This small, Southwest Colorado town is packed with history, outdoor adventures, and fine arts.
“While the world is filled with sorrow
And hearts must break and bleed
It’s day all day in the day-time
And there is no night in Creede.”
While things have changed a bit since this poem was penned by Cy Warman, a miner who arrived in the booming silver town in 1892, Creede has blended its historic roots, with a dash of modern amenities, and a whole lot of outdoor adventure, making it perfect for your next weekend trip!
Sitting at the base of the towering granite walls of Willow Creek Canyon, Creede was a late-1800s boomtown that sprang up due to the abundant silver deposits in the area. At one point, the population was around 10,000, but today, several hundred residents call the town home. Whether you are into fly fishing, scenic driving routes, local shopping, historic tourism, or even just want to catch a good show, Creede can cover it!
Take a Drive
The Bachelor Loop will drive you straight into the area's history, complete with interpretive stops and points of interest.
"The Bachelor Loop Historic Tour is a 17-mile drive, on your own, through the historic mining district above Creede. The tour takes you across mine locations from the 1890s and abandoned ghost towns that once rivaled Creede in size. The road weaves its way up through the canyon north of Creede climbing under the ragged cliff sides," says Creede.com.
Fall views from the Bachelor Loop. Courtesy of Visit Creede (Facebook).
The Silverthread Scenic & Historic Byway, Hwy. 149, starts outside of Gunnison and winds its way through the San Juan Mountains and Rio Grande Forest, making its way through Creede. Directly between Lake City and Creede is the most photographed waterfall in Colorado, Clear Creek Falls. You have to look for the sigs, as it is located less than a mile from the road, but you wouldn't see it.
This scenic byway is also a jumping off point for numerous outdoor adventures, including hiking the Alpine Gulch, or 4-wheeling to Wager Gulch to the ghost towns of New Carson and Old Carson. Check out Creede.com for information on jeeping, ATVing and much more.
Clear Creek Falls is worth a trip, especially if you are a photographer, as it is a popular spot. There are picnic tables, as well as a trail up to a beautiful overlook. Pack a lunch and enjoy the beauty.
The falls are a tributary of the mighty Rio Grande, which draws many people to Creede and the nearby area for some amazing fly fishing, as it is one of the state's best rivers for trout. The river also offers rafting and kayaking options that range from Class II-IV to suit everyone, if you want to experience the water first-hand.
If you are a serious hiker, or just enjoy a challenge, a definite to-do on your list is visiting Wheeler Geological Area. You can access the area in the LaGarita Wilderness on one of two trails: a seven-mile (one-way) hike or a 13-mile (one-way) 4-wheel drive trail, that can be pretty technical in spots.
Courtesy of Creede.com.
"A unique and natural phenomenon, Wheeler Geologic Area was born approximately 30 million years ago when the LaGarita Caldera exploded and sent volcanic ash into the atmosphere. This ash settled in the LaGaritas and created a vista of sandstone-like spires, domes, and pinnacles," says Creede.com.
Hit the Town
Creede has preserved much of its Old West charm and mining history, so you can wander all the wonderful local shops, enjoy several museums, take in a meal, and even stay at local guest ranches and more. Like all small communities, Creede hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, mostly in the summer months, including car shows, the Taste of Creede, and more. Check out the town calendar to plan a trip around one of these great events.
If you are in for a little culture, the Creede Repertory Theatre is a top choice. It has been called “one of the state’s top theatre companies” by The Denver Post, and offers residents and visitors alike the best of contemporary and classic theater from May through September. The theatre troupe puts on seven different productions on two stages in town each season.
The renowned Creede Repertory Theatre. Courtesy of Creede Repertory Theatre (Facebook)
You can also take a walking tour of Creede through the Historical Museum. If you'd like to dig deeper into the town's mining past, you can enjoy a guided tour at the Underground Mining Museum (check out our article on Colorado mines to explore for more information!). The Last Chance Mine opens for the summer season, and offers tours, as well as allows you to keep what you find for just $2 a pound!
While being called the 'last' great place is subjective (the word is that this slogan was actually based on a newspaper article, which called the town "the last great place to drink and fight," back in the mining days), there is no doubt that Creede is certainly one of the best bergs in the state. We've just skimmed the surface of what you can do in the area. For more detailed information, Creede.com is a wonderful resource for everything that is available, including camping and lodging information, recreation options, and much more.
Do you have any suggestions for activities or places to stay on a visit to Creede? Let us know in the comments.