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On Walkabout On: Lower Gold Camp Road, Colorado

Summary

  • Name: Lower Gold Camp Road
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • More Information: SummitPost.org

Narrative

Gold Camp Road used to be the old railroad bed for the train that used to run from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek.  The route was built by the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway and began operations in 1901.  The railway was one of many competing railroads transporting supplies and people to the gold mining boom towns of Cripple Creek and Victor and bringing ore back down the mountain to be processed in mills in Colorado City near present day Colorado Springs.   Gold Camp Road today is divided into three sections with the first being the Upper Gold Camp Road that I explored in this prior posting that runs from the end of Old Stage Road through to where it ends near Cripple Creek and Victor.  The mid-section of Gold Camp Road closed years ago due to a tunnel collapse that forced the mid-section to be a hiking and biking trail only.  The third section covered in this posting is the Lower Gold Camp Road which runs from Colorado City near Manitou Springs to “The Hub” parking lot located in North Cheyenne Canyon.


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It is this lower section that I took some pictures of after returning from a hike up North Cheyenne Canyon.  From “The Hub” Gold Camp road passes through this opening cut in the rock over 100 years ago:

The road is in good shape and passable during the summer by a two wheel drive vehicle.  In the winter time I would not recommend a two wheel drive vehicle on this road due to snow and ice.  Along the Lower Gold Camp Road there is plenty of pull outs for people to park and take pictures of the scenery.  For example here is a view looking back down into North Cheyenne Canyon:

There is also two tunnels to pass through on the Lower Gold Camp Road.  Here is a picture of the first tunnel:

The tunnels are narrow and caution needs to be taken when passing through them.  It is wise to turn on vehicle lights so someone on the other side can see that someone is passing through.  Once through the first tunnel I found another pull out to park and take a few more pictures of the surrounding scenery.  Here is a picture of Mt. Cutler that was directly to my south:

Here was the view looking up North Cheyenne Canyon towards Stove Mountain where St. Mary’s Falls is located:

Off in the distance to the south I could see the rocky peak of Mt. Vigil:

Also to the south I could see the northern face of Cheyenne Mountain:

After checking out the view for a few minutes I then proceeded further down the road and approached the 2nd railway tunnel:

As I approached the tunnel I noticed that this tunnel actually had the Number 1 still visible on it to represent it as the first railway tunnel that the trains to Cripple Creek would have passed through as they left Colorado Springs:

Here is another view I had from the road looking back towards North Cheyenne Canyon that shows the Mt. Buckhorn area of the canyon:

This rock on the side of the road is pretty much the final pull out where visitors can park and take in views of the city:

As this below picture shows, from the pull out there are great views of the entire city of Colorado Springs:

From the pull out the road then begins to descend down into a neighborhood of nice homes built on the slopes of the mountains.  The road then comes down near the Bear Creek Nature Center and passes by the trailhead to the Palmer Red Rock Trail Loop.  Really the last thing to see coming down the road are these rock walls before the road ends in Colorado City:

Conclusion

Overall, Lower Gold Camp Road makes for a nice drive in conjunction with a drive through North Cheyenne Canyon and a visit to Helen Hunt Falls.  The road allows people who may not enjoy hiking or are unable to, to enjoy some of the views that hikers are able to get on the various trails in the region.  I have always said North Cheyenne Canyon is a must see location in Colorado Springs and taking a drive on the Lower Gold Camp Road to go to another must see location the Garden of the Gods makes for a great day out in the Springs.

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