by Clint Gilchrist
July 25, 2004
Union Pass is always a beautiful place to explore, but this time of year is especially worth the trip. There is still a lot of water and lush fields, but the flowers are blooming in all colors everywhere, especially this year. Besides a handful of cars driving over the pass to or from Dubois, there were a few people camped and exploring the side roads and valleys with bicycles, 4 wheelers (atv), horse and trucks.
A monument on top marks the transition on the Continental Divide from the Wind River drainage to the Green River drainage. However, the same area also marks the transition to the Snake River drainage making this place the headwaters of the three major river systems (Green/Colorado, Snake/Columbia, and Wind River/Missouri) of the western United States. The central location and relatively easy transitions from any of the three drainages to the others has made it an important spot thousands of years. Besides some roads, the area is probably much the way it has been for hundreds of years.
To get to Union Pass from Pinedale, go west to the Cora Y, take hwy 352 north toward Green River Lakes, and then follow the Forest Service markers for road 600. The Union Pass road is pretty rough in places. Most cars should be able to make the trip, but a higher clearance vehicle is suggested, and you will need to take it slow. Expect a 3-hour trip from Pinedale to the Pass. Mosquitoes are out for most of the trip, while horse flies are more prominent on top. This is one of the best flower years, so bring your camera.