Colorado mining towns

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Colorado mining towns

Over many years of living and visiting Colorado, we’ve come to really enjoy the history and joy of visiting the tiny mountain towns of Goldmine, Victor and of course Cripple Creek. Note: Focus on this post and all the photography is featuring Victor. The main blog post photo is of our son Matt and his GF Lauren… we throughly enjoyed their company on this trip!

A map of the general area – note the mining scars and concentration on that one area.

Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the mining district in that general area exploded with growth similar to the Gold Rush era of California. The “district” as it was referred to during this time in history produced over $10B in gold value based on current gold prices.

Street scene of the old Fortune Club with its terrific history
A glance up the street

The town of Victor had upwards of 10,000 residents and damn near as many saloons! Today the population is a mere 400-500 hearty souls still managing to scratch out a living. I believe theres only two or three places to get a drink and only 1-2 spots to eat. We enjoyed the historic Victor Hotel’s F&B and hospitality.

Early marketing still important today
Activity from a mineral and gem show

Back twenty years ago we bought ten acres a few miles due west of Cripple Creek and even back then, we loved driving over to Victor to explore the old buildings and mill around in the old dusty stores. We’ve also rambled along the many back roads like the Shelf Road (scary as hell) with the long steep drop-offs and no guard rails, the long and twisting road over to Colorado Springs on Gold Camp Loop Road.

Neat old architectural designs
The Elks Lodge – a very cool hangout with loads of history

Honestly, all three of these towns give you an experience of being lost in time, but Goldfield and Victor never got the gaming approval so they are just barely surviving as has been the case since 1925. Cripple Creek has nine casinos and the full gaming licensing so its doing “ok” not exactly thriving at this point due to the remote location and lack of a viable population base. Nonetheless we love it. One of the casinos offers a .59 (cents) breakfast along with mostly low stakes gaming. Shopping along the main drag…Bennett Ave. is fun with a nice variety of totally unnecessary items to spend good money on.

Early workhorse – imagine the assignments over its lifetime.
Victor was completely rebuilt following two massive fires back in the 1800’s.

We made friends with one of the owners/bartender at the Victor Hotel where they serve up a nice but limited selection of draft beers and cocktails and will often have the smoker going for ribs, beef/pork dishes. Great place to visit and relax with friends and family as we did.

A busy and hectic day in downtown Victor – gridlock.

City Hall

There’s a good selection of hotels/motels in Cripple Creek and while there is 1-2 RV Campgrounds – we don’t recommend either of them. Let us know and maybe come visit us at our Pipes Peak Ranch!

Just in case you missed our most recent episode of “Stupid Stuff” here’s a quick link for you: “Stupid Stuff”

Chris Pipes
chris@pipestraveler.com
6 Comments
  • Brian E Lowery
    Posted at 21:41h, 23 October Reply

    After watching your Stupid Stuff segment, I knew I was right to think of you as a Mallet Head!๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚ Good segment!!

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:56h, 29 October Reply

      Haha – guess I’ve been called a lot worse things! Thanks for following along and keeping in touch Brian. Bubba.

  • Steve Fruit
    Posted at 00:33h, 24 October Reply

    this is uber-cool! I’m envious of your retirement adventure!

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:55h, 29 October Reply

      Thanks Steve and we’re so glad to have you follow along…its been so much fun and every single day gets us a new adventure!

  • Sam And Barbara
    Posted at 13:47h, 24 October Reply

    sounds like Colorado is winning you over. Don’t forget that it will be 65 f. here in February.

    • PipesTraveler
      Posted at 19:54h, 29 October Reply

      Yes, we sure LOVE Colorado, but WY, Montana and Idaho too – oh yeah and Alabama! Weโ€™re planning to be out west every summer and back in FL for winter…seems to be a solid plan. Back in North FL now and adjusting to the temps!

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