By Steve Beauregard
The nice thing about driving from Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek is that you won’t be overwhelmed with choices on deciding on what route to take. That’s because there’s only one way to get there: US Route 24, or Highway 24 as it’s more commonly called.
Cripple Creek has nine casinos, and draws the vast majority of its customers from Colorado Springs, which is the second largest city in Colorado. The gambling town would probably be even more popular if not for the fact that there’s somewhat of a roadblock between the town and Colorado Springs. It’s called Pikes Peak.
It’s approximately 45 miles from downtown Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek. This is starting out from a main drag in Colorado Springs, Nevada Avenue, to Cripple Creek’s main street, Bennett Avenue.
It would take you just over an hour to make the drive. Google Maps says it would take 1 hour and 3 minutes. The road to Cripple Creek is curvy, often busy, and snakes up canyons surrounding Pikes Peak. The drive can take much longer depending on traffic, or weather. (In case you haven’t heard, the foothills and mountains of Colorado are known to get snow once in awhile).
So back to directions: From downtown Colorado Springs, you’ll want to go west on Colorado Avenue. If you happen to be in the eastern part of Colorado Springs, Colorado Avenue is called E. Pikes Peak Avenue.
E. Pikes Peak Avenue eventually becomes Colorado Avenue, which eventually becomes Highway 24.You’ll just want to stay on Highway 24 for about 25 miles. Some parts of this drive are very interesting, so you won’t be bored.
(Here’s a map show you the route from Colorado Springs “A” and Cripple Creek “B”)
For example, just outside the Colorado Springs, (and before you get to Manitou Springs), you’ll be within 1 mile of the beautiful and indescribable Garden of the Gods. It’s definitely worth the one mile detour before your gambling trip to experience this scenic wonder.
To get there, just take a right on S. 30th Street off of Highway 24. Like I said, it’s only about one mile off the main drag to Cripple Creek.
After the S. 30th Street turnoff, you’ll begin to approach the charming little town called Manitou Springs. It’s known as the gateway to Pikes Peak, and is pretty touristy. You’ll find lots of old fashioned motor lodges, or motels and souvenir shops.
It’s also the turn-off if you wish to delay your Cripple Creek trip and decide instead to drive up to Pikes Peak, or to take the Pikes Peak cog railway all the way up to the top of the mountain. My family and I did this and I highly recommend it.
Instead of heading into downtown Manitou Springs, you’ll want to stay on Highway 24 going west. You’ll have the option of going into the town of Manitou Springs, or going west on 24, so make sure you take the right on US 24 going west.
After Manitou Springs, it’s 13 miles to the small town of Woodland Park, Colorado. Around here is where you’ll begin to experience Pikes Peak in all of its glory. It will be on your left, in case you’re wondering what that 14,114 foot thing purple thing is.
About six miles outside of Woodland Park, you’ll come to the intersection of what’s called CO – 67. If I recall, the road is not really well-marked, and I don’t recall signage telling you to turn left to Cripple Creek, but that’s exactly what you’ll want to do. There are signs about the Pikes Peak Heritage Center, which is on the way to Cripple Creek, so look for those.
To get on CO 67, you’ll want to get in the left hand lane on Highway 24. CO-67 is the road just after a strip mall called “Divide.”
Once you’re on CO 67 going south, you’re just a scenic 18 mile drive through the woods to Cripple Creek. You’re literally driving around Pikes Peak.
Close to Cripple Creek, the winding road goes downhill towards town. Just a friendly warning: the speed limit in spots is just 25 miles per hour. I know you’re anxious to get your gamble on, but this is a notorious speed trap. You’ve been warned.
Also, the land gets flatter and there’s not much charm when you first arrive into town, but the place gets more “historic” and scenic once closer to town. Bennett Avenue is the main drag in Cripple Creek, and the place where the vast majority of its nine casinos are situated. Enjoy your stay in Cripple Creek!