There are some things that everyone knows about Cripple Creek, Colorado. For instance, they have fantastic hiking trails, a quaint Main Street with shops you won’t find anywhere else, and a deceivingly excellent food scene. While Cripple Creek is well-known for its fun inside and out, there are still a few secrets you may not know unless you’re a local. These are just a few surprising and unusual facts about Cripple Creek.
We’ve Seen Many Famous Faces
Cripple Creek was once a thriving gold-mining town, so many people sought fame and fortune on our streets. One such story goes that the famous outlaw Robert Ford, who was responsible for the assassination of Jesse James, planned to settle down in Cripple Creek after the attack but was met at the edge of town by the sheriff, who kindly asked him to find someplace else to make a home. Perhaps the most famous person tied to Cripple Creek is THE Groucho Marx of the Marx brothers. Legend has it that after being abandoned in Cripple Creek by his traveling comedy troop, he stuck around and worked in the town before returning home to start the Marx Brothers.
You Can Hop On an Old Fashioned Train
There are only a few trains in the U.S., and the ones we have are more modern subway-style trains. Cripple Creek has kept a bit of history alive with the Cripple Creek Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The coal fire train runs from late May to early October, allowing guests of Cripple Creek to explore the area by rail. The train is first come, first serve and runs throughout the day.
Home to Eight Museums
The statistic alone may not be that surprising in Denver but having that many museums in a town the size of Cripple Creek is something to take pride in. Visitors can spend time at the Cripple Creek District Museum, Fire Station #3, Heritage and Information Center, Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum, The Old Homestead House, Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, Victor’s Gold Camp Ag and Mining Museum, and The Mollie Kathleen Goldmine. All of these museums are a fascinating look at the past, and if you go a little further out to places like Pike’s Peak and Colorado Springs, there are even more museums to enjoy.
Home to One of the Few Female-Owned Goldmines
Mollie Kathleen was the first woman to stake a claim in the Cripple Creek and Victor gold camp. In those days, women didn’t enjoy today’s equality, so it was infrequent for a woman’s name to be on a claim. While the history of the mine is unique, the mine itself is also impressive. The tour of Mollie’s mine is the only vertical mine shaft tour in the United States. Visitors use an elevator to descend 1,000 feet below the ground and view gold veins in their natural state.
Play the Loosest Slots at Triple Crown Casinos
Most cities would be lucky to have a single casino, but Cripple Creek is fortunate enough to have three. That means when the table is cold at one casino, you can pop over to the next one to try your luck. Each casino has a unique character and features, so gaming feels fresh every time you step onto a new floor.
Home to Several Ghost Stories
Not every surprising Cripple Creek Fact has to do with the town’s gold-mining past, although you could argue that this, too, is connected to the town’s illustrious history. Whether you believe in ghosts is entirely up to you, but some people do, and they believe that plenty are floating around Cripple Creek. For example, there is a rumor that the Cripple Creek firehouse has a ghost named Jack that is just as likely to make a mess as he is to clean up after the firefighters. There are rumors that a pair of spirits still haunt the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum from events that happened when it was the old Teller County jail. There are plenty of other alleged ghost sightings from famous buildings around town. Who’s to say whether they are true, but the one sure thing is that the spirit of fun is all around Cripple Creek.
An Annual Graveyard Event
The idea of ghosts floating around town wouldn’t be as prominent if it weren’t for the Gold Camp Victorian Society. The society holds many events in the area and is passionate about teaching visitors about the history of Cripple Creek, but one event stands out as unusual. Every year in September, the society holds the Mt. Pisgah Speaks event in the historic Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. This event kicks off the Halloween season and sees members of the Victorian Society dress up as some of Cripple Creek’s most notorious past residents. Tours are guided through the cemetery to meet the sometimes funny, sometimes spooky, but always attention-grabbing residents who have returned for one night only to tell their stories.
Regarding surprising and unusual, Cripple Creek has one last trick. From spring through fall, the streets of Cripple Creek are home to wild donkeys. The donkeys wander the streets looking for visitors to interact with them and feed them healthy treats. When the season wraps up, they are cared for in a pasture, kept warm and fed, and provided health care. There is no place else in the country where you can have a unique experience like the Cripple Creek donkeys, and it makes for a surprising and unusual vacation.
Be a Part of Cripple Creek’s Unique Past and Present
Cripple Creek may not be your standard vacation destination, making it all the more desirable. We might have some unusual traditions, but you’ll find everything in Cripple Creek, from beautiful accommodations to one-of-a-kind restaurants. When it’s time for relaxation, you can stroll our historic main street and pop into the many locally owned shops to find a souvenir. Some people may find our way of life surprising and unusual, but the only thing we would find unexpected and unique is you wanting to avoid coming back regularly after your first visit.