Non-Gaming Options Thrive in Southern Teller and Throughout the High Country

Area Abounds with Treasure of Food, Shopping, Lodging and Historic Hubs

Trevor Phipps and Rick Langenberg

When people think about spending a day in Teller County, many immediately think of the gambling options available in Cripple Creek.

Others may try to plan their trip around one of the region’s signature festivals or decide to spend the day in the beautiful outdoors.

However, one well-kept secret that many visitors don’t realize is the growing wealth of non-gaming businesses and outlets in the region to check out. From great places to stay and eat, to museums to tour, and places to shop, the Ute Pass region has plenty of options for fun activities.


So, for those who say gambling isn’t really their thing, there is still plenty to do in the Teller high country. The following is a list of some (but not all) of the non-gaming businesses in the region that are worth taking some time to check out.


Food and Lodging

In the past year or so, the Ute Pass region has slowly become a prime culinary hub. New eateries and saloons seem to be popping up all over the region and many of the eateries that have been around for years are still running strong.


In the middle of Ute Pass in Cascade, the Wines of Colorado have new owners and management, and folks say their food and Colorado-based wine and brew selections are now amazing. They have received many awards in Best Of contests throughout the region. The town is also the home to a new Vegan eatery called Fern’s Diner and Drinkery, which opened up in the old Mildred’s Café location at the foot of the Pikes Peak Highway.


Green Mountain Falls is also well-known for their culinary outlets. People love to check out their mainstay restaurants. The Pantry has always been a favorite for breakfast and lunch. The Blue Moose Tavern prides itself in its award-winning pizza and their great, friendly atmosphere. It also is a prime spot for live music.   And coming soon in GMF is a new restaurant, the El Pueblo Cantina, at the site of the former Mucky Duck. The Cantina, which is being managed by Jesse Stroope, a well-known community leader in Green Mountain Falls, was recently awarded a liquor license by the GMF Trustees. It has been undergoing much remodeling and is slated to open at the end of June or early July.


In Woodland Park, it seems as if the city has really stepped up to be a culinary hotspot and a place for barhopping. The city has definitely experienced the newest eateries in the last few years than any other place in the region.


Peak View BBQ remains to be a hot spot on the east side of town, and many seem to enjoy their food and beverage options. Judge’s Char-Grill has thrived at a spacious building, right off Hwy. 24, near the Walmart, formerly occupied by a variety of restaurants in the past. It has become very popular for the Mexican/American Cuisine.


For breakfast and lunch, people seem to enjoy the famous eateries that have been around for years. Just about every day, the parking lots of Joanie’s Deli and Bakery, Grandmother’s Kitchen and the Hungry Bear are often filled.


110 Reserve dubs itself as a “social gathering spot” instead of a bar or restaurant and it has gained a lot of popularity in the last two years. People can hang out on their patio and enjoy views of Pikes Peak, while having some food or a beverage. It also sports a new entertainment area.


Bierwerks and the Red Diamond Gastro Pub are also two popular hangout spots centered in downtown that people like to bounce back and forth from. Thai Good Eats features a full-service Thai restaurant and its adjacent pool hall is a popular hangout spot, which now offers certain bar-like food items.


For those wanting different tastes, Woodland Park is also the home to three Asian food restaurants and three Mexican Food eateries. The food truck craze has also struck the city as several trucks and trailers can be seen across town.


West of Woodland Park McGinty’s and Russ’ Place in Divide seem to be favorites. The Iron Tree and Thunderbird Inn in Florissant also seem to have some loyal followers. Fat BBQ Shack in Lake George proudly claims to have the best BBQ in the region.


In Cripple Creek, many seem to enjoy the casino restaurants, but there are now some new options. The Creek Restaurant has really made a name for themselves after celebrating their third-year anniversary and the Gold Camp Café, located next to city hall, has gained many accolades for their coffee and award-winning sandwiches.


The El Burro Loco at The Mercantile offers a delicious menu of Mexican dishes. And then one new amazing new eatery just opened this year, the District Kitchen and Saloon, which offers a variety of meals. It also features southern Teller’s largest sports bar setting and has live music and many events.


For lodging, Woodland Park’s Country Lodge and Microtel has become a top place to stay. Plus, the Lodge’s Over Ice bar and grill, which almost features a pub-like atmosphere, has become a big hit.

