FATMAP by Strava

Canon City -> Westcliffe


An ambitious out-and-back gravel ride to Westcliffe.

Gravel Biking Moderate

101 km
1.7 km
1.7 km
7-8 hrs
Low Point
1.6 km
High Point
2.5 km
Canon City -> Westcliffe Map

County Roads 143 and 255 combine to create a long-distance, mostly-gravel route crossing a wild range of rolling mountains between the towns of Canon City and Westcliffe.


The main climb up through the mountain range is known locally as the "Oak Creek Grade." It begins with a steep grunt over a knob before dropping into a valley and resuming the climb on a more achievable grade. From the top of the knob, you'll enjoy stunning views of Pike's Peak to the north!

The views don't let up after you drop into the valley. You'll simply exchange the long-range views for towering granite cliffs that soar above you on both sides of the road. These impressive rock formations along with a babbling mountain stream, beautiful aspen groves, and majestic cottonwood trees, will keep your head on a swivel and help you forget the pain of the climb as you grind uphill.

Even though the climb to the top of the knob is quite steep and the rest of this road is quite remote, the quality of the roadbed and the maintenance are top-notch. This road is regularly graded, meaning that there aren't many potholes or rocks to contend with. This maintenance is due to CR 143 and 255 forming a critical connection between Canon City and Westcliffe, which means that the traffic is a bit heavier and drives a bit faster than you might expect on rural forest roads. Naturally, if it's been a while since the last time a grader has passed through, this road can definitely get washboarded in places.

Once you hit Yorkville, the surroundings become progressively more developed as you head toward Westcliffe, but this is development by rural, ranching Colorado standards. There might be a bit more traffic out here and a few houses, but don't expect any amenities until you make it to Westcliffe.

Westcliffe is home to a couple of restaurants, gas stations, and stores, allowing you to grab lunch and refill your water before turning around and heading back to Canon City.




3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between May and October

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area