Heritage Center: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
3 to 5 hours
About an hour west of Colorado Springs lies Cripple Creek, a historic mining town that perfectly captures the spirit of the western frontier that shaped the state of Colorado. In its early years, the Cripple Creek was known for its gold, with over 500 mines churning out more than 22 million ounces of gold over two decades. Today, you’ll find treasure of a different sort: rich history, year-round events and fun family attractions.
Take one of the most scenic drives in the state (it’s particularly stunning in the fall when the aspens turn) to a sweeping valley dotted with historic structures and grand views. The town has retained many of the storefronts and buildings that were there at its early beginnings, now filled with souvenirs, history, sweet treats and more. On occasion, you can catch a glimpse of the wild donkeys that roam the area and maybe even snap a photo!
On one end of town, you’ll find the Mollie Kathleen Goldmine, which allows visitors to descend 1,000 feet underground and ride in a mine cart. Just down the hill, you can take a ride at the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, a 45-minute trip through pristine mountains and forest (pro tip, your pup is allowed to ride with you on the train). There’s also the District Museum, which allows you to tour historic buildings and check out antique artifacts, the Jail Museum and the Heritage Center, too.
One of Cripple Creek’s most fabulous features is its annual events calendar which is packed with family-friendly activities like the Cripple Creek Ice Festival, Donkey Derby Days and the Top of the World Rodeo. And let’s not forget Gold Rush Days, shows at the Butte Theater, car rallies, motorcycle rallies, music festivals, art shows … For such a little town, Cripple Creek is kind of a big deal.
We think you’ll find that this western adventure is well worth the drive all year long and a perfect way to spend a day in the Pikes Peak region.
A glimpse of Historic Cripple Creek
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