There’s more than gold in Cripple Creek. Sure, you might find some of that too, but the historic mining town is rich with natural beauty, gaming, history, adventure and more — all less than a scenic one-hour drive from Colorado Springs.
While the historic and new casinos of Bennett Avenue are always an exciting spot to test your luck, there’s much more to do in Cripple Creek than just gambling. “There are great museums to check out, trails, hikes and biking areas, rock climbing, and our town is super family friendly,” says Jeff Mosher, Special Projects Director for the City of Cripple Creek. “New restaurants are opening. It’s just a great experience to come up, go ride the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, try to find the donkeys that roam around town, or tour the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.”
Because they sit just 5 miles apart, Cripple Creek and Victor make an easy pairing of gold camp towns for a day trip or weekend getaway. “We’re on a circular highway, so if you go to one town, you can visit the other town and loop back home the same way you came up,” Mosher says. “It’s a great getaway and only about 45 minutes from the west side of Colorado Springs.”
With a full calendar of unique events and activities, summer is the perfect time to head to Cripple Creek and Victor. From the biggest fireworks show in the Pikes Peak region to rodeos, art shows, bed races and the historic Donkey Derby Day, these are highlights of the events you don’t want to miss. Find even more at VisitCrippleCreek.com.
Historic Trolley Tours
May 28 – Sept. 3, Saturdays
Ride along with the Gold Camp Victorian Society every Saturday and learn about Cripple Creek’s storied history. Your guides will be in period costume to bring to life some colorful characters from the past.
Top of the World Rodeo
Experience a Wild West Rodeo at its best as national contestants compete in everything from barrel racing to bull riding at this Colorado Pro Rodeo Association-sanctioned event. Of course, there’s mutton busting too, plus a parade, street dance, beer garden, food vendors and more.
Once Upon a Time in the West Invitational Art Show
June 24 – July 4
Browse and buy Western and Native American artwork at this free show in the Cripple Creek Heritage Center. This year’s 25th anniversary theme is “Tatanka — Year of the Buffalo.”
Victor Gem and Mineral Show
Head to historic downtown Victor where vendors will be selling Colorado-dug polished gems, handcrafted jewelry, rough slabs, gold ore specimens, Cripple Creek turquoise and much more. You can pan for your own gold and gems. And be sure to follow the self-guided driving tour to explore gems and minerals around the outer edges of the active Newmont Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine.
4th of July Fireworks
Did you know Cripple Creek has the largest single fireworks show in the Pikes Peak region? “It’s basically a grand finale for almost 25 minutes,” Mosher says. “Cripple Creek prides itself on having fireworks like nobody else around.” The show is produced by Zambelli Fireworks, one of the largest pyrotechnic companies in the world that has created shows for the likes of the NFL and Olympics. Celebrate during the day at the American Legion’s music and beer gardens. Stay and play at the casinos after the fireworks.
Music at the Depot
July 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 3
Catch live music on select Saturday afternoons at the Cripple Creek District Museum. The Black Rose Band plays July 9. Collective Groove performs Aug. 6, and on Sept. 3 it’s the Tejon Street Corner Thieves.
Victor Gold Rush Days
Celebrate Victor’s history and mining heritage at the parade and street fair in the 1890s mining town.
Poker Run/Walk 5K and 10K
Run or walk around the Mountain View Adventure Park and receive a card at each of five stops. The best five-card hand wins $125; the worst hand wins $25.
Pearl DeVere Day Celebration and Bed Race
Celebrate the madam who owned Cripple Creek’s most famous — and most expensive — bordello. It’s free to watch the bed races through the former Red Light District, but it’s more fun to register your own team of two Johns and a madam. Awards go to Best Bed and Team Costume. There will be live music, a beer garden, tours of the Old Homestead House and a Victorian picnic. Dress up and join the fun.
Teller County Fair
July 30 – Aug. 7
Join the 4-H Clubs of Teller County to celebrate the local heritage of livestock, culinary arts, technology and more. Events include live music, livestock shows, cowboy church, ATV rodeo, demolition derby and more.
National Night Out
Bring the kids and meet local first responders and law enforcement. Enjoy demonstrations, food, music, games, prizes and more.
Donkey Derby Day
It’s the 91st year of Cripple Creek’s signature event. Come for the fun and be inspired by the town’s resident herd of donkeys, believed to be descended from the Gold Rush days. Join the donkey races with a team of two, or just watch and laugh. A new race location near the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad station makes for even better viewing.
There’s also a parade, live music, food, a beer tent and more. Proceeds go to the care and feeding of the town’s free-roaming donkey herd. “It’s entertaining to watch folks who don’t understand how donkeys behave,” Mosher says. “These are donkeys that do races, so they kind of know what’s going on. But that doesn’t mean they want to cooperate. It’s always fun.” Sign up for your donkey at cripplecreekdonkeys.com.
Pikes Peak Region Memorial Wall Dedication
Honor and remember the ultimate sacrifice of service members lost in the War on Terror and beyond who were stationed at one of our five area installations, had a home of record in El Paso or Teller County or graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Their names will be added to the Pikes Peak Region Memorial Wall in a beautiful, solemn ceremony.
Victor Pack Burro Races
Cheer on the professional burro racers as they navigate a 6.62 cross-country route. You can join mini donkey races and Poop Pick-Up Contest, and there’s gold panning, live music, beer garden, Nicest Ass Competition and more. Get details at victorpackburrorace.itsyourrace.com
Rocky Mountain Rambler 500
Get your clunker for $500 or less, a team to keep it running and possibly a thematic custom paint job. Then try to complete this scenic multi-day route through the Pikes Peak region. Learn more at rockymountainrambler500.com.
Get more details on these events and others at VisitCrippleCreek.com. And start planning to visit Cripple Creek and Victor in late September and early October to enjoy the splendor of fall color.