Piceance Creek by County Road 5 + ADD NEW ROUTE
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Take Hwy. 13 north from Rifle, CO for 19 miles until reaching the abandoned Rio Blanco. Turn west on County Road 5. Travel 42 miles west to Hwy. 64, mm 56. You can travel in either direction.
This canyon is part of the Piceance Basin (pronounced pee-ance) which has vast deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas. Along this route you will see some gas pumping stations although most of the actual drilling is off the road some distance. There they use high pressure sand and water pumped into fractures in the rock underground (called fracking).
Most of the route is pastureland with a couple of ranches. If lucky you may see a wild horse. There are trees from stately Douglas fir, to round pinion and juniper. The roadside is almost entirely lined with yellow flowering rabbitbrush and fragrant sagebrush. Several old cabins are along the way. You'll pass an old stone building that needs a photo taken.
The actual Piceance Creek looks too small to carve this quarter mile wide canyon, but it has meandered back and forth for many years. At the end, it runs into the White River (which is another scenic route). The sides are walls of sandstone and shale, some quite colorful.
Good surface and wide sweeping turns. In summer, 2015, some sections are being re-aligned and paved. Occasional pull-offs.
None here, nor any cell service. Full services in Rifle and most necessities in Meeker.
During weekdays there are a lot of large trucks going to the mine sites, mostly on the western half of the route. Not much other traffic, though.
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