Snowy Range Pass 


The major ranges in the eastern two thirds of Wyoming are big rounded masses of rock in the shape of sleeping elephants, but only when seen from the hazy distance. They lack the sheer vertical drops of ranges further west. But these mountains, that block the free flow of east west traffic for hundreds of miles, involve some big climbs. One reason for the existence of roads through these mountains is, that at least the eastern ranges are rounded enough that roads can climb them more easily. Snowy Range Pass is the highest of these eastern Wyoming passes.

1. (00.0km~00.0mi, 2479m~8133ft) START-END EAST: Centennial
2. (19.3km~12.0mi, 3306m~10847ft) TOP: Snowy Range Pass
3. (21.9km~13.6mi, 3220m~10564ft) road passes Mirror Lake
4. (49.1km~30.5mi, 2375m~7792ft) jct with Ryan Park Rd, profile stays left on Wy130
5. (63.5km~39.5mi, 2116m~6942ft) START-END WEST: Wy130 crosses the North Platte River, just before jct wit Wy230, south of Saratoga


Approaches

From East. Wy130 leads from Laramie to Centennial through a stark, treeless landscape typical for eastern Wyoming. Once the Laramie Mountains come into sight they stay there, and the shape of a gigantic wave of rock, breaking on the shore of a sagebrush dessert is a captivating sight.

Passing through the collection of buildings that are Centennial, the trademark fake police car with the strange markings including a 911 decal is still there. It once had a fake Indian sitting in the driver's seat, but that police car from the 80s has been replaced with a newer, more respectable Cadillac.

From Centennial the road starts a short steep climb to where it enters the forest. The bulk of the ride is a long, uniformly climbing forest road with few if any landmarks. Then, all of a sudden the road enters a clearing and the summit ridge of the Snowy Range can be seen ahead, a lip of rock that stretches the width of the view. The road passes to the south of the main ridge and reaches a high point. There is no pass sign and the short, very scenic portion of the trip starts from here. For the next few miles the road remains at or above treeline.



From West.
(also described upwards) Immediately after Wy130 diverts from Wy230 it crosses the North Platte and forms a low point where the profile starts. The road undulates upwards in straight line through sage brush and cattle country. The Medicine Bow Range ahead is a series of breadloaf like shapes in the distance, the tops reaching above tree line. Eventually the road enters a short canyon of billowing rocks, crosses a meadow and enters into the Medicine Bow National Forest. Here too the bulk of the workout is a long straight, uniformly climbing road through the forest without any man made structures, just like on the eastern side - with one exception: A sign stating "tourist activities" points to a collection of huts in Ryan. Apparently a lodge there is sometimes open on weekends. When I was there only a barking dog answered. Finally reaching treeline, the short very scenic portion begins. The road passes by several lakes lying at the foot of the main ridge, the main one named Mirror Lake. The whole scene is somewhat similar to the other "Mirror Lake Highway" through the Uinta Mountains of Utah. A couple of switchbacks improve the viewing angle onto the ridge even more and the road reaches what seems like a high point at Libbys Flat. This is where the first sight of the plains to the east come into view. A rocky viewing platform informs further about the view. The road rolls over a few more high waves in the landscape to reach the real summit without much extra climbing involved.



Tours

Dayrides.

An out and back ride: Centennial <> Snowy Range Pass <> jct Wy130 - Wy230, including a short additional approach from FR338 measured 80miles with 7600ft of climbing in 7hours, on a very windy day in September, but windy days are common here. The climbing altitude may be somewhat inflated due to the windy weather.

Three Day Road Tour: A three day tour, dubbed the Cowboy loop by DBTC Denver city slickers was as follows: day 1: Laramine > Snowy Range Pass > Saratoga. day 2: Saratoga > Walden (Co), day 3: Walden > Foxpark Divide > Laramie. (m1:88.07.02-04)





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