Mule Creek Junction, Wyoming

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Mule Creek Junction is an unpopulated locale in Niobrara County, Wyoming at the junction of US 18 and US 85.

Direction via Destination Distance from Mule Creek Junction
North US 85 Newcastle, Wyoming 33 miles
East US 18 Edgemont, South Dakota 22 miles
South US 18/US 85 Lusk, Wyoming 46 miles

Geography[edit]

The Junction is located on the southwest corner of the Black Hills proper. US 85 is a major route connecting the Front Range of Colorado with the Black Hills; travelers to Deadwood and the Northern Black Hills continue on US 85, and travelers to Wind Cave and other attractions in the Southern Black Hills, as well as trucks en route to Rapid City, South Dakota continue (turn) east on US 18 to Edgemont and Hot Springs.

A Wyoming Department of Transportation rest area, reconstructed in 2007-08, is located on the northeast corner of the Junction. The southeast corner of the site has been occupied by various service stations and truck stops, the last of which was demolished in the late 1990s. A coffee shop occupied this corner from 2008-2010. The large hardstand area together with the rest area is used for short-term parking of long-haul trucks and occasionally RVs. The junction is located a short distance south of the Cheyenne River, and is in a typical Wyoming High Plains setting. Several historical and scenic markers at the rest area describe the setting.

History[edit]

The routes have been in use since the discovery of gold in the Northern Black Hills (at Deadwood) in 1875. The original Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Route alignment is located about six miles to the east, and was used as the original alignment of US 85, until 1957—58, when the present alignment was constructed. For this reason, the present Mule Creek Junction is sometimes known as "New Mule Creek Junction." A former route, Alternate US 85, used to begin at the original Mule Creek Junction and followed today's US 18 alignment into South Dakota. US 85A (shown on some early maps US 85E) followed US 18 east to Hot Springs, then headed due north via the current US 385 to Custer and Lead through the Black Hills. U.S. 85A was deleted when U.S. 385 was commissioned in the 1940s. US 18 is one of the original 1926 U.S. routes. It began at US 85 in the original Mule Creek Junction, about four miles west of the South Dakota state line. In 1938, US 18 was paired with the then-new Alternate U.S. 85, which was commissioned to provide an alternate route for US 85 travelers into the Black Hills.

Local communities[edit]

A number of ranches are located in the vicinity, but there is no townsite or concentration of houses in the area. The ghost town of Riverview, Wyoming was located approximately 3 miles north, on the present US 85 alignment. The town of Redbird, Wyoming, now a ranch, is located approximately 8 miles south, at the junction of the old and new alignments of US 85 (Cheyenne-Deadwood State Route).

Major intersections in the Black Hills are frequently named, whether there are communities at the locations or not. See also Three Forks, South Dakota, Four Corners, Wyoming, Maverick Junction, South Dakota, Keystone Wye, South Dakota, Cheyenne Crossing, South Dakota, Four Mile, South Dakota, and Carlile Junction, Wyoming.

References[edit]

  • [1]
  • [2]
  • Archives, Wyoming Department of Transportation
  • Registrar of Deeds, Niobrara County (Lusk, Wyoming