with it being another beautiful day in colorado, my wife and i set out on another off road trip. we chose trail #42 and #41 in the Front range Colorado trails book:
part of trail #42 (shelf road) was a temporary road built to connect Canon City and Cripple creek and was used while the railroad was being built on trail #41 (1894). the railroad only lasted 16 years because part of the route was wiped out in a storm. since then, the tracks were removed and its now a road for the "gold belt tour."
we started out on county road 69. this is a maintained road and a passanger car could travel on it.
after about 5 miles, we got to the end of county maintained road.
this is where the trail book said that this trail is rated as a 4. i think that the authors of this book have under-rated the trails. while it was certainly more "challenging" than a 3 rated trail that i have tried before, it was by no means difficult. i suppose if you took a small, stock SUV (rav4 for example), it would be difficult. the trail did have ruts, mud, rocks, sharp turns, and dry, soft creek crossings, but my stock tacoma just rolled over everything with little effort. i think i want to try a 5 rated trail next. (also, i never seem to get the pictures when the trail is at its most difficult. i am always concentrating more on driving than on taking pictures )
adandoned structure (after the "roughest" part of the trail.)
my wife is the navigator. as she put it, she is "Rand-fucking-McNally." actually, she is very helpful. she is good at keeping us on the proper route (there are many side roads and spurs). on that map page, we took the blue colored trail and then the green colored trail.
upon getting closer to red canyon park, the scenery was becoming amazing. pictures just dont do it all justice.
the park had some picnic areas, so we stopped there and ate lunch under some trees.
the area has some amazing rock formations and it is a popular location for rock climbing.
coming out of the picnic area. the view is amazing.
this is at the start of the shelf road.
after the shelf road was built in 1892, they collected tolls from the people traveling on the road. they built this little cabin in the base of this valley for the toll keeper to live in. when a stage coach or a wagon approached, the toll keeper climbed up to the road to collect the toll. its amazing that the cabin still remains.
the shelf road was cut along the mountain side. its pretty steep and narrow in some places... it freaked out my wife
this is cripple creek running at the base of the valley
my wife thought that this was picturesque
we came around a corner and BLAM.... someone dropped this huge, pink house on the top of this hill. talk about being off the grid. there are no services out here... water, electricity, cell phone.. nothing...
we figured that there must be some ranches out there because we saw lots of animals just hanging out all over the place. this horse was chill'in right next to the road.
coming up to the head of cripple creek. this is an old mining town, but currently, there is still some mining activity. so there is lots of old mixed in with the new. i dont know if you can see it, but there is a GIGANTIC earth mover on the second level of that strip mine road in the background.
city of Victor. lots of old and new mining equipment here. this is their school house. i am guessing its fairly old?
and across the street from the school house is this old mining structure.
at this point, we headed onto the #41 trail in the book. this trail is super easy, but its really beautiful. you essentially drive down at the bottom of the valley all the way to canon city (coming up on #42, you were at the top of the valley (shelf road)).
we pulled over in a turn-out. this is looking back up the valley. it got vary narrow in some spots.
looking straight up the valley walls.
my two favorite ladies my wife decided to strike a pose
narrow access between the two walls. this was one of the areas that was cut through for the train.
wooden bridge. the train used to come across this area.
one of two tunnels that were created for the train to pass through. this is the longer of the two.
we actually came out on the starting end of the gold belt tour.
as we came around the bend, a group of cows was blocking the road. at first, they didnt move, but as we drove closer, the gave us that look that says, "yeah, yeah... i am moving. keep your shorts on"
they all finally turned and headed up the road.
we had to manuever around them
the second tunnel. got a video of going through it. i dont know why, but it was so cool
thanks for looking