Location: Colorado, USA
Length: 35 miles (56,3 km)
Width: 2 lanes
Surface quality (out of 10): 6
Highest point: 9,500 feet (2895.6 m)
Operating times: open all year
via Phantom Canyon Rd
Route: from Victor to Cañon City
Phantom Canyon Road Description
The Phantom Canyon Road is a challenging route that will give you the adrenaline pumping journey you were searching for. It’s a gravel roadway, located in Colorado, USA. It weaves between two giant 1000-foot mountain walls. To build this road, two rock-blasted tunnels were made.
Like many other canyon roads, this one is old and narrow. It’s a former rail bed that winds through some gorgeous places. In the beginning, it’s smooth, and you can easily handle it. As you get close to Victor, it gets rougher, especially on those sections where the water goes across the road and creates trenches. Overall, it’s not an easy ride. It takes some skills to drive here and also enjoy the trip. But for those that have them and know what they are looking for, this route will be a very pleasant one.
To add to its difficulty, there are some tight stretches of road, with steep walls that you will come across on your way. But as you drive more, they will open op. Although the Phantom Canyon road features two lanes, on some sections there isn’t enough room for two cars. You will also have to pay attention to the many blind curves you will come across and adapt the speed accordingly. Taking into consideration the narrow spaces, these combined with speed and blind curves could be dangerous. Besides this, there are many sharp drop-offs, surprise corners and steep stretches. Attention is key when driving on this kind of roads.
The elevation is quite high, and it also changes during the drive. It starts at 5,500 ft, near Florence, Colorado and it soon reaches 9,500 ft in Victor.
A must have experience
Driving the Phantom Canyon road is a memorable experience. The route is varied, and sightseeing is a great idea since it also features hand-cut stone tunnels, three elevated old steel and wood bridges, as well as the canyon’s rock formations. Although the steepness of the road varies, the road climbs gently, so the elevation changes aren’t too sudden.
Since it’s a gravel, winding road, these conditions will encourage you to slow down. This will give you the chance to enjoy the scenery and see a wide range of fauna and flora. A road becomes even better when you combine driving with sightseeing and this one offers plenty of both. As you would expect, we recommend you drive a 4×4 vehicle since the road conditions are as described here.
Drivers that have a taste for adventure will really enjoy this route. The narrow dirt road that winds through the beautiful canyon will give you excitement and the opportunity to explore the stunning scenery. It’s no surprise that the Phantom Canyon Road is part of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway.
Photo sources: https://www.colorado.com/articles/colorado-hidden-gem-phantom-canyon-road, https://www.rodeo-labs.com/tag/phantom-canyon/, https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g33379-d2658635-i211935559-Phantom_Canyon_Road-Cripple_Creek_Colorado.html, https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/phantom-canyon-road/photos