Platte County Highpoint Trip Report

two areas along a fence east-northeast of Indian Guide

Date: August 4, 2004
Author: Kevin Williamson

A northern route complete with access contact

Access Contact: Cody Evans (Ranch Forman) 307-322-2066

DeLorme Atlas: Pages 23 and 33
Topo Quads: Poe Mountain, Natwick SW, Indian Guide, and Delano Ranch

After receiving a very negative response for access from the northwest, I continued on to Wheatland Wyoming to spend the night. The next morning, I went straight to the county courthouse to try and locate the property owner of the highpoint and surrounding areas. The lady working in the tax office was very helpful in finding the information that I needed.

After leaving Wheatland, I headed southwest on state route 34 (SR34). I just wasnít going to accept NO for an answer. I needed to find a new way to the highpoint. I tried all roads heading east into the interior of Platte County from the old Wheatland Road (gravel, a.k.a. Road 12 in the Delorme) but had no success. I was bound and determined to try all roads before returning home to Georgia. I figured if all else fails, I will use the information gained at the tax office and send a letter to the property owners asking permission to visit next summer.

Just when I had tried all roads west of the highpoint, I met two cowboys loading their horses into a trailer. These two definitely looked like locals who might be a great source of information. "Eureka", I hit the mother load of information. They knew all of the property owners within a 100 mile radius and had intimate knowledge of all roads. They suggested contacting John Dilts at the Miller Ranch. The Miller Ranch is located several miles east of the highpoint on the Delano Ranch Quad. John now owns the Miller and Delano Ranches. John is a very nice individual and just the sort of land owner that makes our purists possible. He (John) wears a hearing aid so if you get a chance to meet him, youíll want to speak up a little.

John is also a pilot and flies his small plane from Douglas Wyoming where he lives, to the Miller Ranch. There is a small landing strip just east of the ranch house that does not show on the topo. The two cowboys also told me that Mule Creek Road would be the road needed to get me to the Miller Ranch. This road comes in from the north and one will need to travel many miles south on dirt roads to reach the Miller Ranch. Side note: this would have been one of the last roads that I would have tried, thanks cowboys, you boys saved me a whole heap of time (Wyoming talk).

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I got to meet Cody Evans and his wife. Cody is the ranch foreman and he and his wife live on the Miller Ranch. You will need to call Cody in advance for permission to visit the highpoint (307-322-2066). The area up on the plateau is a little confusing so bring good maps (topos) and a compass. A GPS and the knowledge to use it would be very useful. If using a compass, you will need to keep track of distances, starting from the ranch house. Once youíre up on the plateau, there will be roads on the ground that are not on the map. This may throw you off a little, as it did me. What confused me the most was a fence/gate running along the section line between sections 29-30-T20N/R70W. I was sure that this was the county line but the lay of the land was not at all like the topo. I back-tracked to a small cow corral and repeated the route again with the same result. While I was up on the plateau a small plane buzzed me, only later I learned it was John. He just wanted to see if I was OK.

After locating B/M 7180 in section 29-T20N/ R70W, I calculated the distance to the county line with my map scale. This indicated I needed to pass to the south of the gate and then to the southwest of section 32. After closing the gate behind me, it was a very easy drive to the highpoint area. I parked just north of the gate in the county line fence. Looking at your topos, the county lines running north to south and east to west are fenced. The line running between sections 31-32 T20N/R70W is fenced.

On my trip, I crossed over into Laramie County, walked west until I was 90 degrees with the highpoint, crossed back into Platte County and ascended the highpoint. I returned the same route.

The eastern area is not much more than a few large rocks on a small rise. Note, you may want to read about "The Life and Times of Tom Horn", a stock detective that worked and lived in this part of Wyoming. There is quite a story about Tom and the Miller Ranch, I wish I would have known more about Tom when I visited. Go to Google.com and search Tom Horn.

First, a few comments about road conditions. SR34 had some road construction being done south of Mule Creek Road, in the area of Morton Pass during the summer of 2004. If you are coming from Laramie, this may slow you down some. The ranch roads are in pretty good shape. You might do this with a car but a truck would be my choice; four wheel drive is not necessary. The backcountry roads were in good shape also. I would not use a car, truck is fine, four wheel drive in not necessary. The ranch roads and backcountry roads most likely get pretty muddy during wet periods. The round trip from SR34 to highpoint will probably take three to four hours.

Mule Creek Road (signed) turns south off of SR34 in section 4-T21N/R70W on the Natwick SW quad. Mule Creek Road had been rerouted for about the first mile after turning off of SR34. I was told that the new route was cut to avoid driving through the ranch located near the southwest corner of section 4-T21N/R70W. The new road runs southwest of the ranch and rejoins the old road shortly after you cross south Sybille Creek. Continue south on the main road. There are some sandy sections of road but this should pose no problems.

The road becomes a little hard to follow in the area where sections 28,29,32,33- T21N/R70W meet. Just keep in mind that you want to head south-southwest and up and out of the valley into section 33-T21N/R70W. This uphill climb was a little rough but doable on my visit. Youíll pass by the Old Martin Ranch in about two more miles. I was told that the man who now owns the ranch thinks that all who pass by are out to poach game from his land. The best thing to do, as I was told, is just to wave "hi" and keep going. He has no right to stop your progress since you are on your way to the Dilts Ranch.

Once you have made it onto the Dilts Ranch the roads become much better. John is very proud of how he keeps his roads in good shape. Just as you arrive at the Miller Ranch house there will be a two track dirt road heading west (right) up hill. This road shows on the topo. Turn west at this point, this is the point that you may want to start keeping track of your distances if you are using a map and compass. Once you have gained the high plateau, youíll want to head south to a gate/fence between sections 29 and 30 T20N/ R70W. Once you have passed this gate follow the road south then southwest to the highpoint.

For you first timers, it is very important that you leave gates the way you find them. Gateís open, leave it open; gateís closed, leave it closed Never, never, ever park on tall grass. Itís possible to start a grass fire from your hot exhaust pipes.

A few GPS readings that may help. All coordinates were taken from Topozone.com WGS84/NAD83.

41.8222N 105.2473W     Mule Creek Road (signed) and SR34.
41.7596N 105.2522W     Take fork left.
41.7545N 105.2534W     Head uphill.
41.7380N 105.2144W     Martin Ranch.
41.7326N 105.2114W     Take left fork (southeast).
41.7141N 105.1866W     Turn off to Delano Ranch (west) donít go that way.
41.6850N 105.1923W     Miller Ranch (turn west).
41.6870N 105.2054W     Right fork (northwest).
41.6849N 105.2388W     New road south.

It may head south even before you get to this point, so be aware.
This road does not show on the topo map.

41.6863N 105.2491W     SE 7119.
If you miss the new road south, you may proceed to this point and then turn south.

41.6774N 105.2505W     BM 7180: very easy to find.
Most BMís in this area are very close to the same elevations.

41.6709N 105.2528W     Gate.
41.6645N 105.2557W     Turn right.
41.6597N 105.2677W     Turn Left.
41.6567N 105.2685W     Gate at County line, Park here.
41.6568N 105.2714W     Western HP (Area 1)
41.6567N 105.2679W     Eastern HP (Area 2)