Shelf Road, Phantom Canyon

Total Miles
60.5

Elevation

2,966.45 ft

Duration

4.5 Hours

Technical Rating

3

Easy

Best Time

Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

This is a popular, heavily used network of trails that starts just south of Cripple Creek and takes you on a ride through history. See old mines and historic towns. A number of 4X4 roads leave from Shelf Road west of Sand Gulch Campground, and near The Banks Campground, a well-known climbing area. Make sure to visit Red Canyon Park for the unique red rocks. Unlicensed vehicles may ride on the side roads, but are not allowed on the main loop.

Photos of Shelf Road, Phantom Canyon

Shelf Road, Phantom Canyon
Shelf Road, Phantom Canyon
Shelf Road, Phantom Canyon

Difficulty

Easy. Phantom Canyon is a car road but has a few narrow, high spots. Shelf Road is rougher, steeper and narrower but can be done in a high-clearance, two-wheel-drive SUV when road is dry. Check status before you go as roads sometimes close due to washouts.

History

Phantom Canyon follows an old train route that once connected Cripple Creek and Florence. At its peak in the late 1890s, the traintransported over 230,000 passengers. The curved bridge you cross was originally a wooden railroad trestle, which was destroyed by fire in 1896. It was hastily rebuilt as a steel trestle and later converted to automotive use. The modern bridge pictured above was completely rebuilt in recent years. Kiosks along the route explain much of the history.

Technical Rating

3

Status Reports

Mick Denudt
Apr 13, 2024
2017 Jeep Wrangler
Open
Steve C
Apr 06, 2024
4x4
Open
Normal
Snow/Ice
Washboard
A little snow/ice closer to cripple creek, but nothing more than a half inch deep. Typical washboarding.
Travis Mead
Mar 22, 2024
4x4
Temporarily Closed
Posted Sign
There is a sign on the Cañon City side stating that the road is closed due to rock slides and snow.
Joeseph Rivera
Mar 11, 2024
4x4
Open
Snow/Ice
Muddy/Wet
Wasn't too bad, there were some areas that got a little muddy, could have made it difficult for smaller vehicles. Snow looked nice but was melting and parts of road are muddy, even some of the more narrow areas but not crazy.

Access Description

From Highway 24 in Divide, head south on Highway 67 to Cripple Creek. Pass through center of town on Bennett Avenue to bottom of the hill. Turn left on Second Street. Go 0.2 mile and turn right on C.R. 88. If you prefer to drive Phantom Canyon first, continue following Hwy. 67 (2nd St.) through Victor, then follow signs south to Phantom Canyon.

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