If you are visiting the Cripple Creek and Victor Mining District of Colorado, a hike up the American Eagles Overlook is something that must be done. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, you will have an eagle's eye view of the Continental Divide. The Victor Gold Mining Operation is just beneath you and you will be able to see the equipment pull ore from the volcano that is no longer a threat to the area. These mines are extraordinarily rich in gold. Also within view are the Mt. Pisgah range and the mountains of Collegiate and Sangre de Cristo. Those who prefer to hustle and bustle of city life can look to the west and see the historic town of Goldfield, and to the east and see Vindicator Valley.
A trip to Victor would not be complete without an exploration of the mine complex. This mine, opened in 1895, features old buildings that once houses the Shifter's Office, the Blacksmith Shop, the Superintendent's House, and the original Headframe and Hoist. While moving throughout the area you can read signage educating visitors about the area, the mining processes, the equipment, and how mining life was over 100 years ago. Following your tour the entire family can enjoy lunch at the picnic tables and benches provided in the area.
The mine dates back to the days of Winfield Scott Stratton who was a carpenter who became rich from the Independence Mine. He bought the American Eagles in 1895. He believed the mine was shaped like a bowl and that if he could reach his Bowl of Gold, there would be untold riches. His American Eagles Group of Mines included three shafts that were over 1,500 feet deep at their deepest point. This mine also boasted the highest elevation in the area at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Stratton played his cards close to the vest and because it was a privately owned mined, no one is sure exactly how much ore it produced. Mining continued throughout the 1920's and in 1936 a new patch of gold, called a vein, was found. The mine continued to be worked until the end of the 1930's.
Without any climbing you can see views of Pikes Peak and Stratton's Independence Mine. Kids will love the hiking trail and the Cresson Ore Sorting exhibit, allowing them to experience mining firsthand. There is onsite parking with overflow lots large enough to hold buses and RV campers. Victor is a city of gold mines and it features a variety of activities and accommodations for those with an interest in exploring this important part of the country's history. The Victor Museum features exhibits and displays where visitors can learn about mining past and present. Visitors to the city can enjoy a driving tour on the Victor Scenic Golden Loop Historic Parkway. The tour is a great way to enjoy the town and learn about the vital role it played in America's gold rush era. There is also a walking tour that takes you to the Baptist Church, the Victor Community Center, the Victor Town Hall, the Gold Coin Club, the Masonic Temple, and St. Victor's Church. It is a self-guided tour and many of the buildings feature plaques telling of their role in the town's history.
If you have a fascination with mining and the American gold rush, American Eagles Overlook in the town of Victor will be one of your favorite destinations.