Things To Do In Colorado Casino Towns
GOLDEN GATE STATE PARK Turn right on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (Highway 119) north of Black Hawk onto Highway 46 and go about seven miles and you'll find a great Colorado State Park, Golden Gate. With 14,000 acres there's something for every outdoor enthusiast, whether hiking, picnicing, bird watching, camping or fishing, among dense aspen-laden forests, wild flowers and rugged rock formations. Head up to Panorama Point (where weddings and special events, celebrations and reunions are hosted) for breathtaking views for 100 miles of the Continental Divide. There are hunting opportunities at nearby Green Ranch. You'll find 155 campsites and miles and miles of hiking trails. The Aspen camp area is open for tent camping year round. Cabins and yurts open Jan. 4, 2002 for winter camping at Reverand's Ridge in Golden Gate State Park (there are electric sites on Loop C).For camping reservations call 1-800-678-2267.
GOLD PANNING AT OLD TIMER & VIC'S Pan for gold, summer months or shop for treasures at these Highway 119 establishments. The Old Timer has a picnic area and lots of stories from "Digger." Vic's was featured in National Geographic.
GREGORY MONUMENT Located halfway between Black Hawk and Central City, the Gregory Monument honors John Gregory, who discovered gold in 1859, His first pan contained one-quarter ounce of gold and the lode ended up producing nearly a million ounces of the precious yellow gold. Erected by the State Historical Society of Colorado in 1932.
HIDEE MINE TOURS Mine tours available by appointment only. Call 303-989-2861.
KOA KAMPGROUND Located just a half mile off Highway 119, the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, just north of Black Hawk on Highway 46, this Kampground is sure to please. Enjoy hiking, fishing, panning for gold and easy access to the casinos. Kids under 6 camp for free. The KOA offers pull-through sites and has 50-amp service available. Get cable TV, LP gas and firewood for a nominal charge. The kampstore features thousands of products, guide books and maps. Be sure to grab a copy of the Little Kingdom Come, a local paper featuring interesting stories on the politics and characters of the area. You'll find it hilarious! Call 1-800-562-1620, for more information and reservations.
THE LACE HOUSE Black Hawk's Lace House sets on Main Street among all the high-rising casinos, a remnant of the glory days of yore. This real gingerbread house, built in Carpenter Gothic architectural style, can be seen during limited hours, Call the City of Black Hawk for more information.
MACK'S BREWERY At one time there were three breweries in Central City. About a mile from Main Street up Eureka Street lie the ruins of Mack's Brewery. It was there before that other big one, down the hill in Golden. For 20 years Mack's supplied thousands of kegs of beer to Central City, Black Hawk and the
little mountain towns dotting the area, all the way to Idaho Springs and Georgetown. Wagons with teams of horses and mules hauled the kegs to their destinations. The brewery even boasted a beer garden with a small swimming pool that served as the ice supply to cool the beer in the summer.
NEVADAVILLE Originally dubbed Nevada City in 1859, rivaled Central City in its gold-mining heyday in size and population. Located a mile west of Central City, the old town still stands though sparsely populated. There is little
left of the original town, but the Masonic Lodge still stands and new little shops are springing up, like the Hidden Treasure Nitch featuring curiosities, antiques and books and the Bald Mountain Trading Post selling antiques, souvenirs and rocks (303-582-3626). At one time, Nevadaville had 15 saloons, and 13 churches.
OH MY GAWD ROAD (INDIAN SPRINGS, MT. EVANS, ARGO MINE, DINING & LODGING IN IDAHO SPRINGS) There's a reason why this well-maintained dirt road got dubbed its unusual name by locals. When you travel this scenic route you'll see vistas of Mt. Evans, old mine ruins and some of the most spectacular views to be found. The road connects Central City to Idaho Springs where you'll also find things to do. You can visit Indian Springs an old resort featuring natural hot springs to soak away your aches and pains. There's a water wheel worthy of photo opportunities, and just west of the town, is the exit to Mt. Evans and the highest paved highway in the world. This side trip will take you through incredible mountain vistas, past crystal clear lakes and an eerie wind forest. You're guaranteed to see abundant wild life (closed winter months). The Argo Mine in Idaho Springs also hosts guided tours and there's plenty of unique shopping throughout town. Oh My Gawd Road can be accessed from Spring Street in Central City and from Miner's Mesa in Black Hawk. Bring your camera!
