Cripple Creek, Colorado Western Town

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CLAIM TO FAME – Cripple Creek’s moniker, “the World’s Greatest Gold Camp,” stems from the fact that more gold (over 22 million ounces) was discovered here, beginning in 1890, than in California and Alaska combined.

But with more than 25,000 residents, turn-of-the-20th-century Cripple Creek was a true city, and a very wealthy one at that.

ACTIVITIES – Glance back into the past at the Cripple Creek District Museum; descend 1,000 feet into the Mollie Kathleen Mine; enjoy the scenery on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad; guffaw at the Butte Theatre’s spoof melodrama; ogle the opulence of the Old Homestead Parlour House Museum, Cripple Creek’s finest house of ill repute; pose with the town’s resident free-roaming donkeys.

BELLY UP – As in Deadwood, most of Cripple Creek’s original watering holes have been usurped by limited-stakes casinos. But there’s still The Creek (317 E. Bennett Ave.), mercifully free of slot machines.

BED DOWN – At the Hotel St. Nicholas ($80-150), 303 N. Third St., 719-689-0856,  originally a hospital, or the Imperial Hotel ($125-225), 123 N. Third St., 719-689-2561.

LOCATION – 45 miles west of Colorado Springs, Colorado on the eastern slope of Pikes Peak.

MORE INFOCity of Cripple Creek, Ph. 877-858-4653.