f/8 and Be There
Fred Lynch

Is Snake Hill still fun?

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2009, at 11:59 AM

Snow can be different things to different people. Billy Romack and his son, Harley, 5, walked down Snake Hill on West Cape Rock Drive ahead of Jason Krueger on Jan. 16, 2003 for some neighborhood sightseeing. They passed three vehicles which had tried to climb the banked, icy road and slid off to the side. Further up the road, three other vehicles were stopped in their tracks.

I took this picture six years ago on the original Snake Hill Road before Cape Special Road District crews straightened much of it in 2004.

Built in the 1930s, the stretch of West Cape Rock Drive deserved its reptilian nickname, as it began winding back and forth from near the city limits to its intersection with Old Sprigg Street.

The road was the scene of numerous accidents over the years, especially during wet and slick weather. It was a landmark-versus-safety issue.

A 10-year-old would remember the way it used to be. It was a place to drive for a cheap thrill, preferably in the daytime during good weather.

I took these pictures recently that show Snake Hill Road without its bite:


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  • I know it's safer, but I still like the old Snake Hill.

    Sometimes you just have to let Darwin sort 'em out.

    I recall another landmark road in Cape: Mill Hill. Dad used to say that cars back in the day before fuel pumps would have to back up the hill to keep the engine from starving out when the car tilted so steeply that gravity could feed gas to it.

    I still have nightmares about the bridge on CR 621 where I took my first driving lesson.


    -- Posted by Ken1 on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 1:45 PM
  • NO! Snake Hill is boring. It shouldn't even be called "Snake Hill" anymore. We need to stop wasting money on realignments and start making obtaining and keeping an operator's license much, much more difficult. This also applies on the two lane, 55 mph roads: If you can't handle the speed limit, find an alternate route. I'm not paying to go 70 mph on the straights and 35 mph through the corners!

    -- Posted by isobar on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 2:23 PM
  • A classmate of mine in high school around 1986 or 1987, flipped his parent's brand new Pontiac Fiero one night on Snake Hill.

    Remember the Fiero?

    -- Posted by cycle_ride on Fri, Feb 6, 2009, at 8:27 AM
  • no! i agree with previous posters -- snake hill as it is now is a bore.

    driving down an icy snake hill back in the day was to claim bragging rights much as surviving the road to hana, or those other death roads.

    -- Posted by TommyStix on Sun, Feb 8, 2009, at 1:33 PM
  • Ahhh....what memories! I remember in 1979 I worked in a tavern on 177. I closed early because there wasn't any business, and it was snowing. As I came into town; the road just past Lexington was blocked because people could not get up the hill. I turned around, and took the only other route(at that time), back to West Cape Rock Dr, and up Snake Hill. I, for one, did not have any problem at all driving up the winding road.

    I also heard a rumor tha back in the sixties that CGPD clocked some idiot going 110 mph down snake hill. Like I said... it is just a rumor. Don't know if it is true or not.

    -- Posted by Hookie98 on Mon, Feb 9, 2009, at 12:58 PM
  • i worked at cape suzuki the 70,s when new motorcyclists stopped in we would warn them about snake hill and the railroad tracks on independence street.both claimed alot of parts sales.as kids on bikes we would try to "pull" it,mill hill that is, to ride straight up it with no tacking left to right.

    -- Posted by phil davis on Mon, May 11, 2020, at 7:57 AM