Shelf Road 4wd Trail
Shelf Road is part of the Colorado Gold Belt Tour and Colorado Scenic Byway road network. All of which showcase some of the best scenery that Colorado has to offer. Shelf Road transformed an untraveled wilderness into a major route for the stagecoaches and freight wagons traveling between the Arkansas Valley and the Cripple Creek Gold Mining District. The route’s name is derived from ‘THE SHELF’, a five-mile stretch of road that hugs the sheer rock walls of above Fourmile Creek. Originally called the Cañon City and Cripple Creek Toll Road and financed by Cañon City business leaders. The toll collectors lived in small cabins nestled at either end of the Shelf and collected tolls every time a horse, wagon or stagecoach passed. Eventually, competition from railroads put the toll road out of business. Fremont County purchased the road and opened it as a free road. This road has made for a memorable trip since its construction in 1892.
We decided to tackle this mostly scenic trail as family trip to celebrate my stepdaughters birthday. Incidentally, we took a wrong turn and ended up on the most challenging and scenic segment of the trip, so I definitely recommend adding in time to explore the side trails in the area. There are many camping spots along the route, but not much water near those campsites, so come prepared.
This area has a lot more to offer than my pictures suggest, but since I didn't plan enough exploring time, which for me would require camping at least 1 night, most of my pictures are from the main route. No worries though. Just an excuse to make a future camping & exploring trip in the area!