DescriptionRumors of “color” on the Womack Ranch were largely ignored until the rancher's nephew, Bob, made the first major gold strike in the spring of 1891. Young Womack rode to Colorado City (now Colorado Springs) and went on a binge, celebrating his new wealth. He sold his claim for $500, never dreaming that more than $350 million in gold ultimately would come from it and the claims that followed.
By late 1891 the “$300 million cow pasture” was crawling with prospectors. A town was platted and grew to a population of about 18,000 within 2 years. Town buildings were rebuilt with brick after a fire in 1896; most of the present-day structures date from this period. Although the boom ended in 1904, the shafts that yielded $25 million in a single year were reactivated when gold mining once again became profitable in the 1930s during the Great Depression.
Cripple Creek is reached from Colorado Springs by US 24 and SR 67; the adventurous can take the Gold Camp Road over the mountains. The Phantom Canyon Highway runs south from Cripple Creek to US 50, 7 miles east of Cañon City. Only experienced mountain drivers should attempt the Gold Camp and Phantom Canyon routes; check road conditions before starting.
Things to SeeButte Theater
GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENTSBronco Billy's