OLD BLACK HAWK JAIL Stop by Jazz Alley Casino on Black Hawk's Main Street to see the remains of the old Black Hawk jail, painstakingly restored rock by rock, and a private home, circa 1907. While you're there indulge in a little gambling.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The Presbyterian Church in Black Hawk was dedicated in 1863, and was the first Presbyterian church west of the Mississippi River to have a bell in its belfry. The church was sold to the Black Hawk School in 1907, when it was used for a gymnasium.
ROLLINS PASS Four wheelers and ATV enthusiasts will find some great areas above Central City (around the old reservoir) and going to Rollins Pass, north of Black Hawk on Highway 119. Turn west at Rollinsville, near the rail track and you'll find fishing in Boulder Creek, opportunities for hiking and backpacking and the famous Moffat Tunnel, which opens the railway all the way to Winter Park Ski Area.
SHOPPING IN CENTRAL CITY & BLACK HAWK Annie Oakley's on Main Street offers groceries and much more; short-term, on-street parking is available. Bear Mountain Trading Post on Lawrence Street, as you enter Central City, features authentic Native American and Western jewelry, music, books and artwork. Ermel's Emporium a small thrift store in Central City. Mountain Mud & Mercantile sells coffee, convenience items, antiques and collectible gifts. Old Time Candy Store on Central City's Main Street features candies and ice cream. Santa Fe Central has exceptional Indian jewelry, collectibles, gifts, t-shirts and souvenirs. Santa Fe Canyon Gift shop in the Canyon Casino in Black Hawk offers much the same as its sister property in Central City and some wonderful Western clothing, jewelry, artwork and more. The Wild Card's Grocery Store offers groceries, convenience items, film and more, located in the back of the Wild Card Saloon in Black Hawk, on the first floor. Many of the area casinos also offer gift shops on premises for casino-logoed goods and more.
ST JAMES METHODIST CHURCH Central City's first church began in a number of locations around town until it found its way to the permanent building of native stone in July of 1872. As early as 1859, services were held at the home of Aunt Clare Brown, a slave who bought her freedom in 1857. The church building was started in 1864, but stopped when the money ran out. The awesome and unusual pipe organ with 61 keys was bought in May of 1898 for $3,000. The organ was provided with air pressure by hand-operated bellows until an electric blower was installed.
ST. MARY'S OF THE ASSUMPTION CHURCH The Catholic church began as a two-story frame building, but burned down in 1874, and a new church was built on the same site of stone and brick. St. Mary's was rededicated in 1892 and has the original bell saved from the devastating fire. It has a circular, frescoed ceiling and seats 400. Located off Pine Street, parallel to Central City's Main Street and the former red light district.
ST. PAUL'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH The first church was built of wood in 1863 and burned down in 1873. The new church was started that same year of native stone in Gothic style. The church features beautiful stained glass windows and a special cornerstone made with a cavity, containing local old newspapers, a Bible, prayer book, silver dollar, other bills and coins, a
pound of Colorado wheat and photo of Central City. The church seats 300.
