Colorado Scenic Byways Map
Goldbelt Tour Scenic Byway
The Wild West brought a new culture to the frontiers of Colorado. When people headed west, they contributed new organization of towns, roads, and mines, but also gun fights, saloons and hangings. Force, not reason, was the decision maker, and everything that the land provided was used with no restraint. The most prominent mining towns populated the central region of Colorado. These included Florissant, Victor, Canon City and Florence. Also in this region is Cripple Creek, once the center of mining activity. With gold discovery in 1890, this town was soon a booming city with three railroads, two electric trams, and a modern water and sewage system. These towns create what was once the most productive area for mining in North America. The 135 mile Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historical byway travels through these towns and brings the West of the past back to the present. Be sure to give yourself at least 8 hours to see everything.
For beautiful scenery, the Skyline Drive has the best views in the area. Also be sure to drive Shelf Road, built in 1892 as the first district route from Cripple Creek to the Arkansas River Valley. Now as thrilling as a roller-coaster and perched above Fourmile Creek, this narrow shelf road provides some of the most adventurous driving ever! The Royal Gorge Park has the longest suspension bridge in the area as well as fine dining and shopping.
Before the West was won, there were others that populated the area. Look for these blasts from the past in any of the three fossil sites in the area. The Garden Park Fossil site once contained dinosaur bones of the stegosaurus and brachiosaurus, now residing at Denver's Museum of Natural History. The Florissant Fossil Beds have fossils of plants and small animals that lived over 35 million years ago. Last, the Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site boasts 460 million year old tracks of arthropods. Internationally recognized by paleontologists as having the most diverse and complete collections, these three sites make the area unique.
For outdoor recreation, this trail also flaunts outdoor activities. Known as home to some of the best rafting and fly fishing, the Arkansas River between Leadville and Canon City provides activities for old and young alike. On the lower shelf road, picnicking, camping, hiking and photography are common past times.
Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do
BIG Rig friendly! Classic Colorado RV Park; Camp in pines! 15 miles to Pueblo Reservoir: fishing, boating, hiking. Floyd's is 25 miles east of Royal Gorge Bridge; 40 miles south of Colorado Springs.
FROMMER'S gave Lost Burro a 5 Star Rating! Summer Mountain Cabins. Tenters and RVers welcome. Camping and lodging in the cool mountains along the Goldbelt Tour Scenic Byway near Cripple Creek.
More Activities & Information
Cripple Creek, Colorado includes: Victor
Pikes Peak Area, Colorado includes: Cascade, Chipita Park, Deckers, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park
Pikes Peak West, Colorado includes: Divide, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Florissant, Lake George, Tarryall Reservoir
Royal Gorge Area, Colorado includes: Cañon City, Coaldale, Cotopaxi, Florence, Guffey, Penrose, Texas Creek