The trip lasts about 3+ hours with 30 minutes up top and believe me that's long enough as it is cold up there!!!
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. 14,115 feet high and is one of the fourteeners in CO located in Pike National Forest.
It was a little cloudy but the views are awesome!
OK, enough of these cold temps lets get back to 80 degrees so I can pack that winter coat away.
Next stop was a must as well, Garden of the Gods.
It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971 and is a free public park.
This photo was taken from the visitors center looking down on the park with Pikes Peak in the background.
Popular for hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding.
The top right picture was taken at Kissing Camels with Pikes Peak in the background. What a beautiful park!
The next adventure lead us 40 miles west of Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek which sits at 9,494 feet in elevation. From 1890 to 1910, more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines including the neighboring town of Victor. The district produced 30 millionaires while the hands on miners made $3 a day.
In 1896 the town suffered two fires within four days but was rebuilt in a few months. The current one mine is operated by Cripple Creek and Victor Mining Company, running 24/7 365 days a year. In 1970-1980 the town was almost a ghost town with only 200 people living there until 1991 when the CO voters allowed legalized gambling. It is now more a tourist attraction with casinos occupying the historic buildings.
Interesting fact - Cripple Creek is home to the root beer float?
Also known as the "Black Cow" invented by Frank J. Wisner in August 1893.
There is an Elk Lodge that is located in one of the old buildings that we had to check out. It was instituted on July 7th, 1895 in the Gold Mine Stock Exchange building. This place was huge and had tons of history. There are 5 sleeping rooms available to members with a shared bathroom. We have stayed at alot of Elk lodges but none have had rooms for rent!
I bet alot of men can relate to this!
Five miles southeast of Cripple Creek is Victor.
In 1894 the Woods brothers discovered gold when they were digging a foundation for a building! Although Victor was overshadowed by Cripple Creek, many of the best mines of the Cripple Creek District were located in Victor. Half of Battle Mountain's gold was extracted by the Portland mine, which was called the "Queen of the District". Did you know the heavyweight boxing champion William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey was a mucker at the Portland mine?
A mucker removes waste material after blasting, guess that's where he got those strong arms.
The above sign tells you one of the Portland mine shafts descends 3,300 feet, almost to Colorado Springs! Imagine working that far below the surface...scary.
We moved north to Lakewood at the Bear Creek State Park campground where we met our friends Kate and Roger.
This is a very popular campground as it is located a couple of miles from Red Rocks amphitheater, better make reservations for the weekend months in advance. Kate, Roger and Jen attended a concert at this awesome amphitheater. 6,450 feet above sea level with 868 acres, this park is a geological phenomenon, the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. When a musician performs here they know they have made it to the top.
Breweries are very popular and in Colorado they are everywhere.
Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project.
We will move to the Elks Lodge in Westminster and met up with Kate and Roger later.
Thanks for following our travels, stay tuned!
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