Gold Belt Scenic Byway

    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.

    Shelf Road

    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 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.

    Limited stakes gaming has revitalized Cripple Creek’s economy with casinos, shops, and restaurants to enjoy. Cripple Creek even has its own donkey herd, descendants of the animals that once worked in the mines. For more information, visit www.goldbeltbyway.com

    photo courtesy > Char Lindner