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Quiet Forest

Unwind and Rejuvenate at the Pikes Peak Yoga Festival in the Historical Mountain Town of Victor, Colorado
‘The City of Mines’ – est. 1894
Elevation: 9,708'

Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, the quaint and historic town of Victor, Colorado, offers a unique backdrop for the annual Pikes Peak Yoga Festival.

This event, renowned for its serene setting and invigorating yoga sessions, is more than just a festival—it's an experience that harmoniously blends wellness, nature, and history.

A Glimpse into Victor's Past

Victor, Colorado, is a gem steeped in history.

 

Founded in the late 19th century during the Colorado Gold Rush, it was once bustling with miners and prospectors dreaming of striking it rich. In August 1899, the business district was destroyed in a five-hour fire. The town had about 18,000 residents at the time. As a result, many of the historic buildings date to 1899, including the St. Victor Roman Catholic church, the First Baptist Church of Victor, and the Victor Hotel.

Today, Victor retains much of its historic charm, with preserved buildings and a spirit of the past that whispers stories to those who walk its streets.

The Wild Donkeys of Victor

One of the town's most endearing features is its wild donkey herd, descendants of the mining era when donkeys were used extensively in and around the mines. Every spring, the small Colorado tourist town of Cripple Creek releases its herd of 15 donkeys to much fanfare, so they can roam free until autumn, all the while warming hearts and destroying gardens.

The tradition of releasing the donkeys in Cripple Creek goes back 92 years — though the origin story dates back more than a century.  The story goes that in 1901, then-U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt visited the town, and felt a wave of pity for the creatures. He found it was inhumane that these donkeys were underground in the mines and never saw the light of day and ordered them to be released and never brought back underground again.

Today, the descendants of the original herd are all gone, though they continue to rescue donkey’s in their honors, to continue the historic tradition.  These gentle creatures roam freely, adding a unique and playful element to Victor and Cripple Creek’s landscape. Festival attendees might just find themselves in a serene yoga pose, accompanied by the curious gaze of a local donkey (or free roaming cows).

Rita, The Rock Planter Troll

Adding to Victor's enchantment is Rita, the Rock Planter Troll. A creation born from local folklore and community artistry, Rita embodies the whimsical and creative spirit of the town. Located near the heart of Victor, she watches over the town and its visitors, offering a delightful surprise for those exploring the area.

"Rita is next to an old gold mine that is like from the mid-late 1800s where people would come with pickaxes and dig holes and try to search for the gold ore in the ground," Sculptor Thomas Dambo explained. "She took a nap back in the late 1800s and when she woke up here again in 2023,, she noticed a couple of small holes in the mountain," Dambo said with a smile on his face. "and she said 'Oh that's dangerous, maybe a squirrel or a human or somebody would fall into the hole and get hurt' so that is why Rita is now covering up the holes so nobody will get hurt."

Yoga and Beyond

The Pikes Peak Yoga Festival is a haven for both yoga enthusiasts and beginners. With the majestic Rockies as a backdrop, participants can engage in various yoga sessions led by experienced instructors, focusing on mindfulness, breathing, and the connection between body and nature.

But the festival is just the beginning of what Victor has to offer. Visitors can explore the rich history of the Gold Rush at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, hike the scenic trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, or visit the nearby town of Cripple Creek for more historical adventures and recreational activities.

The Great Outdoors Awaits

For those who wish to connect with nature, the vicinity around Victor is a playground of natural beauty. The Crags offers a spectacular hiking experience, while the Shelf Road is known for its rock climbing opportunities. Wildlife viewing is abundant, with the possibility of spotting elk, deer, and other local fauna.

A Festival Like No Other

The Pikes Peak Yoga Festival in Victor, Colorado, is more than an event; it's a journey to tranquility and discovery. Amid the historic allure and natural beauty of Victor, the festival offers a unique opportunity to unwind, rejuvenate, and connect with the essence of yoga and nature.

Whether you're drawn by the promise of peace that yoga offers, enchanted by the tales of a historic gold rush town, intrigued by the sight of wild donkeys, or simply in need of a retreat into nature, the Pikes Peak Yoga Festival is an experience that will leave you refreshed, inspired, and longing to return.

Here’s a more in-depth look at things to do in Victor and its surrounding areas:

In Victor, Colorado

  1. Victor Lowell Thomas Museum: Dive into the rich mining history of the Gold Rush era through exhibits, photographs, and artifacts. The museum, named after the famous journalist and broadcaster Lowell Thomas, offers insights into the town's past and the evolution of gold mining.

  2. Vindicator Valley Trail: This scenic trail offers a glimpse into Colorado's gold mining history with interpretative signs along the way, detailing the life and operations of the historic gold mines. The trail provides stunning views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains.

  3. American Eagles Overlook and Historic Mine: Drive up to this overlook for panoramic views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains, the historic mine, and the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine. It’s an excellent spot for photography and understanding the scale of mining operations.

  4. Battle Mountain: For those who love hiking and history, Battle Mountain offers trails that lead to historic mine sites and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

  5. Sunrise on Bison Peak: For the early risers, a hike or drive to Bison Peak at sunrise offers unforgettable views. The peak is known for its unique granite formations and expansive vistas of the Pikes Peak region.

Surrounding Areas

  1. Cripple Creek: Just a short drive from Victor, Cripple Creek is another historic gold mining town with a rich history. Today, it's known for its casinos, but don't miss the Cripple Creek District Museum and the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad for a step back in time.  The Heritage Center on the hill, offers a historical look into mining history, has sweeping views and includes a short film on Cripple Creek and Victor.  Worth the visit.

  2. The Crags: This popular hiking destination offers trails that lead to some of the most spectacular rock formations and views in the Pikes Peak region. It's suitable for hikers of all levels.

  3. Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine: Experience mining history firsthand with a tour of this historic gold mine in Cripple Creek. The tour takes you 1,000 feet underground and gives you a glimpse into the life of a miner.

  4. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument: Explore ancient history at the Florissant Fossil Beds, where you can see some of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world, including massive, petrified redwood stumps and detailed fossils of insects and plants.

  5. Mueller State Park: With over 5,000 acres of meadows, forests, and peaks, Mueller State Park offers year-round recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and in the winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

  6. Shelf Road Climbing Area: For the adventurous, Shelf Road is a world-renowned climbing destination with hundreds of sport climbs on high-quality limestone. It’s suitable for climbers of all skill levels.

  7. Phantom Canyon Road: Take a scenic drive through Phantom Canyon, following the historic path of the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad. The drive offers stunning canyon views, tunnels, and wildlife sightings.

  8. Skaguay Reservoir: A picturesque, protected area of Teller County centered around the 114-acre Skaguay Reservoir.  Activities: fishing, hiking, boating, swimming.

  9. Pancake Rock and Horsethief Falls trails: Check out this 12.6-mile out-and-back trail near Divide, Colorado. Generally considered a challenging route, it takes an average of 6 h 36 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking.  The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash. 

  10. Dome Rock: Beautiful hiking trails, no dogs allowed.  Picturesque and sure to see wildlife.

Victor, Colorado, and its surroundings are rich in history, natural beauty, and outdoor adventures. Whether you're drawn to the past with a visit to historic sites, looking to immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, or seeking adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, Victor offers a unique blend of experiences that cater to all interests.

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