TELLER HOUSE The old Teller House Hotel was under construction in 1870 by H.M. Teller and completed by June of 1872, costing $104,000, a huge sum in those days. It was one of the more exclusive buildings in the entire state, charging $2 a night, four times the amount of other hotels of the era. Each room was carpeted with plush carpets from Brussels and trimmed in walnut. The room door was provided with a patented safety lock, to be unlocked from the outside, and guests were treated to running water on each floor from the Teller Springs on Prosser Gulch to a holding tank in the attic. The dining room/banquet hall could seat 100 people, who were treated to music from a grand piano and Teller House Orchestra music. It became a hangout for the who's who of society. President Ulysses S.Grant visited in 1873, and the townsfolk paved the walkway from the stage coach door to the Teller House entrance with silver bricks. Though the hotel is no longer operating, there is still a museum, showcasing rich, original furnishings of the era and the famous bar with the "Face on the Barroom Floor," painted by an artist in 1936, who was inspired by the poems of the late 1800s.
THOMAS HOUSE Built in 1874, the Thomas House is constructed in the Greek Revival theme. The house sets at 209 Eureka Street in Central City built into the entrance of an old mine. It was a middle class residence and is now open to the public for tours. Special rates are available to tour both the Thomas House and the Gilpin County Historical Museum on High Street. Call 303-582-5283 for more information.
WASHINGTON HALL/GILPIN COUNTY ARTS ASSOCIATION GALLERY The original courthouse and jail is one of the oldest buildings in the area, built to last of native logs and later sided. Washington Hall hosts national and local art exhibits and the summer arts show for the past 50 years. It's one of the oldest juried shows featuring Colorado artists. You'll find five rooms of art, a tiny museum upstairs and a magnificent little gift shop. The gallery is located at 117 Eureka Street in Central City.
CRIPPLE CREEK & VICTOR AREA
With Cripple Creek's proximity to hot tourist areas like Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Woodland Park, you'll want to plan an extended stay to visit the attractions in these areas and come on up to Cripple Creek (she sends me!) for some more attractions and casino gambling. You'll find the World's Greatest Gold Camp and truly special Historic Mining District. Victor is a mere six-mile drive south of Cripple Creek through the scenic and historic mining district.
BUTTE OPERA HOUSE Melodrama-booooo! hisssssss! & Olio returned to Cripple Creek with the Cripple Creek Players performing at the recently restored, beautiful Butte Opera House on Bennett Avenue. You'll also find many more entertaining productions throughout the year at the old historic opera house.
Call 719-689-2513, for more information.
CRESSON MINE ORE SORTING HOUSE The old ore sorting house in the Golden Loop Historic Parkway is being reconstructed for educational tours.
CRIPPLE CREEK BEACH & YACHT CLUB Enjoy the pool and fitness center at the Holiday Inn Express in Cripple Creek. State-of-the art equipment makes it a favorite for those who want to get buffed up. Shuttles take you to Bronco Billy's in the heart of Cripple Creek. Call 719-689-2600, for more
CRIPPLE CREEK CITY PARK & RECREATION CENTER The delightful little park with gazebo on Bennett (main) Avenue has a picnic and playground area and POW memorial. There are also tennis courts. The Cripple Creek Recreation Center has roller skating and roller blading for the youngsters and activities year round.
CRIPPLE CREEK DISTRICT MUSEUM Located at 5th and Bennett Avenue (main street), the museum is housed in the old Midland Train Depot and features artifacts and historical photos of the early mining days. Learn about the history of Cripple Creek mining and the area's cultural heritage. There is a gift shop. For more information, call 719-689-2634.
CRIPPLE CREEK GHOST WALK TOURS Dress warm and be ready to be chilled to the bone with hair-raising tales of the ghosts of Cripple Creek. Tours are generally based on demand. Call 1-719-689-9113, for more information and details.
CRIPPLE CREEK HISTORIC BUILDING TOURS The tours start at the Cripple Creek District Museum on 5th and Bennett Avenue (across from the Double Eagle) and end in Cripple Creek's City Park. Learn about the wonderful old structures of Cripple Creek from seasoned tour guides Walk the red light district on Meyers to the buildings that took the place of those burnt down in the great fire on Bennett. Call the Cripple Creek District Museum, for more information, at 719-689-2634.
CRIPPLE CREEK & VICTOR NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD Left of the District Museum on 5th in Cripple Creek is the old railroad depot. Take 45-minute trips aboard a real steam locomotive to Anaconda via the mining district of the back country. A
trip you won't see by car!
