A previous article describes the trip on Owl Pass Road to the high elevation Owl Pass and what to expect on the other side of the mountain. Owl Pass is a great summer season picnic area and it is a nice place to take a break before continuing onwards on Owl Pass Road (Forest Road 858) to some scenic areas in the Uncompahgre National Forest that have to be experienced to be believed! The alpine downhill run flattens out in a series of mountain meadows that are as picturesque as can be. Along the way there is a river bridge crossing that is a family favorite for fishing and splashing around, before entering a large meadow that is a top notch basecamp for ATV enthusiasts. Just a little further down this smooth dirt road is where Silver Jack can be found on the way north to Highway 50.
Owl Pass Road and National Forest Road 858 are smooth enough for passenger cars, but a high ground clearance vehicle is a better choice. This dirt road highway is also smooth enough for trailers, which means that a bass boat can safely be hauled to the Silver Jack Reservoir launch ramp. No matter whether a driver comes from Highway 550 or Highway 50, there will be some steep grades to negotiate, but at least the trailer will not take a severe beating.
Just by looking at the photos, it is easy to see that Silver Jack is a very attractive place to be during the summer season. This lake is surrounded by alpine aspen forests and majestic mountain peaks, so the visual experience will have a natural way of making visitors want to never leave. Fortunately there is a fairly large campground at Silver Jack, so spending some extra time enjoying the crystal clear air is easy to do. The Silver Jack Campground has RV hookups, basic facilities and water is available during the summer season. Bear safe food storage rules apply in this area, which are easy to understand. Seasonal firewood bundles are available for a small fee and there is nothing better than warming up next to a campfire on a chilly alpine summer night.
There are a few hiking trails around the Silver Jack Reservoir Lake and light craft boating is allowed. The boat ramp is located at the far end of the lake and most of the motorized boaters are out to do some fishing. Silver Jack is also a windsurfing and paddle boarding destination, while swimming in the icy cold water will certainly appeal to the few and not the many. As far as the picturesque alpine scenery is concerned, the sheer beauty of Silver Jack definitely ranks near the top of the list. For this reason, be sure to keep this destination in mind when exploring the western slopes of the Colorado Rockies!
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