However, bed and breakfasts in the region also seem to be popular such as the Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park, the Cripple Creek Hospitality House, and Hotel St. Nicholas. Pikes Peak Paradise just west of town is new and also gaining in popularity.


Shopping Hubs

Besides being a good place to go to eat and stay, the Ute Pass region also sports several retail spots to shop. The area now offers several niche shopping hubs where people can find all types of gifts and unique items.


The Painted Bear in Green Mountain Falls has become a favorite in the lower Ute Pass. Inside the store, people can find all sorts of items from carved bear statues to unique paintings.


The Cowhand in Woodland Park has remained strong in the city for the last few decades. The store is still open and people can find anything they want when it comes to Western-style wear and other gifts.


Miss Priss’ Boutique is another good spot for women’s clothes, and Vicki’s Home Décor has just about everything needed to decorate a home. For furniture, people love to shop at Tweed’s Fine Furnishings and William’s Log Cabin Furniture.


The Our Reserve Gallery is another favorite spot, featuring art masterpieces made from a variety of local artists. The Mountain Vapor Lounge and Vapor Bay provide those who vape with everything they need as well as a spot to hang out.


For groceries, people seem to like the big box stores like Safeway, City Market and Walmart. However, others prefer to shop at the smaller stores such as Natural Grocers, Mountain Naturals, the Florissant Mercantile, or the Venture Foods in Cripple Creek or Divide.


Further up the mountain, the entire city of Cripple Creek has several stores along the main strip to check out. Among these, Creations Everlasting and the Trade and Transfer Company seem to be the most popular.


Victor is also starting to become more of a shopping hub with their antique stores and other shops. The Victor Trading Co. and Manufacturing Works is a favorite as they are one of the only places that make and sell custom brooms. The Gold Camp bakery is another big favorite. Victor, though, is now abuzz with a few new businesses, as it has become one of the prized towns for the state’s Main Street program.

And the 2023 addition of Rita the Rock Planter, a giant wood troll structure, crafted by Danish artist Thomas Dumbo, has become the talk of the region, and has received national attention. An anniversary celebration is planned in August.


Educational Opportunities

On the northeastern side of the county, the Ute Pass Historical Society has a nice gift shop with a plethora of local history books. The organization also has a building in Green Mountain falls where some items can be purchased on weekends during the summer.


The Dinosaur Resource Center is another favorite spot to learn in Woodland Park. The museum features gifts and several events during the summer.


In Florissant, the Pikes Peak Historical Society has a museum and they also put on educational events during the year. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument also hosts a variety of educational opportunities. And, Mueller State Park south of Divide also offers educational events such as nature walks.


In Cripple Creek, the Heritage Center, located near the entrance to town, hosts some of the best views in the area. The Cripple Creek Heritage Center is open year-round and has a large museum where people can learn about the history of the mining district. It also has special history talks and events during the summer.


The Cripple Creek District Museum on the east side of Bennett Ave. is probably the biggest museum that celebrates the city’s history. They have an awesome gift shop and they hold events such as live music throughout the summer.


The city also has one of the country’s only museums that is purely focused on red light districts. People can go to the Old Homestead House Museum to learn about another side of the town’s history.


The city also has their Jail Museum and the Fire Station Museum which are open for more hours during the summer. People can go to one of those two city-operated museums to learn more about the firefighters, police, and criminals of the town’s past.


The city of Victor has probably some of the most historical significance around. The Lowell Thomas Museum offers tours around town to all of the historical spots as well as a large museum with interesting artifacts.


At Victor’s Gold Camp Ag & Mining Museum, people get the chance to see old time machinery and blacksmith exhibits during events.


Woodland Park Events

On July 4, the city plans to host its annual Old Fashioned July 4th Celebration at the city’s Memorial Park. The event will feature fishing contests for kids, live music, a beer garden, and vendors supplying food and other items. The Symphony Above the Clouds this year will take place at Memorial Park at 5 p.m. on the Fourth instead of the day after the holiday.



The Farmers Market has also made a return at Memorial Park every Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. People can shop for local produce and handmade gifts at the art festival that takes place at the same time.


The Salute to American Veterans Rally will then take place at Memorial Park on August 16 and 17. Live music and other events will most like take place at venues across the region during that weekend. The Cultural Center is doing regular musical events on a monthly basis.


All in all, Teller County has a lot more to do than just recreate in the outdoors, or to hit the slots and tables in Cripple Creek. The summer and early fall has become proves the best time to experience some of these non-gaming businesses and events in the region.