Owl Creek Pass

Ridgway, Colorado (Ouray County)

Last Updated: 05/12/2022
4.1 / 5 ( 15 reviews )
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Highlight: Owl Creek Pass
If stunning scenery, cool mountain air, and marvelous forests are your pleasure, then Owl Creek Pass Road is a must-do for you while visiting southwestern Colorado. While not as scenic as many of the other mountain passes around the Ridgeway/Ouray area, the views are far less difficult to get to than those other places. Most of the ride is on narrow well maintained dirt road that offers glimpses of the Courthouse Mountains and Chimney Rock. In the summer, you will be treated to flowing mountain streams and endless wildflowers nestled amongst the thick mature stands of Aspen, Spruce, and Box Alder trees. John Wayne filmed scenes from both True Grit and How the West Was Won along this road. (Can you find some locations?) You may recognize Chimney Rock in the highlight photo in some of his scenes. Bring a lunch, you'll want to stop by the cool mountain stream that runs through the pass and enjoy the quiet.


Route Information

Technical Rating

( EASY )

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1. Trail Start- US 550 & Ouray County Road 10 (0 mi)
About 2 miles north of Ridgeway, County road 10 intersects US Highway 550. Turn Right here (Or left if you are coming from Montrose). There are Forest Service brown signs pointing to Owl Creek facing both North and South directions.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Ridgeway, Colorado

Head north on US550. About 2 miles, just out of town, look for the Owl Creek Pass sign on the right. County Road 10 is a right turn just ahead.



Trail Reviews (15)

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: According to the MVUM, the seasonal closure of this trail lifts 4/16. Am I looking in the wrong place? Where does the 6/15 date mentioned in the guide come from?
–Ryan Boudreau (05/14/2020)
–Ryan Boudreau (05/21/2020)
–Jim Long (05/21/2020)
–Jim Long (05/15/2020)

Writer Information

Jim Long

Mapping Crew - Arizona

I moved to Arizona in 1984 and bought my first offroad vehicle the next year. I had lots of adventures, seeking out the Old West on paper topo maps in my Toyota FJ40 and can say, fortunately, that I never had to walk home. In 2005 I saw the prototype for the FJ Cruiser, and in the middle of my FJ40 resto project, someone came into my garage with cash and bought it out from under me. (Some regrets) In 2008, I flew out to LA to pick up my FJ Cruiser, special ordered with the Offroad Package (Locker) and MT6. My area of operations has been Southern Arizona, from the New Mexico to California borders. Unfortunately, the FJ Cruiser burned in a fire in August 2020. Now I'm building up from the ashes, literally, salvaged parts from the FJ are going on my Lexus GX470. SO, that's what's coming out next. I have been an active member of AZFJ.org where I'm the top post contributor, and have many trail reviews posted there that I plan on enhancing, revisiting and documenting for this authoritative source. I have a login to Ih8Mud and fjcruiserforums but don't lurk there very much. in my career, I've had the pleasure of traveling in Canada, the Caribbean, and Australia but never had the opportunity to wheel there. (bucket list). But, I hope my 30 years of Southern Arizona discovery, teaching and leading people into the backcountry will finally benefit a wider audience here on Trailsoffroad. There's nothing I enjoy more than finding a historic site, a little-used trail that had significance or the opportunity to take that one photo that defines what we do. (I stink but I'm willing to learn). Oh..Added benefit...I'm the GIS analyst for a fire dept and as such have some skills in ArcGIS.
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