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Wyoming and Montana Road Construction


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A buddy and I rode the Big Horn Mountains Monday, June 7th and I thought I'd give a personal report. I rode from Lander and met my friend in Shoshoni (he's from Casper). We rode Hwy 20/789 through Wind River Canyon to Worland, then Hwy 16 to Ten Sleep and over the Big Horns to Buffalo, up I-90 to Ranchester, then back over the Big Horns via Hwy 14 through Burgess Junction to Greybull and back to Thermopolis and eventually home. Here are some details by section:


Lander to Shoshoni: road construction between Lander and Hudson, chip-sealing new asphalt put down last year. No delays, just dust and flying rocks for a few miles, should be all done by the UnRally dates. Road construction in Riverton, rebuilding Main Street, but good detours and no delays. Minor construction on the causeway over Boysen Reservoir, but no delays, new asphalt.


Shoshoni to Worland (Wind River Canyon): no construction, lots of fun, fast sweepers and little traffic, good asphalt all the way, Wind River Canyon is gorgeous! There are three short narrow tunnels at the south end, go slow and watch for big trucks coming at you.


Worland to Ten Sleep: Older but good asphalt to about fifteen miles from Ten Sleep, then road construction for about ten miles. Some new asphalt with grading along shoulders on-going, one stretch about four miles of compacted road base, water trucks, stopped traffic. One tricky section where a new bridge is being put in, the detour is through soft rutted road base, where we passed a wrecked Gold Wing with a trailer there (laying on it's side with both feet in the air, but no one was hurt) bncry.gif. The flaggers waved us to the head of the line of traffic and gave us a detailed description and tried to scare us off, said they lose about one bike a day, and then let us set the pace behind the pilot car. It wasn't bad, just soft and rutted, but for only a hundred yards or so. After that, about four miles of rotomilled asphalt at 50 mph or so, not bad but be careful. The last few mile into Ten Sleep were untouched. Nice lunch at a little cafe (sorry, can't dredge up the name!).


Ten Sleep to Buffalo: Great asphalt up tight swithbacks and long sweepers in Ten Sleep Canyon, plenty of passing zones, then fabulous asphalt and dozens of high-speed sweepers over the Big horns for almost 50 miles! Perfect! Chilly up there at 10,000 feet! Road construction on the downhill section for about ten miles west of Buffalo, but very little to be concerned about, just slow and some short waits. CAUTION: if you are headed West out of Buffalo and up this section, you will be stuck for MILES behind slow RV traffic; going down (East) isn't bad at all.


Buffalo to Ranchester on I-90: What can I say, it's high-speed slab with a view, hot and dry already.


Ranchester to Burgess Junction via Hwy 14: Some of the finest twisties in Wyoming coming out of Ranchester, really fast constant radius curves, most are banked, great asphalt (it's red because they use scoria in the asphalt mix!), not too much traffic. There are almost no passing zones on the steep twisty section climbing out of Ranchester, but, um, good enough sight distances that you can pass those slow RV's if you want but watch your speed into the next corner! The highway opens up on top, older asphalt but lots of passing zones. I counted seven moose and about fifty deer between Fallen City and Shell Canyon, so watch out!


Burgess to Greybull on Hwy 14: Older asphalt but good condition, kinda narrow, good sight distances, no construction. Shell Falls is gorgeous, with a nice rest area and visitor's center. Some of the turns in Shell Canyon are decreasing radius, some have a turn with a short straight stretch and then the turn continues, you must pay close attention! There are a couple of really tight switchbacks coming down toward Shell Falls, go slow in those.


Greybull to Worland: no construction, good asphalt, hot and dry, lots of farm equipment on the road and a zillion driveways with people pulling off/onto the highway. Home via the route already described.


I rode Lander to Casper and back Sunday June 13th in stunning wind, thought it was going to suck my helmet off! I have a football player neck now. Highway 287/789 from Lander to Muddy Gap is great, no road construction. Muddy Gap to Casper via Hwy 220 is the same, good condition. I came back via Hwy 26/20 through Shoshoni, no construction and great asphalt all the way. Lots of wind out here! Shoshoni to Lander, see above.


Hope that helps some of you!

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Doug, Thanks for the details. Keep the reports coming so get out and ride every road in WYO and report back.!!

It will be fun to get on some good roads after the dreaded

1,000 mile Il through Neb flat stuff. I am thinking of cutting NW on Rt 26 to Casper,to Shoshini,north to Cody either the cut off on 120 or the long way up to Graybull and over.Any comments??

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Hey Mister Zoom! Great name! I HAVE ridden every road in this state! Overall we have great roads with very light traffic.


