Cripple Creek and Gold Camp Road

Published: October 3rd 2014
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October 2 – Thursday - Today I went up the Ute Pass to Woodland Park and had a bit of a look around near their rest area there. The rest area is in the middle of the town and has a building that looks like an old time railroad depot. It also has public restrooms.

There is a beautiful view of the West side of Pikes Peak and the Front Range from the rest area. Also a deck there for taking pictures from. After taking in the view a bit I walked east a bit to a restaurant called The Hungry Bear. I had tried to ask someone who lived in Woodland Park for a good place to eat but everyone I asked didn’t live in Woodland Park but were just in town for something or other. One of them said he had eaten at The Hungry Bear and it was pretty good.

So I went to The Hungry Bear and unfortunately it was very crowded as it was 12:30 and I had to sign onto a list to be seated. I waited a bit and nothing seemed to be happening so I decided to just go on to Cripple Creek and eat there. I didn’t want to waste much time sitting in a restaurant. If they were this busy my meal would probably take a while…..after I finally get seated. In fairness however it was the lunch rush and so I will come back some other time to check the restaurant out. I’m sure I will be going through Winter Park again on my way somewhere else.

I should have fixed up some breakfast and ate before I left the lodge. Then I wouldn’t be hungry now.

I didn’t get gas in Colorado Springs as I have found it is cheaper in Woodland Park, which shows that the price of gas has nothing to do with cost to the companies since they have to haul it further to Woodland Park. The gas stations in the Springs are off I-25 while Woodland Park is up on Ute Pass. I filled up at the Conoco at the intersection of 67 and 24. In Texas regular unleaded gas is 87 octane which my truck requires. In Colorado I have to get mid grade to get 87 octane. It cost $3.76 a gallon in Colorado Springs but is $3.55 in Woodland Park on October 2, 2014. In any case why tote the weight of an extra half a tank up Ute Pass. I just top off in Woodland Park because in Central Colorado it is usually higher.

You have to get onto 67 to access the Conoco, and then get back on 24 to go west again.

After gassing up I headed west on 24 to 67 south to Cripple Creek checking out the scenery and the fall colors.

On the way to Cripple Creek I ran into something I had not expected. On both of my maps there were no mountain passes shown, however I kept climbing and climbing and knew that wasn’t right. Eventually I came to the summit of Tenderfoot Pass at 10,200 ft. It wasn’t shown on any of my maps. So after that I went down some very steep and sharp turns into Cripple Creek.

Cripple Creek used to be a mining camp but now what is getting mined is the gamblers. It is pretty much now just a collection of casinos. I don’t gamble (except with my life) but wanted to eat so I went into one of the casinos and got something to eat. At this point I just wanted to “put something into the hole”.

After this I checked out the museum there which is actually a collection of buildings and railroad cars. I could have spent quite a bit of time there but the woman in the information center that was a converted Pullman Car told me the Gold Camp Road was open. Evidently it had been open for a couple of weeks and I didn’t know. That was really unfortunate as I could have driven it a week ago when the leaves “peaked”.

Still , once I knew the Gold Camp Road was open I wasn’t concerned about the museum any more but wanted to drive the Gold Camp Road back to Colorado Springs before something else happened to get it closed again.

So I headed out of Cripple Creek to Victor where I went North on Co. Rd. 81 and through Gold Camp to where Co. Rd. 8 goes off to the Right. The turn is easy to miss and there are small signs that say Co.Rd. 8 and Gold Camp Road as well.

I drove the Gold Camp Road from Cripple Creek back to Colorado Springs. It was a very difficult and tiring drive but now I’ve got that done. Every other time I tried to do it I was blocked by snow, tunnel cave-ins or road closed for floods or repairs. It is a fairly good dirt road with a speed limit of 20mph but in many places is such a “washboard road” and rutted that I was going 15 mph most of the time, often 8mph and even stopping so my front end wouldn’t get knocked out. I pulled over in one of the many turnouts to let others by often which wasn’t an inconvience as the views were so spectacular that I wanted to stop and take them in often.

So after about a 2 hour drive I completed the 18 mile Gold Camp Road back into the Springs.

It was the road about which Theodore Rosevelt said “Bankrupted the English Language” and well worth the drive.

Surprisingly the drive from the Springs to Cripple Creek and then back to The Springs via Gold Camp Road was only 87 miles. However those were “mountain miles” and seemed a lot longer.

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 25


Turn for Gold Camp RoadTurn for Gold Camp Road
Turn for Gold Camp Road

You have to be on the lookout for these small signs.
Cripple Creek trip 87 milesCripple Creek trip 87 miles
Cripple Creek trip 87 miles

I came out of Colorado Springs to Woodland Park and a bit west of Woodland Park I went south on 67 to Cripple Creek and Victor. Then I went on Gold Camp Road back to Colorado Springs.
The west side of Pikes Peak from the Woodland Park visitor centerThe west side of Pikes Peak from the Woodland Park visitor center
The west side of Pikes Peak from the Woodland Park visitor center

The west side of Pikes Peak from the Woodland Park rest area.
The Hungry Bear at Woodland ParkThe Hungry Bear at Woodland Park
The Hungry Bear at Woodland Park

I was told this was a good place to eat but it was too crowded so I headed on to Cripple Creek.
The museum at Cripple CreekThe museum at Cripple Creek
The museum at Cripple Creek

The museum has several sections but this is the main building.

4th October 2014

Mountain driving
I've driven that route and it is beautiful.
4th November 2014

Gold Camp Road
Yes it is......but very hard on a front end alignment.

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