FR543 South Spruce Creek s(u)


I thought that this forestry road, running through the trees, would turn out to be the highest point on a ride around Bridger Peak in the Sierra Madre. But - surprisingly - the paved Battle Lake Pass actually turned out to be higher. Still this is not an easier way to cross the Sierra Madre.

01.(mile00.0,6470ft)START-END WEST: low point on US70, where it crosses Savery Creek, between Savery and Slater
02.(mile15.5,8080ft)Stock Drive Road crosses US70
03.(mile19.4,8430ft)turnoff to overlook point on south side of road
04.(mile21.0,8300ft)profile turns left onto Sage Creek Rd
05.(mile27.0,7530ft)Sage Creek Rd reaches low point, while crossing Big Sandstone Creek
06.(mile27.9,7940ft)profile turns off to the right onto FR830
07.(mile35.8,9180ft)FR830 Deep Jack Rd Trailhead s(u)
08.(mile39.6,8490ft)intermediate low point on FR830
09.(mile46.5,8920ft)profile turns right on FR443 South Spring Creek Rd
10.(mile51.3,9520ft)TOP: FR543 South Spring Creek Rd s(u)
11.(mile63.5,8300ft)intermediate low point
12.(mile65.9,8890ft)FR543 South Spring Creek Rd s(u)-2
13.(mile66.2,8780ft)profile turns left onto US70, coming from Battle Pass
14.(mile73.2,7290ft)START-END EAST: Saratoga

Approaches

From West.
The direct approach to this point leads up from Saratoga. However I approached this point from the west side of the Sierra Madre Range via FR830. Consequently the profile first follows up the west side of Battle Pass, then turns onto the south side of FR401 Sage Creek Rd, and finally turns right onto FR830.

After crossing the FR830 Deep Jack Trailhead s(u) point, the direct approach from Saratoga meets with the profiled road. They meet at a curiously signed intersection, stating Saratoga 20 miles and Encampment 29. Looking at a map this seems counterintuitive, because Encampment is much closer as the crow files. This option follows the Encampment 29 directions and all its curves. - All very confusing, best to just look at the interactive map on the profile page.

The profile route becomes quite a bit rockier after the intersection. Still progress is reasonably fast. After being figuratively buried in pine beetle trees for the longest time, approaching the summit there are a few good views. The first temptation to think that the summit is reached comes at a sign to the "Chipewa Blowdown", a rare tornado in this area that leveled 350 acres of trees in 1967. It took two years for the trees to be harvested.- The actual highest point on the road comes a little later on this endless traverse around the trees.

In the center is the historic Rattlesnake Pass in the Laramie Mtns, as seen  from near summit of FR543

From East. (described downwards). The public map on my gps shows a whole host of roads, at least one of which is a straight connection down to Wy230 between Encampment and Saratoga. But reality is different. The road reaches a low point at the mouth of a ravine - looking at this on the map it is a large obvious V shape. Past that point, the road climbs again to meet Wy70 on its course to the top of Battle Creek Pass. No other options to descend east exist before that.

A Ride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Battle Lake Pass


Historical Notes

Fremont Expedition: (<Daniel's Summit(ut) | Muddy Pass(co)>): During his return from California during his second expedition, Fremont crossed the Sierra Madre by going up Battle Creek, and then using one of the many Indian trails to the north of Bridger Peak. Marshall Sprague describes this in his book "The Great Gates". On the other side their trail led them to Jack Creek. That is the approximate crossing of this forest road or less possibly two others further south, which also funnel into Jack Creek.