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Shelf Road

Cripple Creek, Colorado (Teller County)

Last Updated: 07/25/2020
4.4 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 13.04 miles
Highest Elevation: 9465 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Cripple Creek
Nearest Town w/ Services: Cripple Creek
Official Road Name: 88
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Royal Gorge Field Office
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Shelf Road
In 1892 a route was blasted and cut out of the canyon wall, creating a shelf road to connect Cripple Creek and the Arkansas Valley. This roadway once carried freight and stagecoaches through the valley and is now a very scenic part of the Gold Belt Tour. Shelf Road is accessible to all skill levels, provided you can stomach the actual shelf portion of the trail. The first half of the trail features some camping, old mining sites, and sheer limestone formations, including Window Rock. This hole through a granodiorite formation can often have Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep passing through. The second half of the trail is nearly all shelf road with heart-pounding drop-offs as the trail winds through the valley. Combine this trail with Phantom Canyon to complete a large part of the Gold Belt Tour. The Gold Belt Tour is a 131-mile long scenic by-way that tells the story of the 1890’s gold rush in Colorado. Don’t miss this scenic route through Colorado’s mining history.

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Weather

7 day forecast for Shelf Road

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Trailhead is on the west side of 67.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.742653, -105.176425

Starting Point: Cripple Creek

Take 67 south for 0.3 miles to Xenia Street where the trailhead is.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved
Designated

Trail Reviews (8)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a nice trail we see why it is called shelf road narrow is some places but all in all a fun afternoon trail. Nothing too hard did it in my stock nissan frontier

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did this trail on Labor Day weekend in the Grand Cherokee that we’ve owned for about 4 days. Pleasantly surprised as to how well it did on this not very hard trail. We did the entire loop of Phantom Canyon, Shelf Road, Seep Springs and County Road 69 from Canon City out to Victor and Cripple Creek and back to Canon City again. Love the scenic trails.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We drove Shelf Road from Cripple Creek for the first time today. This is a beautiful and scenic drive though my wife did not expect the nearly 2 miles of shelf road and the handle of the brace bar was imprinted on her hand. While this trail isn't technical, it is a pretty drive and we combined it with The Bank for a full day.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
While this is a very easy road, there can be some icy areas during winter months. Ensure your confidence does not get too high as even when the snow and ice has melted throughout the trail, there can still be some Icy patches in the shade. While on our way back through to cripple creek, we encountered a couple who slid off the road. Luckily they only sustained minor injuries, but their rig was totaled. Remember to be safe out there.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We drove this trail as part of a scenic tour from Colorado Springs to Canon City. We were the only ones on the road and it was BEAUTIFUL! It was the first trail my wife drove and she had fun! Very easy! No sweat for our stock Subaru Outback. The start of the trail is a little confusing as the GPS coordinates and the Xenia St. seem to be in two different places. But the sign for the trail head was visible from the road, and all was good! Advise: Watch the blind curves and take your time. Don't get caught staring at the scenery and missing the next curve!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Was on my way to to work this morning and there was a few rocks in the road on the stretch of the shelf. As I got to the County Line where Four Mile Creek goes under the road, Four Mile Creek was actually going over the road where the concrete is at. With all the heavy rains every night there is a lot of water. There was debris of trees and branches from a heavier flow last week. The water was not very deep and not flowing very fast. The teller County part of Shelf Road does have standing water in some parts of the road. The road is rough and washed out in places. If you you are going up and have to move over due to another vehicle coming down I would advise being very cautious when getting near the edge of the road as it will be very soft with all the rain that we have had. I travel this road everyday to and from work year round.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Closed
Offroaded on:
After a recent rockslide, Freemont County has announced that the road is now open again as of yesterday. Picture Courtesy of Freemont County.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We drove up from Canon City starting about an hour before sunset, and had just enough time to get to Cripple Creek by dusk. Above the beginning of the shelf road, we only met a few other vehicles, all heading down. A couple of cars that had started up ahead of us turned around. There were massive flocks of turkey to be seen in the lower elevations. There's a private residence near the top, above the mine pictured in the guide, and just above the drive to it, there's a shaded uphill section that's muddy from snowmelt, and could still be icy if temperatures are right. Had no issues though; still on winter tires. If you drive up like we did, note that the shelf road from which this route gets its name is on the driver's side of the canyon, which puts the passenger in the sky seat... my copilot is still learning to trust me and the vehicle, so keep that in mind if you have slightly nervous passengers. Great write up, and made for a nice excursion. We'll go back another day when we have more time to stop and explore.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Jen & JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
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