National ScenicByway, Victor
is at the junction of railroad routes which serve as
today's highways. The Phantom Canyon Road is one of
the most scenic and historic drives in Colorado. The
route, which follows the 1890’s bed of the Florence &
Cripple Creek Railroad (F&CC), increases in elevation
from 5,500 to 9,500 feet and offers the chance to see a
wide range of plants and wildlife in their natural
The F&CC was built in 1894 as the first connection from
Florence to the goldfields of Cripple Creek and Victor.
The unique bridges and tunnels offer a visual link to
the area's historic past.
Following Eight Mile Canyon, the railroad hauled gold
ore from the mines of Cripple Creek & Victor to
processing mills in
Florence from 1893 to 1912. The F&CC was a popular
passenger route as well, making a social connection
between the gold fields and Florence and Canon City.
The F&CC was shut down July 12, 1912 when a huge flood
roared down the canyon, ripping out track and 12
The route was opened as an auto road in 1918 and today
is part of the Gold Belt National Scenic Byway. The old
Steel Bridge, two tunnels, and other historic sites are
part of the drive.
The Midland Terminal, which ran from Colorado Springs up
to Cripple Creek, opened July 4, 1894 three days after
F&CC arrived. Four passenger trains per day ran on the
tracks and gold was hauled to a processing plant on
Colorado Springs’ west side.
The railroad, which is now Highway 67 from Divide to
Cripple Creek, closed in 1949 when it was no longer
necessary to haul gold down the mountain for processing.
Today the Cripple & Victor Narrow Gauge is the only
remaining railroad trip.
Gold Camp Road
NOTE - July 3,
2012 - El Paso County sheriff Terry Maketa has
ordered a road closure in the 2100 block of Old
Stage Road effective at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The closure
effectively denies access to Gold Camp Road.
To solidify the closure of the
area, the Teller County Sheriff's Office will close
Gold Camp Road within their jurisdiction at Lazy S
Ranch Road. The closure will remain in effect until
further notice. For those with homes within the
closure area, access into the area will be granted
with proof of residency.
The sheriff's office closed the
road because fire danger remains extremely high.
Fire fighting resources are spread thin due to the
ongoing effort to fight the Waldo Canyon Fire.
were the lifeline of the gold mining district in the
early days. Three railroads serviced this area,
including the Short Line, or the Colorado Springs &
Cripple Creek District Railway. The Shortline was
the shortest route from the goldfields to Colorado
Springs and operated two passenger trains each way
daily starting in April of 1901.
The 46-mile route
cost over $4.5 million in 1900 value and was paid
for by wealthy mine owners. Over 220 box cars and 60
ore cars brought ore from the Cripple Creek and
Victor mines down the mountain to the mills in and
around Colorado Springs.
During the summer it
is said that over 50,000 tourists traveled the
route, one of them was Theodore Roosevelt, who
proclaimed “This is the ride that bankrupts the
English language!” Service on the route ended in
1920. In 1924 the road was opened as the Corley
Mountain Highway, operating as a toll road until
1939. Later it became Gold Camp Road.
Gold Camp Road winds from Teller County 81 north of
Victor down the mountain canyons to Old Stage Road
near the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. A tunnel in
the last leg of the route washed out in the mid
1980s and that portion of the original road is
routed to the Old Stage Road - and is open to
Colorado Springs. The road is maintained, though can
be washboardy and in winter may require four-wheel
drive or chains. The scenery is spectacular and
includes towering rock formations, overviews of
Colorado Springs and in the fall, brilliant gold
The best way to find
Gold Camp Road is traveling from Gillett south on
County Road 81 or from Victor north on Teller County
Rd 81 - the intersection is marked with a US Forest
Service sign and a directional map sign.
The Road to Skagway
Reservoir is a pristine mountain fishing spot and
hiking opportunity. From Victor, take CR 81 to Phantom
Canyon Road and drive about .5 miles to the left turn to
Arequa Gulch Bridge
Just to Victor’s west on
Highway 67 you will cross the highest bridge on the
Colorado State Highway system. The bridge across Arequa
Gulch was built in 2000-2001 as part of a highway
realignment project to accommodate the expansion of the
Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining
Company’s (CC&V) valley fill facility. CC&V financed the
design and construction.
Completed in just 11 months, the $18 million realignment
project is one of the largest highway projects in the
state to be financed completely with private dollars.
The new roadway is 1.9 miles long, replacing a 1.8-mile
segment. The most spectacular part of the project is a
1,218-foot long bridge over Arequa Gulch. The bridge,
which is 250 feet tall at its highest point, is the
tallest bridge of Colorado's 8,479 bridges on the state
highway system. The bridge provides travelers with
unparalleled views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountain
A portion of the project also involved building a scenic
pullout area that enables travelers to view the mountain
range and the valley far below. These are views which
have never before available from the highway. At the
pullout is the trailhead for the Little Grouse Mountain
Tail, a project of CC&V, interpreted by the Southern
Teller County Focus Group as part of its Trails of Gold
project. The trail winds up the mountain to a summit
with a 360-degree view of the western and southern
mountains as well as nearby mountaintops.