FR10 Hunt Mountain Road s(u)

Hunt Mountain Road connects the two northern most, paved passes in the Bighorn Mountains, Granite Pass and Baldy Pass. In this area the Bighorn Mountains really are more of a plateau than a mountain range. There are two interesting aspects to this road: first, the out and back possibilities to the rim of Shell Canyon, and second the windswept treeless desolation of the top section.


1.(mile00.0,8070ft) START-END EAST-1: low point on US14 at jct with FR159
2.(mile01.6,8110ft)At Burgess Jct the profile turns right onto US16
3.(mile11.3,8970ft)route turns right onto FR10, just before Granite Pass
4.(mile15.4,9600ft)turnoff to FR217 on left. This leads to an overlook over Shell Canyon
5.(mile30.8,10020ft)TOP: highest point on FR10 Hunt Mountain Road
6.(mile3.8,9260ft)profile turns right on US14 from Granite Pass
7.(mile45.2,8070ft)START-END EAST-2: low point on US14, same as point1

Approaches

From South.
I started this end of the profile at a low point on the east side of Granite Pass. But you could also start in Shell on the west side for a more impressive elevation gain.

The turnoff to FR10 is about 70ft below the summit of Granite Pass on the east side. From here a few curves with the radius the size of a football field, the road gradually climbs into ever more treeless expanses. At what seems like a first summit FR217 on the left climbs a little higher and then descends ~400ft to the rim of Shell Canyon. This trail is much rougher than FR10 and the shortest option to get to the canyon rim. The view is worth the trip. But this is the only optional sidetrip to the rim that I tried. This sidetrip is not included in the elevation profile, but I did put a picture in the slide show.

After the canyon views this FR10 seems a little anticlimactic with its rolling hills stretching to infinity, the only real landmark the high peaks in the Cloud Peak Wilderness area,  fading into a flat horizon. However it gets better. Soon a long line of sculpted looking rocks appear as a complete contrast to the vast flowing green surfaces that the road has been crossing. These rocks very close to FR10, but FR808 leads through them for a closer look and an ideal lunch spot. The road is much closer to the edge of the plateau now, and a straight cliff of Shell Canyon can be seen where the table falls off into the basin.

Back on FR10 the road just rolls along and I check my altimeter with every bump if a new high point has been reached. But this doesn't happen until almost the end of Hunt Road, and then it is obvious. The sweeping quality of the landscape reaches new heights, and it's hard to believe that this high elevation can appear so flat or barely rounded.  Not far away the pavement of the Granite Pass Road slices across the green lump below like a line in a schematic drawing. In the other direction Cloud Peak and company seem at eye level, but ever so distant.

From North. A short curvy descend between high grassy cones intersects with US14alt, again east of its summit, about 200ft below it. The profile goes down the east side. This is fast straight ride with a few mild bends but no curves. Cliffs poke into the landscape between trees. The road becomes a mild slope in the high shallow grassy bowl of the Tongue River. The profile continues to Burgess Jct, where it meets up with the southern approach.


Dayride with this point as highest summit

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

( < Cutler Hill s(u) | FR17 Paintrock Rd s(u) > )
FR10 Hunt Mountain Road s(u) , additional out and back : near jct FR652 - US14 > US14 west > FR10 Hunt Mtn Rd north <> out and back to end of FR217 > FR10 north > FR10 Hunt Mountain Rd s(u) > US14alt east > Burgess Jct > US14 west > back to starting point: 55.8miles with 4230ft of climbing in 5:52hrs (Garmin etrex30 m5:15.8.9).
Notes: a remarkably cool ride for the middle of August. I never took my jacket off.