Leadville, Colorado — There are as many reasons to love Leadville’s winter trails as there are ways to enjoy them. Crisp, alpine air; panoramic mountain views; plentiful snow and seemingly endless choices, just to name a few. Your options include more than 50 miles of free, groomed, multi-use trails; a professionally managed and operated fee-based trail network and Nordic center, and hundreds of square miles to explore in the San Isabel and White River National Forests and the Mt. Massive Wilderness Area.
Here are six ways you can make tracks on the trails in Lake County, Colorado, this winter.
1. Ski — Cross-country skiers can find trails perfectly suited to their preferences and abilities in and around Leadville. The Mineral Belt Trail, a historic route that loops the city, is a good place for beginning and intermediate skiers to familiarize themselves with the area; experts can explore the east-side mining district. Both are groomed regularly and are easy to access from downtown.
2. Bike — Fat bikes and snow bikes are gaining in popularity every year, and Leadville is ahead of the curve on meeting the growing demand for this sport. The Cloud City Wheelers bike club builds and grooms single-track trails for biking, which, combined with the other area trail networks and dozens of ungroomed county roads, create enough choices to keep riders busy for days on end.
3. Snowshoe — From wide, flat trails that gently wind through the trees at the Mt. Massive Golf Course Nordic Area to well-marked trails with lots of ups and downs at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, to accessing the 500-mile Colorado Trail and 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail in scenic Twin Lakes, there’s something for every snowshoer, no matter their age or ability.
4. Snowmobile — White Mountain Tours offers guided trips on the Turquoise Lake Trail that can be combined with zip-lining for a true Rocky Mountain bucket-list adventure. Turquoise Lake and the east-side mining district trails are open to motorized use. The High Riders Snowmobile Club grooms these trails, along with some county roads, and offers organized rides throughout the winter as well.
5. Race — Enthusiasts of all of these sports can also compete in them in Leadville each year. Winter competitions include the Harrison Avenue Knock-out Nordic Sprints, the Nordic Paintball Biathlon, the Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Race Series, the Leadville Snowshoe Marathon and Half-Marathon; a winter triathlon, the Leadville Loppet and the Leadville High-Altitude Snow Drags.
6. Learn — Leadville is an ideal destination for those just starting out or wanting to try before they buy. Fat bike and Nordic ski rentals are available at Cycles of Life and the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. The latter also rents snowshoes, offers Nordic lessons and a fee-based system of groomed, set track and wide skate lanes. Mt. Massive Golf Course offers cross-country ski rentals and lessons, and Alpine Ski and Sports, Bill’s Rentals, Leadville Outdoors and Leadville Ski Country rent a variety of winter sports equipment. Colorado Mountain College – Leadville offers one- and two-day courses as well.
Bring Fido! Four-legged friends are welcomed here. Leashed, well-behaved pooches are allowed on all of these trails; please follow proper trail etiquette and pick up after your dogs. The Mt. Massive Golf Course trails are open to off-leash dogs as long as they are kept under the owner’s control. Cold Nose Warm Heart Pet Care provides boarding and doggie daycare options.
Leadville winter trail maps are available at the Leadville Lake County Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Avenue, at many of the businesses listed above and online at . The Leadville Ranger District Office at 810 Front Street or 719-486-7409 is a great resource for trail information and conditions. Please check current conditions with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center before heading out.
In addition to winter trails, Lake County is home to Ski Cooper, one the state’s friendliest and most affordable ski mountains, and back-country skiing, riding and sightseeing Snowcat tours at Chicago Ridge. Budget-friendly winter fun also includes sledding and tubing at the Dutch Henri Sledding Hill; it’s free if you bring your own sleds or tubes. Tube rentals are available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays for just $5 per hour for residents and $7 per hour for non-residents; the hill is open dawn to dusk daily. The Leiter Ice Rink is one of the best deals around. Admission is $2.25 and skate rentals are $1 for kids 14 and younger and $2 for ages 15 and older. The rink includes a snack bar, a warming hut and an excellent sound system, and is open 3:30 to 9 p.m. daily through March. Dog sled tours provide yet another opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery.
We are located in the geographic center of Colorado, just 103 miles west of Denver and 129 miles northwest of Colorado Springs. We’re close to Vail and Copper Mountain as well, with economical lodging options that make it a good hub to explore and enjoy the region. Visit Leadville online or call 855-488-1222 for help in planning your winter getaway!