Colorado Springs to Cañon City Bikepack via Cripple Creek and Victor
ElevationAscent: 10,383' 3,165 m
Descent: -10,385' -3,165 m
High: 10,415' 3,174 m
Low: 5,299' 1,615 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 19% (11°)
Current trail conditions
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“A multi-day bikepacking trip through some of Colorado's least appreciated canyons.”— Stuart Black
Water is also limited. Water may be filtered from Cripple Creek and Four Mile Creek along Shelf Road, although access to Four Mile Creek is limited due to the steep terrain when you reach the "Shelf". Water may also be filtered from Eight Mile Creek in Phantom Canyon but both streams only flow intermittently. Gold Camp Road is extremely dry and water availability for filtration or treatment is extremely limited.
Cell phone service outside of Cripple Creek and Victor is spotty at best and mostly nonexistent. Carry a map alternative, either paper, download a map, or use the MTB Project mobile app.
You can park a car at the parking lot for Tunnel 3 on Gold Camp Road although it may not be the most secure place to park. Parking may be available in Manitou Springs. For Denver-area residents, the easiest way to start is to use the Bustang from Denver for $1.
The route continues as a car route to Cripple Creek while passing through more spectacular scenery on the south side of Pikes Peak. Or take CR 182 to see the Grass Valley active mine then continue to the Heritage Center in Cripple Creek for water.
Once in Cripple Creek, the route travels south to Cañon City along Shelf Road through 4 Mile Creek Canyon, a maze of spires and twisting canyons before reaching the "Shelf", a narrow route that clings to the rocks of the upper Garden Park area. The route offers breathtaking views of deep canyons and high desert terrain before passing through Garden Park and the famed Garden Park Dinosaur area. This area is known as the locality of many of today's most famous large dinosaurs. Stop and enjoy the views in between missile-like downhills through this steep canyon.
From Cañon City, the route follows the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad on a long but relatively gentle climb through Phantom Canyon. Its steep drops and towering spires offer ample opportunity for pictures. Teddy Roosevelt said that the route bankrupts the English language.
Once back in Victor, the route returns on Gold Camp Road which offers a screaming 20-mile (finally) downhill. Check your brakes before you head down the hill! You'll need them!
Phantom Canyon was the route of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad which operated from the late 1890 to 1912 when all but one of 12 bridges along Eight Mile Creek were washed out in a flash flood that ended the railroad.
The Garden Park dinosaur quarries were part of an 1870s "dinosaur" rush and dinosaur war between Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh and resulted in the discoveries of most of the famous dinosaurs - T. rex, stegosaurus, and brontosaurs - that we know today. Many of their bones are on display in the Peabody Museum and Philadelphia.
Land Manager: BLM Colorado - Royal Gorge Field Office