I assume from your description that you'll be doing most of your westward trek on the Dreaded Interstate 80. Gawd, that's too bad. If you are talking about cutting I-80 to I-25 via Hwy 26 (Scottsbluff, NE through Torrington, WY) you'll love it! I lived in Scottsbluff for two years, very nice country down there. Hwy 26 follows the North Platte River, lots of farm country (watch for farm machinery going really slow on the roads!!) and small towns, so it will be slower than the Slab but very nice scenery and more turns. Hot. Bugs. I-25 slab to Casper, then real good roads on Hwy 26 to Shoshoni. Wind River Canyon is great to Thermopolis, then my suggestion is Hwy 120 through Meeteetse to Cody, it's great asphalt and almost no traffic (but watch for deer and antelope!) and no farm implements all over the highway. I'm travelling that stretch tomorrow on the way to Powell for some work. If you go through Greybull it's longer with a lot more traffic, many small towns and the dreaded farm machinery thing. Those things scare me, you Zoom over a hill and there's this massive thing taking up the whole highway doing ten miles an hour....


Another option to consider would be heading up Hwy 59 from I-25 at Douglas and hitting I-90 at Gillette, then west to Sheridan and on up to Ranchester, then over the Big Horns (see my previous post). It's probably not too much longer but man is that a great ride on Hwy 14/14A, especially the climb out of Ranchester and the drop back into the Big Horn Basin. Hwy 59 from Douglas to Gillette is almost all new asphalt in the last several years, wide open High Plains cruisin', very neat country with buffalo and cattle ranches, lots of antelope. Several of the biggest coal mines on earth are found along that highway. Traffic usually isn't too bad at all. It can be MILES between gas stations out here, so watch your fuel closely. Options! Ride safely, but FAST!


P.S. The American Honda Goldwing Riders had their rally here in Lander this weekend, it was seriously chilly (low 50's) and rainy the entire weekend! We had lots of soggy campers in City Park frown.gif. That was the first precipitation we've had in a month. Go figure.

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Just one more note: If you do come up hw 59 here to Gillette,Wy. Try to stay north on hw 14/16 north out of Gillette and take hw 14 into Sheridan! Nice ride through Spotted Hores and Ucross into Sheridan. Also it is right by Eagle Butte coal mine. You can stop and see all the big mining trucks and shovels right by the road at the viewing stand from the hw! welcome.gif Ok just one more note: HW 50 southeast out of Gillette,Wy has had some major delays of up to 45min at times! Yes, road construction BIG time!!!!!!! bncry.gif

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So, TNT, I take it maybe you work at the mines, maybe a blasting foreman? Ha ha ha! I'm a geologist and have studied coal forming environments, what we have in Wyoming's Powder River Basin is unique in the World. Cool stuff!


I totally agree, stay on Hwy 14/16, a gorgeous ride with good asphalt and very very light traffic (and correspondingly light enforcement of speed limits...). The area around Ucross is just gorgeous! Watch for deer and antelope (and turkeys, coyotes, maybe elk, etc.). If we have our way, no one will have to ride more than a few miles of dreaded SLAB on their entire trip through our back yard!

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Wow, thanks for the suggestions on routes. I've been on several of those roads and they are impressive!!!!!!!!!!!

Today I think 26 to 59 to 14.to Cody sounds good.

I've been in Wyo many times but never did the Rt 59 soooo off we go. welcome.gif

If anyone wants to ride along I will be leaving Chi July 9th in the early, early Am and heading west at a high rate of Zoom! Zoom is not just speed but a total feeling of Wow! Great! Terific!! etc. welcome.gifwelcome.gifwelcome.gif

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Yeeha! Stephen

Doug & TNT,


OK Boys, I've got a question or two. I'm coming straight up from Paonia through Craig, then picking up 287 at Rawlins and heading to Cody via Lander and Shoshoni.


Near Lander, from 287, 135 shows to cut the corner to Riverton. One of my maps shows 135 to be dirt. Another shows paved... know "Whas Up" there?


Otherwise the ride looks kinda boring for the first 1/2. Is the ride over to Rock Springs and on to Lander via 28 any better.


I really need to do a fairly straight shot, 'cause I've got to meet Miss Vicki at the Cody airport Monday evening. Leaving Paonia Monday morning means a 600 mile day to get there to meet her on time.


Anything to avoid down there?



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Yeeha! Stephen, yes I do think that the last time that I was on 135 it was paved and good road into Riverton! thumbsup.gif Doug can say, this road is home to him. wink.gif I do like your way up to Cody, for good time Rawlins, Riverton to Thermopolis on into Cody. I think this will be the best for you. thumbsup.gif Note: Weather up here so far has been WET and COOL todate. You boys from down south need to bring your winter gear if it stays like this. It should warm up by mid July, but this is Wyoming! Can snow all year over some passes frown.gif Temps at night, 30s to 40s. Temps in the days, some have only been 50s to upper 70s. So far not many 80s. Now that I have said that, it will be 95 everyday. LOL grin.gif

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Yeeha! Stephen

Thanks Mike,


The Hot weather/Cool weather gear for those going to Spokane is some debate down here. I'm taking both, plus my Gerbings just in case. Yea, I'm a Wus...

