Cripple Creek and the surrounding region is one of the top places to visit in Colorado and boasts multiple museums, a local theatre company, a historic narrow gauge railway and the opportunity to visit an old-time mine (as well as a new, currently operating gold mine). For a bonus, take a side trip to the nearby town of Victor for a step back into the past of mining history.
Cripple Creek is a must see mountain town for our attractions!
Since the town’s early days as a small mining camp, theater has always been a part of the rich heritage of Cripple Creek. Theaters and opera houses have come and gone over the years, but one historical venue that began in the heyday of the gold rush still features exciting and original live entertainment to this day: the Butte Theater. The “Butte Concert and Beer Hall” premiered in 1896, when proprietors Halbekann & Hertz featured nightly entertainment, including a Ladies’ Vienna Orchestra. Cripple Creek’s opera house went on to have many lives over its 100+ year history – it was a skating rink, a dance academy and an auto garage, to name a few. It even housed the Cripple Creek Fire Department! Today the Butte Theater is one of only a handful of theaters in the country still consistently producing Classic Melodramas.
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
In 1967, the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad started taking passengers on a journey back into gold rush history and into the scenic heart of the Rocky Mountains. With its lovingly restored steam locomotives and historic 1894 station house, the railroad is one of the Gold Camp’s favorite family attractions. Trains leave the depot daily from mid-May through mid-October, taking visitors on an approximately 4 mile round-trip that includes stops at special points of interest with great photo opportunities.
Cripple Creek District Museum
Built in 1895 as the Midland Railroad Terminal, the Cripple Creek District Museum has worked to preserve the history of Cripple Creek since 1953. Visitors can browse through a number of historic buildings, including the 1893 Colorado Trading & Transfer building, the turn of the century Assay Office, two historic cabins and two Victorian apartments. A self-guided tour of the museum includes exhibits of railroad history, mining memorabilia, mineral displays, historic maps, furnishings and photos.
The Cripple Creek District Museum is currently closed until mid to late spring 2021.
The Cripple Creek Donkeys
The Cripple Creek Donkeys can be found free roaming the city streets from mid-May through mid-October. The herd is cared for the The Two Mile High Club. The Club is made up of volunteers and all the care costs of the herd are donation based only. From mid-October through mid-May, you can find the herd in the winter pasture located off C street and Thurlow. We encourage you to only feed our donkeys healthy treats. Carrots, apples, and approved donkey nuggets can be found at the local museums, shops, and the local grocery store. PLEASE, no processed food or junk food. Visitors come from all over the country to visit our donkeys. If you are interested in supporting the Two Mile High Club with care costs, please see our website for donation options.
Cripple Creek Fire Station #3
The Cripple Creek Fire Station #3 was built in 1900 to provide added protection after the city’s two catastrophic fires in 1896, which burned 47 acres of the city and destroyed more than 400 buildings. On display are a number of historic photos displays of firefighting equipment including a 1909 Seagrave fire wagon, a 1903 hook and ladder wagon from neighboring Goldfield, and a hose cart used in fighting local fires. Fire Station #3 is owned and operated by the City of Cripple Creek to commemorate the service of our brave firefighters throughout the years.
Cripple Creek Heritage and Information Center
In the late 1800’s thousands of fortune-seekers made their way to Cripple Creek for America’s last great gold rush. The Cripple Creek Heritage Center will get you started on your Cripple Creek journey by using state of the art interactive technology offering a look into gold mining history of yesterday and today, geologic and human history and information to regional recreation, activities and attractions. Stop here before entering the town for a spectacular view of all there is to see and do in historic Cripple Creek and Victor.
Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum
Housed in the original Teller County Jail, the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum is authentic right down to the 1901 jail cells. There was never a shortage of lawlessness in this rough mining camp, and those caught breaking the law, often did “time” right here in this building. Displays highlight early city ordinances, newspaper accounts of crimes large and small, mugshots of local criminals and even pictures of sheriffs never seen anywhere else.
Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
This historic gold mine tour descends 1,000 feet below ground, where visitors learn about the workings of the 1890s hard rock gold miner. Guided tours allow visitors to explore the overlapping evolution of all four mining phases used to extract gold from the Mollie Kathleen, beginning with a ride on a skip to the lower working levels of the mine. Visitors witness the operation of numerous pieces of air-powered gold mining equipment and ride aboard the last air-powered Tram-Air Locomotive.
The Old Homestead House
The Homestead House, build in 1896, was once the most famous brothel in Cripple Creek. Originally owned and operated by Pearl DeVere, the opulent parlor bustled with activity and became known for impeccable service for high powered customers and glamorous ladies of the evening. At a time when $3 a day was considered a good wage for a miner, Pearl charged $250 a night for the girls in her house, and she got it. Today, the Homestead House is a museum that has been lovingly restored with historically accurate furniture, artifacts, wall coverings and even the original “viewing room.”
Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
The Lowell Thomas Museum is located in nearby Victor and celebrates one of the country’s most revered broadcasters. Thomas made his mark in radio journalism in a career that spanned 50 years and took him throughout the world. The museum is housed in a historic, two-story building filled with artifacts, books, exhibits and photographs that depict life in Victor from its earliest days to the heyday of gold mining.
Victor’s Gold Camp AG and Mining Museum
This rugged three-story museum does more than showcase tractors, vehicles and old pulleys and equipment–this museum is also a working garage. Visitors can watch a complex system of pulleys and belts that power extremely large machines and equipment that would have been found in a large garage like this. An old blacksmith forge is complete with a hammer and anvil and still used at this garage today. Some of the vehicles on display are on loan to the museum; however, the large collection of tractors and equipment belongs to the curator of the museum–be sure to catch some of the great history and stories behind the impressive pieces on display!
WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF HISTORY IN OUR CITY PARKS & TRAILS
One of the greatest things about Colorado is all the things you can do outside, because we have more than 300 days of sunshine. Cripple Creek has some beautiful city parks and trails to enjoy. You can skateboard, ride BMX, challenge your friends to disc golf, explore our historical cemetery, and go on a mine tours. Take a walk through downtown to see our amazing architecture and Victorian homes. Cripple Creek is one of the best towns to visit in Colorado for outdoor fun!
FUN THINGS TO DO IN THE CRIPPLE CREEK REGION OF COLORADO
Located on the Western Slope of Pikes Peak, Cripple Creek is your Colorado destination for fun in the sun. Take scenic drives and byways through the mountains like Gold Camp Road, Phantom Canyon Road and Shelf Road. Get some exercise on our many hiking trails or visit Mueller State Park. Drop a fishing line at Skaguay Reservoir or walk across the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is America’s highest suspension bridge and zip line. If you’re looking for fun Colorado attractions, the Cripple Creek area has everything you need for a day (or week) of fun!