Southwest Colorado: Places to Explore

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Creede

Creede, a flash-in-the-pan silver town, was known in its heyday as Colorado’s rowdiest mining camp. When silver was discovered here in 1889, hotels, saloons, banks, and brothels opened virtually overnight, often in tents and other makeshift structures. By 1892, Creede had become a collection of wood-framed buildings, at least 30 of which were saloons and dance halls. That year, Creede was immortalized in a poem written by the local newspaper editor Cy Warman: "It’s day all day in daytime," he wrote, "and there is no night in Creede."

True, every other building back in the silver-boom days seems to have been a bar or bordello. Bob Ford, who killed Jesse James, was himself gunned down here; other notorious residents included Calamity Jane and Bat Masterson.

As delightful as the town’s history may be, its location is even more glorious. Mineral County is almost entirely public land, including the nearby Weminuche Wilderness to the south and west and the Wheeler Geological Area to the east, where the unusual rock formations resemble playful abstract sculptures or M.C. Escher creations. The Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail, two of the country’s most significant long-distance recreational paths, pass through Mineral County.

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