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Shelf Road
Teller County, Colorado
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Nearby Towns: Cripple Creek, Victor, Canon City
Nearby Trails: The Bank, Phantom Canyon
Trail Length: 12.83 miles
Elevation: 6,384 to 9,426 feet

This road is the most difficult leg of the Gold Belt Byway Tour, but most vehicles should not have any issues from its start to its finish. However, if the road is wet or snowy it could give any vehicle some trouble. It is a great trail to do in combination with Phantom Canyon.

The road is named because the south end was cut into the side of a cliff, forming a shelf. You can run the trail in either direction, though if you start in Cripple Creek the shelf side will be out your driver-side window. This may make it easier to pass someone coming the other direction.

If you start at the north end, it starts at the town of Cripple Creek. It is fairly easy to spot, following signs to the scenic byway and county road 88. It starts as a mellow drive on an easy dirt road.

You follow the small trickle of Cripple Creek itself at the start, though the creek gets deeper as you progress. There are a few tight switchbacks along the way, but they are easy to take in one turn. There are also some fantastic places to camp or stop for lunch.

Soon you will cross over the creek and see a sign that notes that you cannot stop along the road. This marks the start of the shelf portion of the trail. Though it is near a very long drop-off and there are no guardrails, it is always fairly wide. Passing another vehicle could be challenging in spots, but it is always possible.

The end of the trail is marked by a change to pavement. The rest of the way out is through beautiful ranch and farmland as you work your way out to Canon City.

Information last updated on February 11th, 2017.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

If you are starting on the north end, take Highway 67 to Cripple Creek. Turn left on East Pike Peak Avenue, then right on East Bennett Avenue. Turn left on South 2nd Street, and then find the trail as a right turn downhill at a "Y" in the road.

If you are starting on the south end, take Highway 50 to Canon City. Turn right on Dozier Avenue, then right on Field Avenue. You will see signs for the scenic byway when the pavement ends in 11 miles.

Meeting Places

Meet at the Safeway at 1101 Highway 24 in Woodland Park.

Low-End Rating: 1
High-End Rating: 2
Rock Crawling:
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What does this mean?

Trail Photographs

Open Area Tiny Waterfall View from the Shelf

Maps and Coordinates
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Trail in Red
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371 KB

Shelf Road (GPS Exchange File)
Shelf Road Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Shelf Road Track (Google Earth Track)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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