BATTLE MOUNTAIN TRAIL & INDEPENDENCE MINE Located below the Portland and Ajax Mines and above the Gold Coin and Strong Mines in Victor. These historic sites and trails with interpretive signage are a great educational and natural study of the late 1800s. Part of the Golden Loop Historic Parkway.
GOLD BELT TOUR This 122-mile scenic byway winds through the back country of the old mining district, along the southern edge of the Front Range. Named after the old Florissant & Cripple Creek Railroad, the byway features sweeping vistas of the Collegiate Peaks, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Mosquito Mountains. Check out the American Eagles Mine Overlook above Victor and take some stunning pictures. Call 1-800-526-8777 or 719-689-2169 for more information.
FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT It's not Jurassic Park but this natural site is the remains of the Guffey Volcano, leaving behind fossils, artifacts and petrified trees. There is a gift shop and the old Hornbek Homestead. Located between Cripple Creek and Florissant this is a must see on Teller County Highway 1. Call 719-748-3253 or719-748-3562, for more information and details.
LOWELL THOMAS MUSEUM Located at 3rd and Victor Avenue and named after the author and radio and TV personality, the Lowell Thomas Museum displays artifacts from the Cripple Creek and Victor area and Thomas memorabilia.
MOLLIE KATHLEEN GOLD MINE Take a tour into a real hard rock gold mine at Mollie Kathleen's on Highway 67 out of Divide, one mile north of Cripple Creek. The tours are entertaining and educational as you descend down a 1,000-foot mine shaft into the bowels of the earth aboard a man skip elevator. It's the only vertical mine shaft tour in the entire nation. There are no steps or ladders to climb, so the tour is suitable for the young and old. Explore historic mining operations and see their display of antique mining tools and artifacts. The man skips are lowered at a rate of 500 feet a minute (public elevators travel about 800 feet per minute). Take the tour and get a free gold ore specimen. Seasonal rates and a gift shop featuring fine, hand-crafted gold jewelry. Call 1-888-291-5689 or 719-689-2465, for more information.
MONARCH PASS SKI AREA Located 1.8 miles west of Salida (southwest of Victor and Cripple Creek) on US Highway 50. Monarch boasts deep, deep powder with snowfall of 350 inches on 1,600 acres. Over 700 acres of high alpine skiing and snowboarding are serviced by lifts and a gondola. You'll find 54 runs and a vertical drop of 1,155 feet. There are 900 back country acres accessible by snowcat for expert skiiers, with very deep powder. Monarch provides an on-site day care, ice skating, soaking in a nearby hot springs and snowmobiling. Summer beauty is rich with wild flowers, bird watching, hiking and more in the San Isabel Forest.
MOUNT PISGAH CEMETERY This 40-acre, natural (non-maintained) cemetery was founded in 1892 and holds the remains of Mabel Barbee Lee, Dr. Susan Anderson, Madam Pearl de Vere, Johnnie Nolan and Fred E. Krueger among its 200 graves. The natural setting is abundant with wild flowers and birds in the spring and summer. You'll find wild raspberries and strawberries and maybe some wildlife. Please show respect at the grave sites. Cripple Creek Ghost Walk Tours and Historic Tours often visit the cemetery.
MUELLER STATE PARK Comprised of 5,000 acres on the west side of Pikes Peak, Mueller State Park lies along some of the most gorgeous land in the state. Modern facilities (flush restrooms, vault toilets and a camper services building) are placed in this lushly forested park. Wildlife is abundant as the park is home to a herd of elk, black bear, eagles and hawks. With almost 55 miles of trails, hiking and mountain biking are prevalent. Pond fishing, hunting, camping, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and photography are favorite activities. There are 18 electric RV and tent camping sites for winter and summer camping. Dome Rock (outcropping) is a favorite of photographers. Call 719-687-2366, for information.
