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Shelf Road

Shelf Road is a gravel road located in Colorado, USA. This is a great drive if you're brave and trust the person behind the wheel. If you don't like steep drop-offs, don't take the road. Back gravel road with an extreme drop off in some places. It's very narrow in some spots and 2 vehicles can't go thru.

This narrow unpaved mountain road is 24.4 miles (38km long). It runs south from Cripple Creek, in Teller County to just outside Canon City, Colorado, where it intersects with Colorado Highway 9, in USA. 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.Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of this steep but maintained dirt road. The road was built in 1892, offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. It has great views but it is a little scary in parts especially when there is oncoming traffic. It’s a one lane, two-way dirt road on the side of a cliff with blind corners. It's a dirt road that's often narrow and at times clings to the side of a hill, with very little room to spare. The road is pretty steep. It climbs from Cañoñ City, at 1.700m above the sea level, to Cripple Creek, at 2.885m above the sea level. The elevation gain is 1.185m and the average gradient is 3,03%.

This is a maintained road where a high clearance 2WD vehicle is able to travel safely at low speeds on long dry straight-of-ways, without losing control due to wash boarding, ruts, or dips. The road is carved along the side of a cliff that is supposed to fit two lanes, but really only fits one. This trail passes through remote areas, so you need to be prepared. The road and the scenery it offers are pretty much unremarkable, lots of hairpin turns as the road ascended, hugging the side of the mountain. The road accesses about a dozen (closed) gold mines and at least 2 ghost towns. The really bad, scary 'shelf' part is when you come from near Canon City heading toward Cripple Creek. When you are going this way, you will be on the outer edge of the shelf. The road is part of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway.
Road suggested by: Catrìona M. MacKirnan
Pic&video: wakkanne

 

 

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