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Canyoneering Oak Creek

posted Jul 10, 2018, 2:18 PM by Justin P   [ updated Aug 13, 2018, 3:54 PM ]
Tuesday morning, we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel then headed into town to Canyoning Colorado.  The other girl in our group - Libby - showed up just after us and then our guide Andrew.  After a quick introduction, we took off in the jeep driving up to Ouray's perimeter trail.  After parking, Andrew showed us how to make a backpack of the wetsuit and then we took off, hiking up Perimeter Trail.  In a short ways, we turned left to get on Oak Creek Trail and followed that for a ways, heading up via switchbacks.  Then we turned on Twin Peaks Trail and headed down to Oak Creek at a crossing.  There was a small falls just above the crossing.


Here, we put on our wet suits and went over some canyoneering techniques before heading down the river.  It was a little bit of creek walking and down climbing before our first rappel down a 20-foot or so waterfall.


Shortly after this was the big one - 135 feet high.


Andrew said none of the waterfalls were named since canyoneering is the only way to see them, so I'm calling it Oak Creek Falls.


It was a really spectacular waterfall.  It was so big, we could see it for quite a ways down canyon.


Below Oak Creek Falls was a smaller waterfall, I'm calling Lower Oak Creek Falls.


Continuing on, one of the next drops was an overhang and we rappelled down without kicking off of anything.


A little further, we stopped for a short snack break in the beautiful canyon.  Andrew had meat and cheese, snack bars, and a thermos full of soup for our break.  Another waterfall dropped into a narrow grotto of sculpted rock - I'm calling this one Grotto Falls.


There were a couple more rappels before we came to a footbridge over Oak Creek at the Perimeter Trail, where we left the canyon.  It was just a short hike back to the jeep to change out of our wetsuits and head back to town.  After saying goodbye to our new friends, we left Ouray and headed east towards Buena Vista.  Passing through Curecanti National Recreation Area, we stopped at the trailhead for Dillon Pinnacles, right off US-50, for a hike to break up the drive.  The trail started off along the shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir and the pinnacles were visible in the distance.


Soon the trail started to climb up Dillon Gulch approaching the east end of the pinnacles.


As we got higher in elevation, we had sweeping panoramic views of the reservoir below.


In about 1.5 miles, we came to an open spot with a bench and took a break here.  I think this spot had the best views of the pinnacles.


The sun was peeking through the clouds causing the water below to glisten.


It was starting to get late and we had another 2 hours of driving, so started headed back.  We spotted a little snake along the trail.


Closer to the trailhead, some type of thistle was blooming.  There were a lot of bees on the bright purple flowers.


We finished up the hike and continued driving east.  When we reached Buena Vista, we had dinner at Jan's Restaurant and then checked in to the Best Western.