OLD HOMESTEAD MUSEUM The Old Homestead Museum, built in 1896, is located on Meyers Avenue, in the former red light district is furnished as an old parlor house. Call ahead to see this turn-of-the-century structure and for information on tours, as they have short winter hours. Call 719-689-2519, for details.
PINNACLE PARK The park is located near the old town of Cameron. It was a 1990's theme park and zoo. Visitors, who look closely, can still see the old bear dens.
PHANTOM CANYON & SKAGWAY RESERVOIR Great fishing just six miles southeast of Victor off Phantom Canyon Road. Phantom Canyon, across the bridge out of Victor offers some of the most unique rock formations of huge granite boulders in a narrow canyon that are ideal for nature studies and the photographer's eye. Camping is available nearby.
PIKE NATIONAL FOREST Nature reigns! With fishing, hunting, camping and trails, north of Cripple Creek. Pike is one of the most beautiful forests in the state for nature lovers. For more information and campground reservations, call 719-639-1602.
SHELF ROCK CLIMBING & GARDEN PARK FOSSIL AREA If mountain climbing is your passion this is the place to go. Near Phantom Canyon on Teller County 1 (part of the Gold Belt Tour), it follows the Cripple Creek stream and has sheer canyon walls leading to Canon City.
SHINING MOUNTAIN GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Craving a little golf? Woodland park has a superb golf course and country club. Sip a drink at the club house or enjoy a day on the greens with full services. Call 719-687-9885.
SHOPPING IN CRIPPLE CREEK & VICTOR The following shops are worth a visit when in Cripple CreeK: Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad Gift Shop, Deemer's Floral Boutique, Gold Camp Mercantile, the Golden Palet, Jackpot Spirits, Lenko SilverMine, Little Lode, Melody's Mall, Mollie Kathleen Gift Shop, Nana's Nook, Pearl's Parlor, Prudence's Consignment &
Antiques, Rocky Mountain Canary General Store, Silver Heels Photography, and the Tenderfoot Trading Post at the TOTAL store as you enter Cripple Creek on Highway 67. There are also antique shops, general stores and art galleries (Monarch) in Victor.
SOMEPLACE ELSE This little bar in Victor (across the street from the historic Hotel Victor) has enough stuff hanging on the walls and ceilings to keep you entertained for hours, while you down a brewski and maybe the special of the day (always great food at reasonable prices). The historic building really cranks on weekends with live entertainment plus you'll meet some interesting characters and their dogs. Go in and amuse yourself.
VICTOR CEMETERY Self guided tours in the old grave yard have you thinking of the folks who passed. Find it on South 7th Street in Victor.
VICTOR'S GOLD RUSH DAYS & VICTOR CELEBRATES THE ARTS Gold Rush Days are held the third weekend in July and Victor Celebrates the Arts is held in late August-early September. Featuring arts, crafts and contests. For more information call 719-689-3211.
VICTOR ICE SKATING RINK Skate and enjoy and old-fashioned Christmas with bonfires and caroling in Victor. Open winter months. Call 719-689-3211.
VINDICATOR VALLEY TRAIL Near Victor, the Vindicator Valley Trail and historic sites (old 1890 gold mines) is the perfect getaway for walking, hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and driving tours (part of the Golden Loop Historic Parkway). There are two trailheads which loop approximately three miles with access to the Theresa Mine and Vindicator Mine near the old ghost town of Independence. Hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing fun! Interpretive signs guide you through the old mining country.
WALKING TOURS OF VICTOR Call 719-689-3211, for more information.
WILD DONKEYS Descendants of the original partners of the miners of the 1800s roam Cripple Creek and the surrounding area freely. Several babies were born just last year and are now a part of the little herd. They are said to like jelly donuts. Keep a sharp eye out for these gentle beasts of burden and respect their space.
WOODS BROTHER'S FAMOUS GOLD COIN MINE Located at Diamond and 5th in Victor behind Victor's City Hall. Mining artifacts and more. Call 719-689-3211.