Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

The Window rock formation near the road

Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

Shelf Road Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway is a dirt road passable with a 2WD vehicle in good weather. It follows the old stagecoach route between Cripple Creek and  Cañon City built in 1892. It twists along Fourmile Creek, with long bands of limestone towering above and below the road. 

The Gold Belt Tour was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 2000. It is one of eleven America’s Byways designated in Colorado. Fremont Peak and the Royal Gorge Bridge are located not far from the southern end of the road and are a favorite in the area..

Destination: Shelf Road
Rating: Easy 2WD
Road: Fremont County Road 9 (also called Red Canyon Road)
One-way: 23 miles / 37 km
Elevation: 9,494′ – 5,331′ (4,163′) / 2,894m – 1,625m (1,269m)

Area: Fourmile Canyon
County: Freemont
Agency: BLM (Bureau of Land Management)

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

A sport climber’s dream, with bolted routes on stable limestone

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Route Directions

When entering the road in Cripple Creek there is a sign that recommends a 4×4 or a high clearance vehicle. The road, however, is well graded and the only issue would occur if snow or heavy rains hit the area. Any passenger vehicle can easily drive this road in good weather.

Trailhead Directions (select map to enlarge)

Flat Tops Scenic Byway (10,343′), Flat Tops

Flat Tops Scenic Byway (10,343′), Flat Tops

View from Ripple Creek Pass

Flat Tops Scenic Byway (10,343)

Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway (County Road 8), runs through the northern portion of the Flat Tops Wilderness. The Flat Tops is Colorado’s second largest Wilderness, spanning a total of 235,214 acres.

The Flat Tops are part of the White River Plateau, with an average elevation of 10,000 feet. Approximately 110 lakes and ponds, often unnamed, dot the country above and below the numerous flat-topped cliffs. The valleys and relatively gentle land above the cliffs offers over 160 miles of trails to explore.

Trappers Lake is located at the halfway point, and is well worth a short detour.

Destination: Flat Tops Scenic Byway
Rating: Easy
Road: County Road 8
One Way: 82 miles / 132 km (Yampa to Meeker)
Elevation: 7,881′ – 10,343′ (+2,462′)/ 2,402m – 3,153m (+751m)

Area: Flat Tops
County: Routt
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: White River
Nat’l Wilderness: Flat Tops

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

 Starting from the east side in Yampa, take County Road 8 to the west.

The road soon begins to climb until you reach Dunkley Pass at 9,763′.

After descending the pass, the road begins to climb again very quickly until you reach the highest point on the byway, Ripple Creek Pass 10,343′.

Continuing west you soon reach the Trappers Lake turnoff. This marks the 1/2 point of the byway.

Soon after the Trappers Lake turnoff the road becomes paved the rest of the way to Meeker. Its a slow decent with large ranches in the lush valley.

Trailhead Directions

Garden of the Gods (6,400′)          Front Range

Garden of the Gods (6,400′) Front Range

North and South Gateway Rock

Garden of the Gods (6,400′), Front Range

 Garden of the Gods is a geologically unique 480 acre park, having one of the most complete and complex exposures of earth’s history anywhere in the country. It is popular for hiking, technical rock climbing, biking, and horseback riding. There are more than 15 miles of trails, with a 1.1-mile trail running through the heart of the park, that is paved and wheelchair accessible.

The main trail in the park, Perkins Central Garden Trail, is a paved, wheelchair-accessible 1.1-mile trail. It travels through the heart of the park’s largest and most scenic red rocks! The trail begins at the North Parking lot.

Dedication Plaque reads “Garden of the Gods is given to The City of Colorado Springs in 1909 by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins in fulfillment of his wish that it be kept forever free to the public.”

Video Tour

Mt Evans (14,264′), Front Range

Mt Evans (14,264′), Front Range

Summit Lake

Mt Evans (14,264′), Front Range

Mt Evans can be accessed via the highest paved road in North America, reaching an elevation of 14,130′. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, maintained by the Forest Service, offers easy access to Colorado’s inspiring high mountain environment. A drive up and short walk to the top of Mt Evans will take your breath away in more ways than one.

From Mt Evans you will see another 14,000′ peak in close proximity, Mt Bierstadt (14,160′).

Destination: Mt Evans
Trailhead: Mt Evans summit parking Lot
Round trip: .25 miles / .4 km hike (14 miles /22.5 km scenic drive)
Elevation: 14,130′-14,264′ (+134′) / 4,307m – 4,348m (+41m)
County: Clear Creek
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Wilderness: Mt Evans

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

Road closed in 2020 due to pandemic

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Follow the only paved road, Hwy 5,  14 miles to summit parking lot. Once there, take a short 1/4 mile hike and you will be standing on the summit!

Trailhead Directions