Marrow Point Dam/SilverJack Resevoir – Cimarron Date: 5/13/2007 Type: Picnic/Siteseeing Miles From Grand Junction: Approx. 190 round trip Rating: Restrooms: Various locations
The Cimarron area has some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado. There is really not a certain time of the warmer months I would suggest taking this drive because it is very scenic all year around. I would not recommend taking the drive in the early spring or winter because the snow can get extremely deep over Owl Creek Pass and they might even close the road during the winter months.
We opted to take the drive in the fall in order to enjoy the fall colors of the trees.
If you decide to take the drive over Cimarron and Owl Creek Pass, you need to stop and check out Morrow Point Dam. Morrow Point Dam is located about 20 miles east of Montrose. The dam is a 468 foot double curvature concrete dam and was built in the late 1960′s and it part of the Colorado River Storage Project located towards the beginning of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Once we finished exploring the area of the dam, we headed out towards Silver Jack Reservoir and Owl Creek Pass. The drive is about a 190 mile loop from Grand Junction with an elevation of about 10,000 feet. Given the distance you should plan on spending a full day exploring the dam area and driving over Owl Creek Pass, there is a lot of things to see and places to explore. Although it is one of the longer distance day outings, it is well worth your time. There are plenty of places to stop and get out to stretch so that helps to make the ride shorter then it is.
About 20 miles after exiting highway 50 from montrose you’ll come to Silver Jack Reservoir. Silver Jack offers some nice fishing opportunities as well as camping. There is a fee for camping that is $14 and higher for large groups. As of 6/5/08 the campground is still closed. You can check the status and get more information on the campground by clicking the following link – Silver Jack Camping. Silver Jack Reservoir has one of the coolest over flow devices I have seen on a dam. Rather than the water running over a spillway it dumps into a giant “Teacup” looking tube and comes out at the bottom of the dam. As you can see in the picture below the water level was extremely low. It is almost eerie when the water is high enough to drain in the tube.
Once we finished exploring Silver Jack Reservoir we headed over Owl Creek Pass. There are a couple prominent land marks such as Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock which are both pretty amazing. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild life on your way over, there are a lot of deer in this area and some bear as well.
The road eventually drops down and connects to highway 550 at Ridgeway State park. From here you can turn right and head back to Montrose.