Soaring mountains, alpine lakes, sagebrush plains, dusty buttes, tumbling rivers - you'll get a true view of the American West when you take a road trip around Colorado. Go deep into the Rockie, far into the plains, or venture into cowboy and cattle country.
Phantom Canyon Road
Six miles east of Cañon City on U.S. 50, then north at the intersection of Hwy 67. Following the route of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad, Phantom Canyon Road is off limits to vehicles more than 25-feet long. That should tell you something. The road is unpaved and winds through the canyon. Steep drop-offs and one-lane areas are part of the adventure, and the speed limit is 20 mph through most of your trip.
From Cañon City, head north on Raynolds where it intersects with U.S. 50. Right, or north, on Field Avenue, which becomes Shelf Road. This road is paved for about 10 miles to Red Canyon Park and unpaved between Red Canyon Park and Cripple Creek. Shelf Road narrows to one lane with turnouts for eight miles where it crosses "The Shelf." Four-wheel drive is recommended and may be necessary for travel north of Garden Park when the road is wet. Shelf Road Recreation Area is known for its technical rock-climbing.
High Park Road to Cripple Creek
West on U.S. 50 out of Cañon City and north on Colo. 9 eight miles to High Park Road. Turn east for an all-paved, easy drive to historic Cripple Creek, which in its glory days boasted two opera houses, 75 saloons, 8 newspapers and a stock exchange. The past lives on at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, the Homestead House Museum (an 1890s brothel) and the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Time: Full Day | Mileage: 80-180Directions: From Fort Collins, travel south on Taft Hill Road to CR 38E. Turn right. You will follow the southern edge of Horsetooth Reservoir and continue west to Masonville and CR 27. Turn left. Dirve south to U.S. Highway 34. Turn right. Follow the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park. As you pass through Estes Park, take Highway 36 to the Park Headquarters/Visitor Center. Tour the park as you wish.
Leave the park on Highway 34 via Fall River Entrance. Take the Highway 34 by-pass and drive by the historic Stanley Hotel. Turn left on MacGregor Avenue. Proceed down Devils Gulch Road to Glen Haven. Continue on and the road will merge with Highway 34 at Drake and take you back to Loveland.