Saturday, July 13, 2013
Cripple Creek, Colorado
Cripple Creek, at it’s peak, was a bustling city with a population of 10,000 miners, businessmen, speculators and their families. Today there are only about 1,000 fulltime residents. Although the mine on the mountains above the town is still active most of the 19th century buildings lining the main street, formerly stores, restaurants and bars, are now casinos. The facades have been carefully preserved but the interiors were gutted with connecting walls removed to enlarge the interior spaces.
Eagle’s Landing RV Park is just a few blocks from downtown which is very convenient if you wish to walk around town. Most of the park is filled with permanent residents but there are spaces large enough for any RV.
We also spent a night in the lot behind a casino on Meyers Ave. Some of the casino lots have signs forbidding overnight RV parking but this lot seems fine.
Cripple Creek is not a good town to visit in a wheelchair. The hills are very steep and the high altitude makes getting around even harder. Most of the casinos have several different levels because of the slope of the street. There may not be ramps between the levels so getting from one to another involves going out one door and back in another. If you want to gamble the Double Eagle Casino and the Wildwood Casino on the east end of town are best. The buildings are new and have fewer obstacles.
We visited two museums. The Cripple Creek District Museum, which includes the old train station, two cabins, an assay office and a wooden store building that survived the 1896 fire. None of it is accessible due to steps and narrow passages.
The other museum is the new Cripple Creek Heritage and Information Center along Hwy 67 on a hill overlooking the town . It’s very well done and there’s no charge to visit. Everything is accessible. Visit on your way into town because you must turn right out of the parking lot which means driving all the way down the hill to turn around if you want to go north.
The visitor center, museum in town and the larger casinos have lots with room for RVs. Cripple Creek