Sunday, January 31, 2016

Phantom Canyon

Phantom Canyon Road
In the 1890s, a narrow gauge railroad line twisted its way through a 30-mile trek near Cripple Creek, Florence and Canon City in Colorado. This line serviced over 500 gold mines in the area and at one time was one of the busiest in the country.

Today this old line is a part of a road known as The Gold Belt Scenic Drive.

This road slowly gains elevation-- from 5,500 feet to 9,500 feet. It follows the same path as the railroad did—and is mostly unpaved.
Phantom Canyon Road
The traveler within 30 miles passes through two hand-hewn railroad tunnels that were meticulously chiseled out of the dense mountainous terrain by miners making room for the booming gold industry.

Eight Mile Creek
This route also affords spectacular views of mountain meadows, Ponderosa Pine forests, pinyon-juniper and cholla cactus. At the end are high desert grasslands.

A shorter stretch of this scenic byway is known as Eight Mile Creek. This part of the road winds through canyons that rise and drop over 4,000 feet which hems the traveler in.

It was along this stretch of the railroad track, where the engineers on this line excelled at navigating sharp, narrow turns and steep unguarded drop-offs. 

It was here one railroad crew in the early 1890s witnessed something they never forgot.

On a night run, this crew was headed toward Cripple Creek when they spotted a man walking alongside the tracks.

He wore a prison uniform with his number clearly visible on his back.

The engineer, once the train reached Cripple Creek, reported this sighting to the nearby Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City.

To his shock, he was informed that the prisoner he and his crew had seen had been executed a few days before.

This story was told so often that by the 20th century this canyon had been renamed, Phantom Canyon.

Higher tunnel located on this road.
This story served the locals well for it attracted a stronger tourist trade to the area, after most of the mines played out.

Phantom Canyon Road is approximately a one-hour drive from Colorado Springs. It is located between the cities of Florence and Victor. This road can be accessed from Highway 115 to the south and 67 to the north.


Trestle near Eight
Mile Creek.
Warning: If you go in search of this ghost, be advised, this road is a treacherous drive even during the day, so it is not recommended for people who are not used to driving mountainous roads, especially at night.


Various views of the road.

1 comment:

John Midwood said...

The first photo shows a great deal of latent spirit energy.