Day Three – Commisary Ridge

We started by going to the Wrangler Café (KMZ) for breakfast.  We chose this spot because it looked like the spot where the locals went.  We jumped on the bikes and rode 106 miles down US189 to Kemmerer.  We passed through Daniel on the way there and stopped for gas in La Barge.  Once in Kemmerer the trip really begins.  We were already chilled by the roughly 90 minute trip at speeds of 70mph and a temperature of about 40º.  In Kemmerer we picked up W233 to the west and north.  This is also called the Hams Fork River Rd.  The paved road climbs a bit and at mile #4 we crossed the river.  We traveled through a small valley between the Hams Fork Plateau on the west and Commissary Ridge on the east.  There was an abundance of fishing spots along the river on the west side of the road, and plenty of people fishing.  We passed by Viva Naughton Reservoir (KMZ), found a trail off of the pavement and rode to an overlook high above the reservoir for a brief stop.  After 20 miles the pavement finally ended but not before we crossed over Beaver Creek and Teddy Bear corner.  We had heard about the corner but didn’t know the genesis behind it.  As we were traveling through the valley we noticed some nice trails along the ridge to our east.  We climbed up a steep ridge and found some trails with great views (KMZ) of the reservoir to the south and one of the road with the river along side.  Back down on the road we crossed Pole Creek and the valley began to narrow (KMZ).  Just beyond the creek crossing we could see where the West Fork of the Hams River met the main stream.  Shortly after the dirt road began we entered the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  Here the road changed fairly dramatically from packed gravel to very loose gravel with more dirt mixed in.  After riding on this surface I began to wonder if they did this to keep the speeds down for people like us.  If that was the intent it worked.  We were not creeping, but we went from cruising at 50mph to about 30mph.  The sparse frontier-look quickly converted to lodgepole pine and aspen trees.  We passed by the old Elk Creek Ranger Station and the Hams Fork campground.  We came upon a fork in the road where one fork led to a 4WD road that goes to Green Knoll and Big Park.  The other fork to the west follows basin creek and leads to the entrance of Nugent Park.  We took the latter.  After a few short miles we took a trail down to basin creek for a stop.  The trail dead-ended at the creek.  After our stop we tuned around and headed back towards W232 and Cokeville.  We came upon W232 where the pavement ends.  South to Cokeville on pavement or north on dirt.  We headed north.  We were out of the National Forest and once again the roads were better packed allowing us to increase speed.  Muddy Ridge was to our west and the Tunp Range on our right.  We spotted more trails along Tunp Range and rode up for a glimpse and some pictures.  We could see Mount Wagner to the north.  After about six miles back on the road we entered back into the National Forest, and the road began climbing through a small canyon.  We came upon a decision point as we rode along La Barge Creek.  Our original route had us going back to La Barge and Big Piney but I read where the lower portion of Greys River Road was worth the trip and I had not planned for us to be on that portion.  So we decided to head north on Greys River Rd and see if the literature was correct.  It was.  A lot of trails merged in this small area.  Mount Thompson was in view to the south, Commissary Ridge and Indian Springs were off the to the east.  One road led back to Smiths Fork Road, and another back to Kemmerer along Fontenelle Creek.  We continued north on Grey River Rd.  We climbed a small saddle on the Tri-Basin Divide.  Water here either travels to the Columbia River, the Colorado River, or the Great Basin.  The road dropped down past spruce and fir trees as we began following the Greys River.  Wyoming Peak was to the North, Wyoming Range to the east, and the Salt River Range to the west.   The road then passed just below Mount Coffin and three miles later we passed Spring Creek Road.  We stopped along the Tri-Basin divide for some pictures (KMZ).  We crossed over Swift Creek and past the Cazier Guard Station.  We turned east on Deadline Rd looking for a trail along the ridge, but it appeared to be only a hiking trail.  Back out on Greys River Rd we came upon Sheep’s Creek Rd that goes over McDougal Pass, eventually turning into McDougal Pass Rd.  We climbed up the pass through Sheep Creek Canyon.  This area is just plain beautiful as we passed over the Wyoming Range.  We passed over Hardin Creek, and soon were following Cottonwood Creek.  We were quickly back into the open range.  We followed Cottonwood-Merna Rd, and made a turn to the north before finding ourselves back at Daniel Junction and the feeder road back to Pinedale.  We had stopped on a bluff overlooking the open range for a rest and picture session.  Back in Pinedale, we washed up and headed back to the Wrangler for dinner (KMZ).