Cripple Creek, elevation 9, 494 feet, just below tree line was not part of the Colorado gold rush that began in the late 1850s. It was thought the area was too high and barren of that precious metal. However, in October 1890, Robert Womack discovered extremely rich ore and the last great Colorado gold rush began. Thousands flocked to the area and one of the largest gold strikes in history, The Independence Mine, was found. Nearly $500 million in gold was dug from the Cripple Creek area. Ironically, Womack died penniless in August of 1909.
Today, Cripple Creek is a wonderful town to visit during the summer months. Situated on the sloped of Pikes Peak, the town has unbelievable mountain views and cool, crisp air — it’s a great place to escape the heat of summer. There are plenty of things to see and do in this charming town.
First and foremost, explore the history and heritage that created the town. Take a tour of the Mollie Kathleen mine, descending 1,000 feet underground, or visit the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine, which is still in operation today. There are at least five terrific museums in the area including the Jail Museum, the CC Heritage Museum. In addition, take a ride on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The four-mile trip winds through the gold mining district, crosses and reconstructed trestle and stops at a deserted mining town, with plenty of stops in between for great photo opportunities.
If you like outdoor adventure, then Cripple Creek offers outstanding opportunities for horseback riding, mountain biking (trails ranged from paved blacktop to rugged mountain trails), hiking (oh my, what GREAT hiking), fishing, boating, whitewater rafting, camping, hunting and plenty of winter sport activities as well.
Theaters and opera houses have always been a strong part of Cripple Creek’s heritage. Today, the Butte Theatre delights visitors with professional productions, including plays, musicals and comedies. And oh yes, the town is home to 14 unique Colorado casinos, which vary from modern facilities to beautifully restored historic buildings.
Cripple Creek has many lodging choices – from rustic cabins to luxurious B&Bs to comfortable hotels. Hungry? There are plenty of places to get a bite — from intimate candle-lit dinners to pizza and ice cream. After eating, stroll along the boardwalk and stop by the great shops. You’ll find candy and crafts, home furnishings and fine art and much more.
The town of Cripple Creek has a fantastic website if you’d like more information.
PO Box 430
Cripple Creek, CO 80813