Shelf Road between Canon City and Cripple Creek. Photo: David
The Gold Belt Tour is a jaw-dropping 131-mile drive through Colorado’s former mining country. It retraces the supply routes between the Front Range’s biggest gold camps.
It loops from Florissant to Florence, passing through Cripple Creek, Victor and Cañon City, as well as by countless landmarks and relics. The thrilling drive gets narrow in places, but 2WD should be fine, just take it slow. One optional part, Shelf Road, has a section that hangs 200 feet down above the valley floor.
In 2000 the Gold Belt Tour was declared a National Scenic Byway. You can reach it easily by heading west from Colorado Springs or Pueblo.
Florissant Fossil Beds – Discover petrified redwood up to 14 feet wide and thousands of plant and insect fossils.
Garden Park Dinosaur Fossil Area – Two-legged, plant-eating dinosaur fossils, dinosaur eggs, and dinosaur tracks have been discovered here.
Royal Gorge – It’s a steep, narrow canyon with a depth of 1250 feet in places.
Season: Year Round
Length: 131 miles, 5 hours
Roads: 2WD, Free
Map: Gold Belt Tour (.png)