Shelf Road Sites

Shelf Road is one of the most popular sport climbing areas in Colorado. It is located in south central Colorado, north of Canon City. Shelf Road follows the old stagecoach route to Cripple Creek. Canon City built this toll road back in 1892 - its free now. It twists north from Canon City along Fourmile Creek through valleys and canyons. Long bands of limestone tower above the road and line the rims of nearby canyons. The road through the canyons involves an elevation change from 5,330 feet at Canon City to 9,395 feet at Cripple Creek (a nice drive when tired from climbing). It is a dirt road, but easy, and passable with 2 WD vehicles. Shelf Road is home to many quality sport climbing routes, vertical limestone and is well known as one of the best climbing sites in Colorado. A sport climber's mecca with nearly 1000 routes on bombproof pocketed limestone. Routes vary from 5.7- 5.13 mostly bolted routes. There are two camping locations at Shelf Road. The lower area, Sand Gulch has 14 campsites and 1 group camping site. The upper area at The Banks has 33 campsites and 2 group camping sites. Just before you arrive at Shelf Road, you will pass Sand Gulch campground on your left. This is quality, spacious camping and access to the Sand Gulch area, home to many moderates climbs about a 15 minute walk from the campground. There is day use parking at the northwest end of the campground, and overflow parking at the north end, where the Free form trail begins. Shelf Road also has ample-sized trailhead parking for equestrians with corrals. Adventurous anglers can hike to Fourmile creek for fishing. Hiking and hunting are popular in the area as well as a short drive on a 4X4 loop trail. For more information, please contact the Royal Gorge Field Office. There is much public information available.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips

Geographic Coordinates

38.62438, -105.22499


From I-25 to Colorado Springs, take the exit for Canon City Travel SW on CO 115 to US Hwy 50, then west about 10 miles to Canon City. From Hwy 50 in Canon City, you can turn north at the Steinmeier traffic light (at Wal-Mart) or head North on Raynolds. Travel north on either road as both will curve to the left and intersect Field Avenue. Turn north (right) on Field and travel on this two-lane road for about five miles. It will join Fremont County Road 9 (also called Red Canyon Road) at a "Y" intersection. From here, continue north for 9.4 miles. You will see two roads on the left before the road you are traveling on turns to dirt. Both roads provide access to day-use and rock climbing sites. The first left is Sand Gulch area and the second left takes you to the Banks Campground and parking for day use. For the Banks area, travel by a corral and trailer parking and continue on the steep windy dirt road for approximately 1.25 miles. The campground will be on your right. TRAILERS NOT ADVISED on the Banks road.