Location: Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming
Access: From Laramie, take I- 80 41 miles to the Arlington exit, then go south under the interstate, and take the first right on a gravel road that has a sign reading Medicine Bow National Forest . Drive about 200 yards west on this access road, and take the first left turn marked by a sign reading Rock Creek Trail 1.6 miles. Drive down this rough gravel road to the dead end at the trailhead in 1.6 miles. Road is probably not passable to passenger cars after heavy precipitation.
Trailhead: NAD83 z13 397448e 4603585n  Elevation: 7850'
Maps: USGS 1:24K Arlington, Morgan, Sand Lake, White Rock Canyon
Trail: 11 miles to Sand Lake via Deep Creek Trail, follows the water the entire way. The part of the trail Iíve been on (northern half) is pretty mild uphill with rocky footing in places through open Douglas fir-spruce forest with sagebrush-grass meadows. Wildflowers are great in June.
Fees: None
Dogs: OK
Webcam: Arlington Interchange, 3 miles north
Weather: Conditions at Lower Rock Creek and Upper Rock Creek 
             Local Forecast

June 24, 2007
Andra, Frank, Makenzie and I started this hike at around 10AM on a sunny morning in late June. The parking lot was shaded and deserted except for a Jeep, and the dogs sniffed around the area while we pulled on our boots and locked up the car. The trail headed south from the parking lot behind a large information board containing information on how to tell if youíve been bitten by the dreaded lyme tick. Large Douglas fir and spruce trees provided a good covering of welcome shade on this warm morning. Lupines, larkspur and arrowleaf balsamroot were all just past full bloom along the trailside and in the surrounding meadows. The path immediately gained quick elevation as we left the sound of the roaring water below. Soon Rock Creek came into view to the east, below us, rushing wide and white over a rocky bed. I was impressed by the size of it, and thought it more a river than a creek, though I confess I donít know the technical requirements for either. Within ¼ mile the trail leveled out right next to the water, and it took no effort to compel Frank and Makenzie to drink something, and of course Makenzie enjoyed a good soak while she was at it. We all strolled along leisurely up the mild incline, usually very close to the foaming water of Rock Creek, through patches of hot sunlight in dry meadows and under patches of thick conifers. We passed several flat campsites near the water, but all were pretty close to the trail. The canyon in which Rock Creek flows is too steep and narrow to get far off the trail. Just before the first switchback in the trail, we stopped in the shade and had a snack, entertaining ourselves by chucking rocks in the water for Makenzie to retrieve. Up the switchbacks, we followed the trail to a high point overlooking the creek, and a great view of the canyon and water. We hiked for another half hour or so to a point just past the Tie Slide bridge where we stepped off the trail and relaxed for about an hour, reading and napping in the cool shade with the relaxing sound of gurgling water emanating from the swift current only 10 feet away. I would estimate we hiked in about 2-3 miles from the parking lot. By 1:00 we were ready to roll on back to the car, and we made no stops on the way back. We saw only three other people on the trail. When we arrived back at the parking lot a little after 2:00, we opened the car windows to cool it off and then walked down the creek to cool our feet in the creek and swap our hiking boots for sandals before the drive home. The water in the creek was very cold, but refreshing. 

Makenzie cooling off in the shallow edge of Rock Creek
Shaded section of Rock Creek
Andra, Frank and Makenzie on the Rock Creek Trail
Rock Creek Trail

Trail along Rock Creek lined with trees
Rock Creek lined with trees on a sunny day
whitewater on Rock Creek

Cobble bottom of Rock Creek seen through the water

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Page Created 6-24-07
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