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Hi guys, lots of interest in Wyoming road routes and conditions all of a sudden, must be getting close to something.... clap.gif


I just returned from Powell, a small farming community 25 miles East of Cody. My previous posts warned of farm equipment on the roads; guess what today's headline in the Powell paper was? A lady in a minivan smashed into the back of a tractor, no one was killed but it was a nasty wreck. Anyway, here's a quick update:


There's road construction in Wind River Canyon, actually just replacing guard rails and paving turn-outs through the whole canyon. The only delay is right where the crew is working, maybe five minutes. No bad asphalt, just a slow-down and bunched up traffic afterwards for a while.


There's about three miles of new roadway going in on Hwy 120 just outside of Meeteetse on the Cody side, no delay, just a detour and slow-down, good solid road but gravel. By the way, there's a nice rest area with potties and water at Gooseberry Creek, about halfway between Thermopolis and Cody.


Ditto three miles of R/C just outside of Cody on Hwy 16/14, no big deal, just a slow-down. Highway 14A to Powell is in great shape.


Highway 135 between Sweetwater Station and Riverton is actually a great piece of road, it travels along Beaver Rim with a fantastic view down into the Wind River Basin. It's good asphalt with very little traffic, but it's kinda narrow. It's mostly OPEN RANGE (no fences), so watch for critters! There is another nice rest area with potties and water at Sweetwater Station (Hwy 287 and 135 intersection). There's a tiny Mom & Pop gas station/bar/c-store there too, if you are brave or desperate, but they are NOT open around the clock. There is a gas station at Muddy Gap (287/220 intersection), same story. There is a bar/restaurant in Jeffrey City, but NO GAS! We have more bars than gas stations out here, so watch out, fuel up in the bigger towns!


Stephen, you aren't a wus, just smart! I carry everything from a swim suit to insulated Carhartts when I travel on the job up here! I am going to ride to/from Gunnison, Colorado (just over the hill from Paonia, I'll try and get over there!) the week of July 5th, and my preferred route is via Rawlins rather than Rock Springs (too far out of the way to the West). If I were going down or coming back up through Vernal, UT or that vicinity, Rock Springs is the choice. The ride from RS past Flaming Gorge and over the Uinta Mountains is outstanding scenery and many miles of twisty roads, and you'll go through every weather condition known to man in about 100 miles because of all the elevation changes.

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From Paonia I was considering a route through Grand Junction, Vernal, Rock Springs and on up to Cody. Would this be more scenic then the Rawlins route ? I know Hwy 50 is boaring but how about Hwy 139, my map indicates it as a scenic route.

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Hey there, Sir Rodney! As it happens, I just this minute got back to my office from a trip to far Western Wyoming (sadly, in an SUV work vehicle), so can report current road conditions in that area.


From Rock Springs you have at least three main routes to choose from: RS to Farson on Hwy 191, East over South Pass through Lander (my home!) to Riverton, Shoshoni, Thermopolis, Meeteetse, Cody. Straighest and quickest, definitely scenic, but not the most exciting route. No construction at all between RS and Lander, see earlier posts about Lander to Cody stuff.


From RS you could also go up 191 past Farson to Pinedale (gorgeous views of the Wind River Mountains the whole way, great camping areas abound once you get to Pinedale and beyond) and on through Bondurant and Hoback Canyon (some of the best high-speed sweepers in the region!!) to Jackson. From Jackson you can tour Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and trot into Cody from the West. This route is fantastically scenic with enough twisties to cure anyone's cravings, but longer and slower. No construction on this route until you hit the Rockefeller Parkway btwn GTNP and YNP (more below).


OR from RS you could head WNW through Kemmerer on Hwy 30 and then follow the western border of Wyoming up to Jackson and continue as above. I just came back from that route, it's just gorgeous going up through Cokeville, Border, over Salt River Pass on Hwy 89 (gorgeous high-speed twisties), up through the fantastic Star Valley through Afton, to Alpine Junction and along the Snake River Canyon to Jackson. The only construction I ran into between Kemmerer and Jackson was about a one mile stretch in Snake River Canyon where they are laying asphalt, the rest was just perfect. You've got to stop and watch the rafters and kayakers at Lunch Counter Rapids on the Alpine end of Snake River Canyon!


You could take Hwy 372/189 from Green River up through Big Piney, but that highway is old and narrow, and there is a ten mile long stretch where they've torn all the asphalt up and it's a dirt road. The construction is around the 372/189 intersection NE of Kemmerer and it's a mess. I saw two guys on an old Airhead with a sidecar in that stretch and they looked miserable.


