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Owl Creek Pass

Aspen and pine forests, rugged peaks, and picturesque lakes make an exceptionally scenic drive


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Owl Creek Pass is a beautiful drive in the Uncompahgre National Forest, in Gunnison County, Colorado. A mountain pass at an elevation of 3,083 m (10,114 ft) can be reached by a gravel road that doesn't require a 4WD car. The road lies in the shadows of Cimarron Range peaks in southwestern Colorado.

To get to Owl Creek Pass, head south from Cimarron on Cimarron Road (Route 858), and then continue to Owl Creek Pass. A 67-km (42 mi) gravel road there is well maintained and comfortable to drive. It closes down for winter after the first heavy snowfall, which is usually in late October. Owl Creek Pass is typically open by June and stays open throughout the summer and early fall. Tall aspen trees and pines surrounded by red sandstone cliffs make a beautiful backdrop for fall landscape photography.

Owl Creek Pass is a somewhat remote place featuring picturesque rivers, lakes, creeks, spruce and fir woods, and interesting rock formations such as turrets and hoodoos. Meadows are full of amazing wildflowers in the summer months. There are plenty of campgrounds where visitors can spend a night or two taking their time to explore the area. Uncompahgre Wilderness offers numerous hiking trails. The Silver Jack Reservoir, about 24 km (15 miles) from the pass, is an excellent hiking destination with many trails along the five-mile shoreline. Beaver Lake is another nearby area that's worth checking out for fishing and other recreational activities.

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