Oak Creek- The Oak Creek Overlook Trail
The Oak Creek and Twin Peaks Trails share a common trailhead. Go to Oak Street, which parallels Main Street on the west side of the Uncompahgre River. 3rd or 7th Avenues will take you across the river. Go up Oak Street to the top of the hill to Queen Street, which heads west. Take Queen Street one block and turn left on South Pinecrest Drive for the route to the trailhead. Parking: Without 4WD, you will need to park on Oak Street, or in the limited space before going up South Pinecrest Drive, because the road is steep, rough and deeply rutted beyond the houses. With 4WD and high clearance, you may wish to try for the limited parking spaces near the trailhead.
ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
Round trip to the overlook is 6.2 miles with an altitude gain of 2,400 feet. The two trails are the same for 0.9 mile. At 0.6 mile is a big slab rock giving an overlook of Cañon Creek and on up to U.S. Mountain. Leaving the junction with the Twin Peaks Trail at 1.0 mile, the left fork takes you up into Oak Creek Gorge and beyond. The picturesque canyon is reached in 0.5 mile; soon the falls are glimpsed. This crossing may be impassable at high water. Probably the best place to cross is 25 yards upstream from where the trail first reaches creek level. In less than 0.2 mile beyond the crossing, keep alert for glimpses of a staircase of waterfalls on the left. Another steep stretch of 0.2 mile brings you to two mine portals--a nice place for a break. From the mines you enter some dense forest, then an open meadow where care is needed for route finding. Look for two trees with silver diamond trail markers to follow the trail.
The scenic overlook with a large rock fin is one mile from the mines and is a great lunch spot. The view spans a glorious 180 degrees from this point, and a high waterfall can be seen up towards Whitehouse Mountain. Ouray and the Amphitheater are to the east, and US Highway 550 can be seen down in the Uncompahgre gorge.
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