The next day, we got up and packed our truck as we would be returning home that evening. Our usual breakfast place was closed and so we went to the other café in Dubois and after a short wait we drank several cups of coffee along with the usual bacon eggs and toast breakfast.
After breakfast we fueled up the truck, before driving to the Shoshone National Forest Service Office. After masking up, we were allowed in and greeted by the friendly forest service ranger lady. We told her of our desire to cross Union Pass, and after looking out to see our four-wheel drive truck she said we shouldn’t have any problem.
She said that the first part of the trip, up Union Pass Road, was quite good but things would get rougher after we crossed the continental divide. She cautioned us to be sure to have a full tank and then asked how long we had lived in Wyoming. After telling her we had lived here for forty-four years she smiled and said we shouldn’t have any problem.
She did mention that as we neared the Green River. We should take it easy and go slow as some people had broken their axles on that stretch of the road, hmmm. Now I had been taught how to drive four -wheel drive roads, and mud by several friends and so I envisioned rocks marked by metal scrapes from oil pans. Also, I had seen where people had left pieces of their taillights, so I expected the worse.
Leaving Dubois, it only took a few minutes to reach the Union Pass turn off and we drove up a steep but wide gravel road. We were treated to a great view, and we could eve see some of the Absarokas, including one mountain above Frontier Creek which was over thirty miles away.
The road was about as good as any Wyoming gravel road and as we neared the first plateau the road was lined with large and fancy log cabins. It was really beautiful, but we couldn’t imagine driving up that steep road in the winter. Soon we reached a huge plateau covered in grass, brush, and sage.
The cabins had disappeared and next we spotted a sign for the Union Pass historic site! Parking, we walked up a short hill where plaques had been affixed to boulders describing the pass and the surrounding mountains,
Fur trappers had been shown the pass by native Americans, the Astor expedition had used it in 1811, and it was given its name by the Captain William F Rayonlds during his expedition to Yellowstone, just before the Civil War, (the name referred to the pass being the divide for three major rivers). He was guided by Jim Bridger).
Ramshorn Mountain was to the north and to the southeast we could see the top of the Wind Rivers, with one of the huge glaciers there partially visible, already covered with fresh snow.
Next a large sign warned of grizzly bears and special regulations required while camping in the area. We passed quite a few hunting camps, and all had hoists where the hunters could tie up their kills and food above any grizzly bears reach.
It was a perfect time to cross Union Pass as the Aspen had turned golden yellow and orange which contrasted with the green pines and firs, (there weren’t any red colored foliage here).
Renita snapped image after image, while I concentrated on watching the road for any large rocks.
The plateau was relatively flat as we passed Lake of the Woods and Mosquito Lake. We only stopped for pictures and did not take the side road to see Lake of the Woods, (it was hidden by trees).
The road narrowed as we drove by large rocks that made me keep a vigilant eye as I had to carefully choose our path.
Heading down towards the Green River, it narrowed further, and the conditions worsened, requiring my full attention.
I slowed down and carefully missed all the rocks that might cause problems, but it really wasn’t a problem as our truck had high enough clearance and I went slow,(the road is not suitable for passenger cars).
We finally made it to the Green River Bridge at the intersection with the Green River Lakes Road, (highly recommended).
From there we headed to the Forty Rod Road and then headed down towards Hoback Junction.
We hadn’t seen any wildlife but as we drove down the highway a flock of Bighorn sheep threatened to cross the road and so we stopped for pictures.
Bighorn lambs were in the flock, and they were starting to grow their horns.
Sighting the Bighorns was the perfect end to a great trip into the mountains.
Ps, this year, we purchased the Onx Hunt app for our phone, and we strongly recommend it. It allowed us to track our passage and allowed us to know we were on the right forest service road. We get nothing from any purchase as this is a non-commercial blog