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Just over an hour west of Colorado Springs is the historic town of Cripple
Creek, Colorado, which sits on the southwest slopes of majestic Pikes Peak in
the 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 mines are a part of Cripple Creek’s colourful history, and today, visitors can choose from a wide variety of rich and wonderful experiences here.
Mining is the core of how Cripple Creek came to be. Gold was discovered in 1891 by a cowboy and part-time prospector and it transformed a sleepy, little ranching community into one of the world’s richest gold camps. Today, you can tour the Mollie Kathleen mine, descending 1,000 feet
underground and touring through its educational exhibits. Visitors will
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 (elevator) 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. This educational tour reveals how gold veins appear in their natural state and explains the processes used to extract the gold ore for production. Tours are also available at the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine, which is still in operation today.
If you’re a train enthusiast and visiting between mid-May and mid-October you’ll surely hear the nostalgic whistle of a train. The Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad features a steam locomotive that takes visitors on a winding four-mile trip through the historic gold mining district. Trains leave the historic depot daily taking visitors on a trip that includes stops at special points of interest and photo opportunities. The track heads south from Cripple Creek, crosses a reconstructed trestle and stops at a deserted mining town before returning.