The discovery of gold in 1891 upended ranching, making the stories in the region intertwined and inextricably connected. More than 25 mining towns and 500 mines sprang up in the Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District. Today, these towns highlight the Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway, which travels roads built to connect the towns and serve as transportation routes for the gold.
The Shelf Road was the first connecting the gold camps to the Front Range. Soon after, Phantom Canyon was completed. The Teller One Road follows a third stagecoach and wagon route. Ultimately, the Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District – known as the biggest Gold Camp in the world – produced over 21 million ounces of gold, more than the California and Alaska Gold Rushes combined.