Creede is a small mountain town in a remote area of southwestern Colorado. It sits at 8,799 feet in the San Juan mountains at the headwaters of the Rio Grande River.

creede colorado view from mesa above town
View of Creede from mesa above town

Creede History

The town was once a booming silver mining town in the late 1800s, but today the population is just over 400 people.

In 1916, the USDA photographed Creede, showing a small settlement within the valley surrounded by mountains.

Creede is known for its Victoria-era downtown, along with the many mining ruins that surround the town.

Because of these, Creede, Colorado is listed as a National Historic Site District due to its well-preserved buildings and mining operations.

Bachelor loop road in creede colorado
Bachelor Loop road around Creede Colorado

Outdoor Activities in Creede, Colorado

Now mostly driven by tourism, Creede is a hotspot for outdoor recreational activities, with so much to do in the area, including hiking, fishing, and camping.

We stayed with friends in Creede and climbed the nearby San Luis Peak, which is one of Colorado’s 14er mountain peaks.

We also rode ATVs to see the funky Wheeler Geologic Area near Creede.

The view of Creede from our house was spectacular. The house was located right along the Bachelor Loop (see below).

YouTube video

Bachelor Loop in Creede

The Bachelor Loop in Creede is a 17-mile scenic drive that provides a rich blend of history and natural beauty.

It is a circular route that takes you through the historic mining area of Creede. The drive provides gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains as you make the 17-mile drive.

bachelor loop map
Bachelor Loop map
interpretive stops along bachelor loop in creede colorado
Interpretive sites along the Bachelor Loop

Along the Bachelor Loop route, you will pass remnants of old mines (such as the Commodore Mine in the photo below) and ghost towns. (Another ghost town in the area is Summitville, near the remote town of Platoro, Colorado.)

commodore mine in creede colorado
Commodore Mine in Creede Colorado

Interpretive signs of 16 spots along the Bachelor Loop provide insights into the area’s mining past.

commodore mine along bachelor loop
Close-up of the Commodore Mine

The route also provides panoramic views of the town and valley below, as you’ll have an elevation gain of about 1,800 feet.

midwest mine in creede colorado
Midwest Mine in Creedo, Colorado along the Bachelor Loop

The gravel road is generally accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles during good weather.

Having a high-clearance vehicle would be good. You can also drive an ATV along the route.

The road is not plowed in winter, so summer is the best time to visit.

bachelor loop road
Bachelor Loop gravel road

If you’re interested in ATV riding in the mountains in Colorado, you should definitely check out the Alpine Loop.

There are no fees to drive the Bachelor Loop.

bachelor loop mine
Mine ruins along the Bachelor Loop
creede colorado mining remnants
Mining remnants along the Bachelor Loop

Creede Cemetery

The Creede Cemetery, also known as Sunnyside Cemetery, has a rich history linked closely with the mining boom town. The cemetery serves as a final resting place for many of Creede’s early residents.

The Creede Cemetery is one of the stops along the Bachelor Loop.

creede colorado cemetery
Creede Cemetery overlooking the town of Creede, Colorado

Established in 1890, the cemetery is located just west of Creede on a mesa, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area. Bob Ford, famously known for killing the outlaw Jesse James, is buried here.

wood grave marker
Wood grave marker in the Creede Cemetery

The church next to the Creede Cemetery is the Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission church.

It was originally built in 1897 and later moved to this location.

Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission church in creede
Immaculate Conception Catholic Mission church in Creede

Creede Donkey Dash

One very fun held annually in the summer in Creede is the Donkey Dash.

donkey dash in creede colorado
Creede Donkey Dash

The Creede Donkey Dash features pack burro racing, a sport that has its roots in the state’s mining history. The race involves participants leading a burro (donkey) over a course that can range from 3 to 10 miles through the historic Creede Mining District.

This unique race celebrates the rich mining heritage of Colorado.

According to tradition, the sport originated with miners who, upon discovering gold, would race back to town with their burros, who carried their mining tools and supplies.

The rules established back then continue to influence the race today, with competitors required to run alongside their burros, rather than ride them.

Check out the video we took of the Donkey Dash:

YouTube video

The Lone Ranger Movie

Creede has been a scenic backdrop for various films, probably most notably for “The Lone Ranger” in 2013.

This film, which starred Johnny Depp, was extensively shot around Creede. The dramatic mountains and valleys provided the perfect Old West setting.

old fence in mountains
Creede, Colorado

Final Thoughts on Creede, Colorado

Creede is a cute little town in the San Juan mountains with a very interesting mining history. The town holds multiple events thoughout the year.

If you can’t make an event, definitely plan to drive the Bachelor Loop, as it’s an easy way to get to see Creede’s mining past up close. Plus the views along the 17-mile route can’t be beat!