Powder River Pass Road Eastern Summit s(u)

Powder River Pass only has one official summit. But there is a point on the eastern approach, which is separated by more than a 500ft drop (~580ft) from the pass. As geography would have it, an interesting dirt road can be used to approach this point directly. But even without the dirt road approach, I am counting this one as a separate summit. See also the Powder River Pass profile.

1.(mile00.0,4670ft)START-END EAST downtown Buffalo
2.(mile21.4,8380ft)TOP: Powder River Pass Rd eastern summit s(u)
3.(mile25.9,7900ft)profile turns left onto Crazy Woman Canyon Rd
4.(mile39.3,5060ft)START-END SOUTH: jct: Crazy Woman Rd - Old Wy87/Wy196


From North.
The town Buffalo has a historic old row of houses surrounding downtown. A number of sculptures depict the pursuit and attack themes of the wild west, for the benefit of violence starved tourists, wandering about the restaurants with their cameras. There is, for example a statue of a wolf or dog about to jump onto a weary looking sheep. Across the street, in front of the bank, a horseman shoots the cattle of another, while the horse of the first party looks on with a deeply profound stare. Finally, after making the turn east  towards Powder River Pass, a Wyatt Earp mustache type comes storming out of an official looking building with guns blazing, one in each hand - just a statue of course.

^ : views from paved northern approach, from one of the break check stops
v : leaving unpaved Crazy Woman Canyon, heading east

Riding out of Buffalo an abandoned bike path parallels the road for the first several miles. It's still rideable with a mountain bike, but the excellent spacious shoulder without rumble strips is probably a better choice for a road bike. Both sides of the Powder Pass roads have labels, pointing out the many geologic formations (formations in the sence of layers, I want to say all, but don't know this for a fact) that are encountered next to the road. The first one on this side is the Wasatch Conglomerate, a very new stream deposit (Eocene 38-55 million years) that is like the icing on the cake.

Next comes the star of the west side of Powder River Pass. The Bighorn Dolomite is one of the major cliff forming rocks of Tensleep Canyon. But here on the east side, comparatively there is hardly a trace, and hence no canyon. But instead there are nice far views of the crest of the Bighorns, which form quite an escarpment when seen from this angle. The best view of them on this entire profile is from the first point followed by a small drop.

Lingering at this view point, on the other side of the road, an sign advertises a unique runaway truck ramp with some sort of elastic strings. A photograph of a runaway truck survivor shows him making a kneefall, next to his restrained truck, with praying hands directed skywards. -Quite an theatrically produced advertisement.

From here on the road envelopes itself more and more in trees. It crosses a granite dike. But to verify that this is really granite would require some time off the bike, and the road then gets rather quickly into precambrian granite gneiss. One more overlook, the Loaf Mountain Overlook takes the tourist a few feet above the road to show off the  Bighorn escarpment. The summit is reached on the shallow climb after the overlook, immediately before the FR148 turnoff. There is no view or sign here.

From South. (described downwards) But US14 does descend from here, rolling across pleasing high meadows. The profile turns left onto, what the sign labels as CR33 Crazy Woman Canyon Road. The De Lorme Gazeteer labes this road as yet another part of Hazelton Road. The upper part of the steep descend is like many other forested mountain canyons. But approaching the middle to bottom, the road crosses a formation that has eroded by braking apart into huge boulders, that now form a few natural bridges (of a sort) across Crazy Woman Creek. The road tries to squeeze by on the side.

Crazy Woman Canyon road exits the mountains with a small climb that give a fitting perspective on the flatirons that make up this particular front range. To the east the treeless prairie presents itself in waves of lumpy badlands, like an ocean with waves. The profile goes all the way down to pavement on Wy196.

Dayride with this point as highest summit


( < Powder River Pass | Cutler Hill > )
Powder River Pass Road , Tisdale Divide : near jct FR148 - US14 > US14 west > down CR33 Crazy Woman Creek Road > Wy196 north > Tisdale Divide > several miles around Buffalo > US14 west > Powder River Pass Rd eastern summit s(u) > back to starting point: 56.8miles with 5100ft of climbing in 5:12hrs (Garmin etrex30 m5:15.8.5).