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Wild Horse Loop s(u)

Looking at this from an outsider's point of view ...  Travelling through Wyoming on I80, the section through Green River (and also Rock Springs) stands out in most people's memories. The road carves through creme colored cliffs and buttes with a few tunnels, and the town slightly below is orgainzed around the Green River.

This is a scenic loop road, that climbs these cliffs north Green River and Rock Springs - easily the most scenic ride in this area. Still the cars I met up here can be counted with two hands, and the number of cyclists without the use of any hands. Large sweeping views of the dessert below are the main attraction. On the wildlife side - enormous piles of horse manure on to the road are also a potential point of interest.

1.START-END WEST: downtown Green River
2.profile turns right up Wild Horse Canyon Rd
3.Wild Horse Loop via Gookin-White Mtn Rd(sh) 7520ft
4.jct with Gookin - White Mtn Rd (to Rock Springs) on right
6.profile turns right on US191, and shortly after that onto Yellowstone Rd
7.START-END EAST: low point in Rock Springs along Killpecker Creek


From West.
When following the I80 business loop through the attractive town of Green River in a westward direction, the Wild Horse Canyon turnoff is immediately before the business loop goes back on the interstate.

While I80 tours the buttes and towers around this dessert town from an 4 lane perspective, this option will offer a perspective from above. The wide, hard medalled dirt road starts out in a more restricted way, followiwng a bare, desolate canyon. But it does not take long for the road to reach the sweeping top. The road touches the edge of the rolling plateau several times, and there are innumerable opportunities to explore the rim further. In the valley below, Union Pacific trains, often several in a single panorama, and each one a mile or longer, take 10 minutes to traverse the entire field of view, speckled with rocky towers, white banded rock formations looking like curtains, and a uniform carpet of square street pattern below.

Without a map it is virtually impossible to tell where the highest point is. Even with a map, you could debate it. I think it is the knoll immediately after the unsigned turnoff onto the Gookin White Mtn Rd, another approach up from Rock Springs. A point that is only 10 to 20ft lower is traversed immediately before reaching the turnoff. Up to the turnoff the road has been intermediately smooth hard medalled.. After this the gravel becomes a little coarser. But it is still easily ridable and free of washboard.

From East. Past the highest point this road takes on a more desolate feel. After the road turns to the north, a prominent butte to the north becomes the main landmark. This is Pilot Butte, the highest point on White Mountain. All along, informational displays along the road have been illustrating the history of the Oregon trail and railroad below. Here - instead they inform about the wild horses and the piles of horse manure so prominently displayed along the road. Apparently stud horses use them to mark their territory, using them multiple times to build them up to 3 feet high.

Meanwhile the precipice next to the road has slowly given way to a vast sweeping view of the Green River Basin. The Wind River Range is supposed to form the ultimate snow covered background, but this year it has been replaced by a smoky curtain.

The final decent down into the valley is much more gentle than expected - a non event so to speak. This wedge shaped landform seemlessly integrates into the basin. It is only necessary to travel on US191 for a very short distance. Then the excellent traffic free (paved) Yellowstone Road leads back along the bottom of the cliff that has just been traversed on the top. In order to close the loop in Green River itself, a short section on I80 is necessary (unless you make a major detour, which I have not explored).

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

Dayride with this point as highest summit:


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Wild Horse Loop s(u) : several miles up Wild Horse Canyon > up Wild Horse Canyon > White Mountain Rd north east > Wild Horse Loop s(u) > 14 mile road east > Yellowstone Rd south > Rock Springs with detour > I80 service road west > I80 west > Green River > back up Wild Horse Canyon to starting point: 56.6miles with 2510ft of climbing in 4:48hrs (garmin etrex30 m3:20.9.22)