August 24, 2014
We recently took the 27 mile Phantom Canyon Drive from east of Canon City, Colorado through Phantom Canyon to the old mining towns of Victor and Cripple Creek. Stop in Canon City Visitor Center; check weather conditions (dangerous during rains) and pick-up a nice map for added details.
OK, imagine nail-biting hairpin turns not knowing what or who is around each bend coupled with awe-inspiring scenery...it’s a drive that shouldn't be missed! Don’t let hairpin turns scare you away tho…the speed limit is 20mph (most are going much slower). It is meant to be savored, GET OUT OF YOUR CAR OFTEN -- LOOK UP, hike and/or explore...not a good option if you are in a hurry. It's worth the snail pace!
The road is well-maintained which makes driving possible in nearly any vehicle*--I'd call it four-wheel beauty in a two-wheel drive car. Enjoy scenic views and interesting placards along the way describing the rich history of this road, while following the old Florence and Cripple Creek RR route up the canyon. The rock formations in the canyon are amazing, the awesome vistas never stop. There are a couple stone tunnels, and numerous places that are too narrow for two-way traffic. Fortunately, there are many well-placed turn-outs that allow cars to pass. You may encounter cattle in the road at times. When the urgency hits and you need bathroom facilities – they got you covered - two along the route.
Can only imagine how” fall” would brighten up this beautiful drive – on the must do list.
Side Notes: *Wouldn’t drive anything bigger or wider than a suburban; including dooly trucks and/or Hummers. Absolutely no trailers, motorhomes, campers, or towing anything. You are very likely to be hit on one of the blind curves, and if not that, then… your vehicle will be either overweight for certain for the bridges and/or too wide.
If taking the drive from Canyon City into Victor/Cripple Creek, but do not want to return back through Phantom Canyon there is turnoff on the road to Flourissant which goes to Guffy and Canyon City which comes out on Highway 9 just north of Highway 50 near the Royal Gorge.
Remember this is a "remote" area; virtually-no cell service. Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return!!!!! Be prepared in case of a break-down.
Ready for the next scenic drive...Colorado has plenty! ~D