Few things capture the interest and imagination like the past's mining camps, colorful characters, buildings and old memories. The vanished miners and the area's unique residents, the unanswered questions, the wondering--what would it have been like to live here a hundred or more years ago?
This tour is a self-guided interpretive vehicle loop 16 1/2 miles long that takes you through a portion of the historic Creede mining district. Not only will you experience the thrill of discovering the area's historic past, but you will also view unsurpassed mountain scenery.
The Tour Loop begins at the south end of Creede and travels west and north up Bachelor Road to the Equity Mine. From there, the route turns south and follows West Willow Creek back down into the north end of Creede.
There are 17 numbered interpretive stops and many points of interest and viewing along the route. The interpretive stops begin near the south end of town at stop #1 (Creede cemetery) and end near the north end of Creede at stop #17 (underground fire house).
Each interpretive stop is identified, on the ground, by a large wooden timber which contains the logo of a miner's crossed pick and shovel along with the number of the stop. Each of these numbered stops corresponds to the numbered narrative within the guidebook which is provided for the tour. Additional cross pick and shovel logs shields are located along the tour to serve as route guides.
The tour route consists of very steep, narrow, winding, and rough unpaved mountain roads. A two mile segment of the tour route, located immediately up the canyon north of Creede, is not recommended for passenger cars or van type vehicle use. While the route can be traveled in either direction, only 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended on the tour if taken in the opposite direction of travel, i.e., north through Creede and up through the West Willow Creek Canyon. For passenger car and van type vehicles wishing to take the tour, points have been provided at the Midwest Mine (stop #10) and below the Commodore Mine (stop #15) which will allow these types of vehicles to take all but 2 miles of the tour and safely turn around. Signs have been installed, both above and below this section of the road to advise drivers that "4-wheel drive beyond this point" is recommended.
Additional information can be obtained at the following locations:
-U.S. Forest Service (3rd and Creede Avenue).
-Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce (just north of the Mineral County Courthouse).
-Creede Historical Society and Museum (Creede Museum).
Directions from Creede: From Creede go to the south end of town and turn right (west) off Colorado Highway 149 onto the Bachelor Mountain Road (Forest Development Road 505). The other end of the loop is accessed from Creede as well. Go to the Mineral County Courthouse at the north end of Creede Avenue and follow West Willow Creek Canyon Road (Forest Development Road 503) up West Willow Creek Canyon. A 4WD vehicle is highly recommended if using this route. The interpretive sites have been consecutively numbered starting at the south end of town.