Oak Creek Grade

I drove this road from south to north for these photos so I'm just going to continue my text the same way. After passing the Oak Creek General Store, there's a couple miles of gentle road before reaching the Grape Creek BLM access. Then there's another mile to the edge of the San Isabel National Forest. This is beautiful high country: lots of meadow and tree cover, lots of rock outcroppings, lots of different views.

Passing through the forest is where the road finally begins to head downhill towards the Arkansas Valley. The closer you get to the valley, the bigger the rock outcroppings. Spires, walls and big hills with linear outcroppings: granite everywhere. Oak Creek Canyon gets pretty narrow in spots with the rock rising almost straight up. It's a curvy road through here but there's no drop-offs, yet. Then you pass an old homestead log cabin, a vineyard and the country opens up to the north. Suddenly you emerge onto the edge of the hill and begin the descent to Cañon City. This is where the road can get really scary because there's a good drop-off and the road winds back and forth along it. The Arkansas River Valley is down below with Pikes Peak and the Front Range rising on the other side. As beautiful as the view is, don't take your eyes off the road.

Halfway down the hill you'll exit the National Forest. A couple miles more and you're at the bottom of the hill and heading into Prospect Heights and then into Cañon City.

along the Oak Creek Grade
At the edge of San Isabel National Forest
Oak Creek Grade
a view in the northern Wet Mountains along the Oak Creek Grade
Looking back to the south from the edge of the Arkansas River Valley