Idaho Springs: “Oh My Gawd” Road


“Oh My Gawd” road certainly sounds tempting. Clear Creek County’s tourism officials claim the name was inspired by road’s narrow width, steep climb, and incredible views.

“Oh My Gawd” Road begins in downtown Idaho Springs. It’s officially called “Virginia Canyon Road”. Just watch for the sign that points to Central City and Black Hawk.

Oh My Gawd (God) Road, Idaho Springs, Colorado

The views are okay, I suppose. As you climb out of Idaho Springs you’ll be treated to a view of the town and Interstate 70.  However, in my opinion, the road wasn’t awe-inspiring enough to justify including the Lord’s name. At least a half dozen other roads on this trip were more nail-biting or death-defying.

Mining Headframe, Oh My Gawd (God) Road, Idaho Springs, Colorado

 You’ll also pass a few mining operations–some are still functioning.  Of course, this is a common sight on almost any dirt road in Colorado.

My plan was to take CO Rte. 119 north from Black Hawk. However, several confusing, poorly marked intersections put me on a new road (too new to appear on my 2004 atlas) which took me back to I-70. It wasn’t until then that I realized where I was. That wrong turn ended up costing me an hour: I took I-70 to US 6, which led to Rte. 119, which eventually led back to Black Hawk. At any rate, taking 119 north will lead you up the “Peak to Peak Byway”. Take it all the way to Estes Park, if you like (Rte. 119 connects with Rte. 72, which connects with Rte. 7) I was still feeling the effects of altitude sickness, so I decided to skip the rest of the byway, and follow 119 into Boulder instead.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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