I haven't been through Yellowstone yet this year, but I was working with a contractor ealier this week who came up through GTNP and YNP from Salt Lake City to Cody (and on to Powell). He was driving a one-ton truck with a huge trailer full of equipment for our job, and said the construction areas in Rockefeller Parkway and down Sylvan Pass to the East Entrance were nothing to really worry about. Yet. He said there were delays in the Parkway, but the roadway was easily passable. Apparently all they're doing on Sylvan so far is preliminary work like cutting trees and surveying. They're supposed to get serious later this summer and will be closing Sylvan from 8:00 PM until 8:00 AM until the Park closes later in the year.


As someone else said in an earlier post, these construction zones are pretty short and insignificant compared to the vast stretches of gorgeous country you will be travelling through. Definitely get yourself into Yellowstone and GTNP, it's worth the effort and small inconveniences!


And that's it for now....



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Thank you for the excellent ride report, makes me wish I had more time to spend in western WY. The time of day will determine my direction when I reach Rock Springs. There will be a cold Beer or 2 waiting for you in Cody.



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OR from RS you could head WNW through Kemmerer on Hwy 30 and then follow the western border of Wyoming up to Jackson and continue as above. I just came back from that route, it's just gorgeous going up through Cokeville, Border, over Salt River Pass on Hwy 89 (gorgeous high-speed twisties), up through the fantastic Star Valley through Afton, to Alpine Junction and along the Snake River Canyon to Jackson. The only construction I ran into between Kemmerer and Jackson was about a one mile stretch in Snake River Canyon where they are laying asphalt, the rest was just perfect. You've got to stop and watch the rafters and kayakers at Lunch Counter Rapids on the Alpine end of Snake River Canyon!

Yes, What Doug said! If you have the time Star Valley is just fantastic thumbsup.gif Something that some of you may like to see in The Big Horn Mountainseast from Cody: Medicine Wheel NAT' Historic landmark. On HW 14A at the top of the west face. ( just under a radar site, you can't miss it) Maybe a good stop to stretch your legs! Also over on HW14 is Shell Canyon Falls rest area, just one more nice stop! N.E. Wyoming: I just got off the phone with WYDOT and all the road constuction around Devils Tower Nat'l Mon is all finished thumbsup.gif Devils Tower was the first national monument. The roads up around the northern Black Hill are fantastic to ride! If one has time try HW 24 Aladdin, Hulett to Devils tower. Hw 14 loop is good also, 14 from Sundance to 24 to the tower and back down to 14 then west to Moorcroft,Wy to I-90 thumbsup.gif If you don't have the time for the short trip up to the tower. You can see Devils Tower from I-90. At mile marker 163 at the parking area up on a hill, you can look north and see the tower in the valley grin.gif Weather looking good so have fun! welcome.gif For those of you that are going thru N.E. Wyoming!
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The fine twisty roads through the Black Hills are responsible for me getting off my dirt bikes and getting into road biking - simply outstanding! Stay off the SLAB if at all possible! tongue.gif Lots of options!


Here's a little tidbit for you to chew on as you cruise Wyo and view things like Devil's Tower: This kind of thing is very rare in geological terms (it's the core of a laccolith), just like Yellowstone is rare (a "hot spot" like what is building the Hawaiian volcanoes), but Wyoming has one of every known geolical feature within it's boundaries! We even have diamond pipes (kimberlites) down south of Laramie!


I forgot to say last night that I have been over Togwotee Pass this week also, between Moran (GTNP) and Dubois on Hwy 287/26, and Hwy 89/191 etc. from Moran to Jackson. The only construction on that route is some geotechnical drilling way up on the Pass itself. Wyoming DOT is planning to rebuild the highway in the near future, but work this year is apparently limited to surveying, cutting some trees (better sight distances) and the geotech drilling. The drill rig takes up one lane and flaggers stop traffic right at the site of work, but it's only about a two minute delay. The asphalt on Togwotee is pretty rough and ratty, mostly cold-patch and kinda narrow, but the roadway is in pretty good condition. The rest of the roadway between Lander and Jackson is in great condition with no construction at all.


A co-worker was through the construction in GTNP near Flagg Ranch (south end of Rockefeller Parkway) on Monday, he said the road isn't torn up too badly at all but the delay was about 45 minutes. That will back up a LOT of traffic.


The highways between Rock Springs and Lander are in great shape with nothing going on there, and Rawlins to Lander is the same way.


It's looking like I may get over to Paonia when I'm down in Gunnison, I'll check out the corner of the City Park that this group is staking out! I may not be able to make it to Cody, but hopefully I can meet some of you in Colorado. thumbsup.gif



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