Creede Underground Mining Museum

Useful Information

Location: 503 Forest Service Rd #9, Creede, CO 81130.
(37.857613, -106.927995)
Open: Memorial Day to Labor Day daily 9-16.
Labor Day to Memorial Day Tue-Sat 10-15.
Fee: Adults USD 9, Children (6-11) USD 6, Children (0-5) free, Seniors (60+) USD 7, Military USD 7.
Guided Tour USD 16, Children (0-5) free.
Classification: SubterraneaReplica Underground Mine SubterraneaMining Museum MineSilver Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=180 m.
Guided tours: self guided, audioguide, D=30 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: yes
Address: Creede Underground Mining Museum, #9 USFS Road 503, PO Box 422, Creede, CO 81130, Tel: +1-719-658-0811. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1889 silver discovered at Creede.
1976 Bob Louth proposed building an underground fire station.
1985 Homestake Mining Company closed down the Bulldog Mine, mining at Creede ended.
1990 local citizens decided to build a mining museum.
NOV-1990 excavating started by three Creede miners.
1992 mine completed, museum almost complete.


The Wheeler Geologic Area was formed by one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the earth’s history, a so-called supervolcano. Around 25 million years ago, a volcano exploded in the southern Colorado Rockies. It ejected approximately 5,000 km³ of material into the atmosphere, the resulting ash fall covered most of Colorado with a 100 m thick layer called Fish Canyon Tuff. The magma chamber collapse forming a caldera named La Garita Caldera which is 35 km wide and 75 km long. Volcanism went on for about 2 Ma, with numerous eruptions, producing more layers of ash and brecczia.

The area was explored from 1873 to 1884 by George M. Wheeler, United States Army Corp of Topographical Engineers. The type locale is located 12 km east of Creede, with spectacular strange rock formations, but actually the whole state has mineral veins which formed in the layers of volcanic debris. The hydrothermal convection in the rock caused by the cooling rock, collected minerals and ores in the veins. The ores are mostly galena, a lead ore with a high silver content, the minerals are amethyst, jasper, and other varieties of quartz. Today not only the ores but also the minerals are of great value.


Creede Underground Mining Museum is located underground, but although it was mined from solid rock and is an authentic example of the methods and techniques used in the Creede silver mines, it was never a productive mine. It is a reconstruction, which was artificially created on a location with easy access for tourists, just north of the village. It was blasted out of solid rock cliff by three Creede miners in 1990, county-hired laborers and volunteers completed all the other work, which included rock removal, cribbing, rock batting and cement work. The site has two parts, one is the underground mining museum with a 180 m long mine tunnel, locally called a drift, with 22 displays of machinery and mining techniques. It is also known as Underground Firehouse Mine & Museum, probably a result of Bob Louth 1976 idea to build an underground fire station. The mine is normally visited with an audioguide, which takes about 30 minutes. It's also possible to book a guided tour by a retired miner who explains the mining equipment and methods and tells personal stories. Such tours take about an hour.

The other part is an underground Community Center, which hosts a large array of meetings, parties, weddings, reunions, dances, and community gatherings. Annual events are 4th of July Hamburger Cookout, Creede Rock and Mineral Show, Halloween Haunted Museum, and many others. It has a large commercial kitchen, a fully stocked bar, bathroom facilities, and a total area of 1,000 m². The main conference room has 325 m² and has audio/video equipment. The Annex has 560 m² seating 300 people.

The town Creede was named after Nicholas C. Creede, who was the first to stake a claim in the area causing a silver rush. When he found the silver vein he cried "Holy Moses, I found it", and so his mine was named Holy Moses Mine. The town grew to 10,000 inhabitants in a few weeks, became the last big boom town of the Wild West. The mines in the area were quite successful, in 1892, after only two years, over a million dollars in silver had already been shipped down-valley. Mining continued for a century, but when the price of silver dropped in 1985, the last mine, the Homestake, closed permanently. Today Mineral County has only 850 full-time residents, and lives more or less on tourism. This includes museums, show mines, the sale of minerals and rocks, roadside geology, and rockhounding. Beneath the show mine, the Creede & Mineral County Visitor Center & Chamber of Commerce at Main Street is worth a visit.