Shelf Road

4.2/5 (23 reviews)
Cripple Creek, Colorado (Teller County)
Last Updated: 02/19/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

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.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.2/5 (23 reviews)
Matt
900
Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 01/22/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Trail is open and in good shape. There are some icy spots in the shade. An old 2x4 F-150 on bald tires was stuck at the bottom of one icy hill. For us with with good winter tires the hill was no issue even in 2-HI. We saw a few AWD crossovers making it through just fine. Overall, a great easy trail and one of the limited scenic roads that’s open this time of year.
Brad D.
17350
Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/01/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

First trail run of '23 and a nice little historic mine trail to start off with. Definitely nothing challenging and a great Sunday drive, easily done by a 2WD car. Weren't sure if the trail would be impacted with snow but no issues at all, most of it is completely dry with a few areas in the shade that still have some well packed snow but nothing that caused any traction issues. Note, it was starting to snow last night as we left some other trails in the area so conditions could be slightly different after that weather event.
Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 08/26/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

First trail drive from Trail Off-road! Great morning driving. Perfect windows down weather. Views were amazing. Road was good, dry, easy for my F150.
Trail Review: Shelf Road - Peter Shay
Trail Review: Shelf Road - Peter Shay
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Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 08/22/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Nice easy drive through some old gold mine ruins. Some camping spots long the way too. I imagine a car could do this especially downhill.
Trail Review: Shelf Road - Paul Stone
Trail Review: Shelf Road - Paul Stone
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Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/22/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

I did this going south then went back north via Phantom Creek. Greta views on the way down. This is a very easy route. a small 2wd car could easily do this. Not too many dispersed camp spots. if going North, the passengers might not like the views down the valley/ravine. Some interesting history markers along the route.

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