If you aren’t able to make the drive in to Red Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge but would like to see some wildlife, try Cliff Lake and Wade Lake. These turquoise lakes are about six miles west of Highway 287 via Forest Service Road 8381 (find this road just north of where Highway 87 joins Highway 287).
The road in to the lakes passes the ghost town of Cliff Lake, crosses the “Missouri Flats,” a high sagebrush prairie with abundant bird life, and climbs to the forested lakeshores. Trumpeter swans sometimes appear here in the winter, and raptors live and nest around the lakes. Moose are also common. Wade Lake has good trout fishing.
The southern road to Cliff and Wade Lakes snakes in through humpy sagebrush and pine-covered hills from Highway 87, north of where Raynolds Pass crosses the Continental Divide into Idaho at a remarkably level 6,834 feet. It takes its name from Captain Raynolds, who headed a scientific expedition in 1860. Jim Bridger was the scientists’ guide. There’s now a fishing-access site just south of Highway 287 near Raynolds Pass.