Silver Jack Reservoir

Written by on February 17, 2015 in CO Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Silver Jack Reservoir

Just past Cimarron, Colorado, on Interstate 50, there is a rough gravel road called Big Cimarron Road that leads south into the Uncompahgre National Forest. Plunging deep into the Uncompahgre National Forest, the road reveals some amazing off-the-beaten-path vistas, including the crystal blue waters of Silver Jack Reservoir. Normally, the road is relatively well maintained, although a bit rough, and does not require four-wheel drive, however, heavy summer storms can cause damage and make the road very slick.
Big Cimarron Road passes through groves of Aspen and Spruce trees and is surrounded by the high peaks of the Uncompahgre Range. It’s a photographers dream! Just before you reach Silver Jack Reservoir, there is a turnoff for an overlook that provides the most spectacular view of the lake. A huge grove of giant Aspen trees graces this overlook and is heavy with undergrowth. Under the canopy of the trees, the silence is broken only by the drone of insects, the occasional call of a Stellar Jay, and the murmur of the Aspen leaves in the breeze. A short walk through the grove brings you to several overlook spots, which offer great photography possibilities of Silver Jack. Nestled between high red rock cliffs, the reservoir sparkles like a jewel under clear blue skies.

There are plenty of places to hike all along Big Cimarron Road — places where you can enjoy the beauty of this extraordinary wilderness. But don’t turn around once you get to the reservoir! The most spectacular views come as you go up and over Owl Creek Pass (which by the way, is a great place to have lunch). The road winds its way back down from 11,000 feet back to 5,000 feet in a series of dramatic switchbacks that allow you to overlook the Uncompahgre Valley and across it to the Uncompahgre Plateau and south to the San Juan Mountains. The views are breathtaking (and can be distracting) so stop often to give your driver time to admire the view and still concentrate on driving. The road winds its way down to the valley floor and eventually connects with Highway 550 between Ridgeway and Montrose, Colorado.

The trip really takes a full day since it is roughly 40-50 miles of slow going and eye-popping views on gravel roads. If you want to take more time and savor the beauty of the area, Uncompahgre National Forest offers are three campgrounds; Big Cimarron, Beaver Lake and Silver Jack. The nearby towns of Ridgeway and Montrose have a variety of lodging, shopping and dining options.

Other attractions in the area include:
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Top 5 Things To Do In Durango
Fishing in Blue Mesa Reservoir
Curecanti National Recreation Area

Western Colorado Area Office
Northern Division 2764 Compass Drive
Grand Junction, CO
Phone: 970-240-5400. ·

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