Heritage

The historic town of Cripple Creek, Colorado sits on the southwest slopes of majestic Pikes Peak in the beautiful Colorado Rockies. More than 100 years ago, this charming community attracted tens of thousands of gold-seekers to its hillsides in search of their fortunes. The Gold Rush is part of Cripple Creek’s colorful history, and today, visitors can choose from a variety of heritage-rich experiences such as descending 1,000 feet underground on a gold mine tour or by visiting one of Cripple Creek’s museums.

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society

Cripple Creek’s history extends back to the days of old, when mountain men explored the area and Native Americans lived off the land. The area would see many changes as the Gold Rush put Cripple Creek on the map. Soon, major transportation systems and railroads were developed and the gold camp grew. While World Wars and Labor Wars have aided in the decline in the number of mines currently in operation in Cripple Creek, visitors can visit the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold mine, which is still in operation today. In recent history, gaming was introduced into Cripple Creek in 1991 and it has become one of the major industries of Cripple Creek.

Cripple Creek is rich in heritage, and our colorful history is fascinating. We encourage visitors to stay and play in Cripple Creek. Discover Cripple Creek’s past, and leave here rich – rich from your experience, and maybe a little more!

  • Long before gold was discovered deep in the rock of Pikes Peak, American Indians lived off the land in the mountain's shadow.  The earliest inhabitants were the Utes, a people whose tribal elders say didn't migrate here, but instead lived for generations in the mountains, foothills, and high plains.  The name "Ute" means "land of the sun."

  • In the early 1800s, Colorado was an unknown expanse of wilderness.  Adventuresome beaver trappers and explorers explored its valleys and forests, established forts, encountered American Indians, and drew the first rough maps.  It was not gold that originally brought the first visitors from the East coast to the Rocky Mountains in the early 1800s

  • Many miners in the Cripple Creek district had been farmers back east, and didn't even know what they were looking for in their quest for gold.  They didn't know how to pitch a tent or build a fire.  But they had caught gold fever.  In the 1840s, gold-seekers crowded the trails across the Great Plains on their way to California, where gold had be

  • From 1890 to 1910, more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines in the Cripple Creek Mining District, which included Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor.

  • At its peak, the gold camp was served by three railroads and two electric trolley systems.  The narrow-gauge Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad came up from Florence through Phantom Canyon, climbing 5,000 feet in 40 miles.  Called "The Gold Belt Line," this train ran three times a day until 1912, when its roadbed was washed out by a flood.

  • The Pikes Peak Region is rich with history, and several historical societies have formed to preserve the area's history and heritage for future generations.  These historical societies are often seen participating in events throughout the state, and are often found providing ambiance and information on the streets while in period clothing.  Some

  • Beautiful cemeteries and stunning memorials can be found in the Gold Camp Region.  Some cemeteries offer maps for self-guided tours, providing information on the history of the property, as well as the stories of some of the people buried or memorialized there.  Located among stunning scenery and peaceful environments, you are invited to visit o