Creede, Colorado is a tiny mining town tucked away in southwest region of the Centennial State. With a population of 290, it is the only incorporated municipality in Mineral County. However, don’t let its size or remoteness fool you; with hiking, fishing, rafting and more, all punctuated by a lively main street, Creede is one of Colorado’s best kept secrets. Here’s a guide for how to spend the perfect weekend in Creede.
Day 1 — Mines, Geology, and Culture
Start your first morning by strolling down Main Street—taking in the scenery and charming atmosphere is the perfect way to start your day. But it’s breakfast at MJ’s Café that’ll really wake you up. Wilbur’s special (eggs and hash browns smothered in gravy) will without a doubt keep you full at least until lunch. On your way out, don’t forget to pick up one of MJ’s packed lunches; you’re going to need it for the day ahead.
You now have two options. Not feeling a rigorous hike? Hop in the car and head out on the famous Bachelor Loop, a 17-mile drive that winds through Creede’s sprawling historic district. Once a center of Colorado’s mining industry, the area above Creede accessible by the Bachelor Loop has abandoned mining equipment, rugged cliff walls, and ghost towns as large as Creede is today. The loop can take as little as an hour to drive, but turn it into a day trip by exploring the sites.
Looking for something a little more adventurous? Pack plenty of water and sunscreen along with MJ’s pack lunch and head towards what was named Colorado’s first national monument in 1874: Wheeler Geologic Area. The area is characterized by a landscape reminiscent of outer space, made of stone towers sculpted by wind and rain over thousands of years; it’s aptly nicknamed “City of Gnomes.” The hike isn’t short, measuring in at 14 miles round trip, but the views are more than worth it. Even though the area has lost its status as a National Monument, it has lost none of its beauty.
No doubt exhausted from the days’ activities, refuel at Arp’s, Creede’s newest, hippest, and most popular restaurant. Sip on craft beer while you savor their legendary chicken fried chicken. Don’t let the food and beer put you to sleep though, even though the sun has set, your day is not over.
Creede’s biggest surprise is not its scenery or food, but its nationally acclaimed theater company. Make sure you plan your trip around one of these shows; USA TODAY has called the Creede Repertory Theatre, “one of the 10 best places to see the lights way off Broadway.”
Day 2 — Boats on Boats
Now that you are accustomed to waking up early, make it out on the Rio Grande River as early as possible on your second morning. Grab breakfast at Café Ole, Creede’s local coffee shop, and decide which Rio Grande activity suits you most.
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Whether you are a dedicated angler or looking to give the sport a try for the first time, Creede is a world-class destination to get a line wet. Only three doors down from Café Ole is Ramble House, the oldest Fly Shop in the region and home to Creede Guide and Outfitters. Ramble House offers half day floats on the Rio Grande with a certified fly fishing guide to teach you all the basics.
If fishing isn’t your thing, or you are looking for a little bit more of an adrenaline rush, head down the road to South Fork, Colorado to Mountain Man Rafting, found inside 8200 Mountain Sports. Mountain Man is the longest running, and most respected, rafting company in the area, and offers half day rafting trips on the Rio Grande. With an impeccable safety record and utmost professionalism, Mountain Man will undoubtedly get your blood pumping.
After you have dried off, head back to Creede for lunch on Main Street. Refuel on tacos or a burger at Kip’s Grill or get a quick bite at Best Little Dog House and enjoy its outdoors seating. After lunch, grab a water bottle and a camera for your last, but perhaps most memorable, activity in Creede. Right in town is the trailhead for Inspiration Point, a three-mile trail that leads straight up a steep mountainside to, well, inspirational views of Creede and its famous cliffs. There is no better way to cap off a trip to Creede then to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the town that has won your heart.