Muddy Mountain Road s(u)


Muddy Mountain is a tree lovers paradise in the sea of dessert around Casper. It belongs the northern end of the Laramie Mountains. Here this range does not have the scenic low rocky peaks with billowing rock outcrops, like further north around Laramie Peak. Instead these are sweeping plateaus with a thick, still healthy pine forest on top. Unlike many of the other forests, the pine beetle seems to have limited reach here up to now (2015).

It seems like many things are called Muddy in east central Wyoming. There is an abundance of Muddy Creeks, even if it really does not rain very often.


1.(mile00.0,5660ft)START-END WEST: jct Wy487 - Circle Dr
2.(mile13.4,8010ft)profile turns right onto Muddy Mtn Rd; left goes to ski area
3.(mile12.4,8290ft)TOP
4.(mile15.6,7620ft)profile turns right down plateau
5.(mile16.3,7170ft)START-END EAST-ALT: jct with Piava Lake Rd; profile turns right
6.(mile27.9,5470ft)START-END EAST: jct Piava Lake Rd - Wy253

Approaches

From South.
Circle Drive, a good dirt road climbs from Wy487 past a red cliff and a Cheney Ranch to a grand dirt road boulevard intersection. This is also an unnamed pass. Let's call it Circle Drive - Beaver Creek(sh). Going straight heads back down to Wy253 on a extremely cyclable ranching road through public land.

The two other options climb steeply. The one to the left connects to paved Wy251 on top of Casper Mountain. The profile takes the only option left, on the right, a climb on a wide gravel road heading west to Muddy Mountain and its campground. The road climbs the plateau in one sweeping turn. On the way a high meadow with views in two opposing directions and a host of semi dead trees and rock outcrops is the most inspiring location on this ride. Looking down, the plateau has a thin harder layer of caprock at about half height, giving the table a picturesque second rim.

From here the road climbs only intermittently and a few feet at a time. Entering the Muddy Mountain area, there is an astonishing amount of infrastructure, considering how remote this area is: a developed campground, appropriately named Lodgepole, hiking trails through the forest, a plethora of educational tablets, a porch constructed from wood to look out over the north and its far reaching spaces.

I have a short conversation with a couple resting here with their two haute couteur miniature dogs. The woman tells me how much Casper has changed from 25 years ago, when she moved away. We talk about the spacious. wide streets of Rawlins. "Yes, some streets are so wide they painted white lines on the sides, just so that the bicycles have a extra space", her husband adds. Yes - that really is a nice idea.

My map shows trails or roads going down the east side of this mountain to make a connection with Wy253 and eventually Casper. I check out one of the trails. But it leads me in a loop back up to Muddy Mountain. Along the way I encounter a big truck parked next to a makeshift tarp camp, surrounded with coolers, plastered with Coors Light logos. It's a mystery how this truck got here. One direction is a two track trail, which is closed to motorized traffic, the other direction is so deeply rutted you could not drive down here.

I check out one more of all the unsigned turnoffs. It turns to sand and leads to many more unsigned forks. But there is a nicely developed road back down on the north side, immediately before entering the Muddy Mountain developed facilities. That is the route on the profile, and the junction is also the highest point.



From North. (described downwards) This road quickly descends to the rim at half height, and then follows it back to the west. Here I see the only person on a bicycle on my rides in the Rawlins area, and that includes several miles along the Platte River multi use path: a woman climbing the route on a mountain bike. This is indirect evidence that there is a ski area nearby.

This track forks. One option allows connecting back to the southern approach at half height. But the profile takes a right through a gate and connects to the "extremely cyclable ranching road through public land, connecting to Wy253" mentioned above. Most rides will turn left here and head back up to the Circle Drive - Beaver Creek(sh). But I continued the profile on this side to the point where the road connects to Wy253.

Dayride with this point as highest summit:

COMPLETELY UNPAVED ROADS AND TRAILS:

( < CR505 Casper Mtn Rd - Circle Drive(sh) | CR67 Slip Rd northern summit s(u) >
Muddy Mountain Rd s(u) , Circle Drive - Beaver Creek(sh) , additional out and back : a short distance up Circle Drive > Circle Drive - Beaver Creek(shp) > up Muddy Mountain Rd > loop on unmarked trails on east side of mountain > around Muddy Mountain Loop road with short additional out and back > Muddy Mountain Rd s(u) > down unmarked road on north side <> out and back on road following Beaver Creek downvalley to turnaround point aproximately 480ft below junction >> Circle Drive - Beaver Creek(sh) > back to starting point on Circle Drive: 35.8miles with 4045ft of climbing in 4:32hrs (Garmin etrex30 m5:15.7.29)