum to get up the hill. Looking ahead you can always make
out the next traverse above. This climb traverses back and
forth along the initial escarpment. The land below is a wavy,
treeless, expanse of badlands and rangeland, except for
Dayton. It is one oasis of trees lining the Tongue River.
As the road gains elevation several turnouts allow spotting
bits and pieces of the road below. When the road finally turns
into the Bighorns, two more industrial sized parking lots
point out monumental pieces of rock that have tumbled into the
valley by being undercut. Even the de Lome atlas labels this
with the touristic phrase "fallen city" (picture
lower right). I wonder if this came about because Yellowstone
bound tourists were looking for well labeled attractions.
Another turnout to the right shows off a great view of the
canyon of the Tonque River. This is easily missed, because you
have to go all the way to the end of this particular gigantic
parking lot at the foot of a upturned lawyer of rock.
Past this the road enters forest and climbs slowly and
intermittently to this summit point. There is a sign complete
with elevation on top. The view is limited
From West. A 700ft drop leads
past a small lake, which is another "prescribed"
photo stop for the official Yellowstone bound tourist. - See
the road sign with the little camera on it ? From there the
road starts climbing again a bit towards Burgess Jct.
Dayride with this point as highest summit:
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED / INDISTINCT TRAIL:
Powder River Pass Rd eastern summit s(u) | FR10
Hunt Mountain Rd s(u) > )
Cutler Hill , FR168
Freeze out Rd(sh) : jct FR184 - US14 > US14 west
> Cutler Hill s(u) > FR15 north > FR167 > back
onto FR15 north > FR168 Freeze out Rd north > FR168
Freeze out Rd(sh) > down FR199 > down FR182 > down
FR181 > indistinct trail to Amsden State Wildlife area >
Dayton > up US14 > back to starting point: 52.9miles
with 6550ft of climbing in 6:56hrs (Garmin etrex30:
Notes: an eerie ride with the strong smell of smoke; I
ended up inside an area, closed off by the Amsden wildfire.
But from the west side there was no advertised closure.