Cow Creek road

Cow Creek Road offers an easier, albeit Longer alternate ROute to the JQS Trail for accessing the top of the Roan Plateau.

This Cow Creek Road can be accessed by taking Highway 13 North out of Rifle for 18 miles, then taking the Piceance Creek Road (County Road 5) West toward Rangely for 4.5 miles.  The Cow Creek Road exit is on your left. Take it and drive south into the Roan Plateau area for about 30-45 minutes to reach the edge of the Bookcliffs. The road starts out in high desert terrain that gives way to pinyon-juniper forests and then transitions to massive stands of aspen. As you near the southern edge of the Roan Plateau, the views become more and more stunning as the road follows the edge of the cliffs. Expect to need 4-wheel drive capability for most of the year as the road can be muddy with deep ruts. The road is sometimes graded prior to hunting season making for a fall trip that can be made by most vehicles with decent clearance. The Cow Creek Road does meet up with the rougher JQS trail about a mile from the southern rim, offering an opportunity for a four-wheel-drive scenic loop out of Rifle.