(CBS4) – The Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum in Cripple Creek has moved to its summer hours, and that made us wonder what else the small town has to offer besides casinos. Here’s some suggestions to explore and make a real Colorado vacation in Teller County.
The Outlaws And Lawmen Jail Museum-Colorado
The museum is located in the original Teller County Jail and calls itself “one of the most unique museums you will ever visit.” The museum was the jail from 1901 until 1992 and you can still find the original jail cells. History is told through newspaper accounts of crimes and mug shots. And if you’re into the paranormal, you can even book a chance to investigate the jail yourself.
It’s open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It’s at 136 W. Bennett Ave in Cripple Creek. Admission is $5 for everyone 7 and older and it’s free for six and younger.
Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
Gold drew settlers to Cripple Creek in the 1890s and the tour of the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine takes you down 1,000 feet in the country’s only vertical shaft gold mine tour. You’ll learn about the four phases of gold mining while riding an underground tram air locomotive.
The tours depart every 30 to 45 minutes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. They are weather dependent so it’s recommended you call ahead (719) 689-2466.
Old Homestead House Museum
Among the museums you’ll find in Cripple Creek is the Old Homestead which bills itself as the most elegant brothel in the mining district in its heyday. The famous madam, Pearl DeVere, built the house after fires leveled the town. She used brick so it would withstand another fire and more than 120 years later, it’s the last original building standing of the brothels that lined Meyers Avenue, telling the stories of the women who worked there and the men who visited.
Phantom Canyon Road
Call this a hidden gem in southern Colorado. The narrow detour off the Gold Belt tour scenic and historic byway is full of canyon walls and twisty turns including old bridges. It connects the mining towns of Cripple Creek, Cañon City and Florence.
Drivers (and passengers) brave enough to make the journey will also encounter a number of ghost towns, raising questions in many forums about whether the road is haunted and that’s the real reason for the “Phantom” in the name.
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
Maybe you prefer to leave the driving to someone else. Then the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad may be just the experience to enjoy. The 2022 season begins on May 28. The locomotive weighs 15 tons and is typical of the steam engines that first ran that route. The track takes you south of out of Cripple Creek to the deserted mining camp of Anaconda before returning to Cripple Creek. All those railcars are open, so make sure to dress for the weather. It’s also first-come, first-served — no reservations are taken, so keep that in mind for your day.
Cripple Creek is no exception to mining towns which embraced theater from their earliest days. The Butte Theater is the standing legacy for Cripple Creek and it still features live theater including being one of the few venues in the nation which still consistently produces melodramas including “From Rags To Riches: Or The Streets Of Cripple Creek.”
That’s just a taste of all things you’ll find do in Cripple Creek. There are more museums, more road trips to test drivers’ nerves and mine tours plus plenty of places to gamble and shop.