A Late Summer Weekend in Leadville, Colorado

August 26th, 2014

Wondering how and where to spend the Labor Day weekend? Here are some ideas from Leadville, Colorado. Give us a call at 855-488-1222 or visit us online at VisitLeadvilleColorado.com to plan your late-summer getaway.

Enjoying the views

Enjoying the views

taking selfies in Leadville's historic mining district

Taking selfies in Leadville’s historic mining district

Paddling on Turquise Lake

Paddling on Turquise Lake

A hike in the wilderness

A hike in the wilderness

A game of croquet on the lawns at the Healy House Museum

A game of croquet on the lawns at the Healy House Museum

Bird watching in Leadville

Bird watching in Leadville

































At an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America, located in the geographic center of Colorado, 103 miles west of Denver and 129 miles northwest of Colorado Springs. All of the highways in Lake County have been designated as the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway. Just 15 minutes from Leadville at the eastern gateway to Independence Pass, Twin Lakes is the largest glacial lake in Colorado. The area is known for its authentic, small-town atmosphere; year-round outdoor recreation; and historical treasures.


Photos by John Kelly.


Seach for your (geocache) treasure in Leadville, Colorado!

August 18th, 2014

Geocache Label

Leadville, Colorado — There’s a real-life, worldwide treasure hunt going on all around you. Every day, millions of people around the globe participate in geocaching, a treasure hunt activity centered on GPS-enabled devices. Using specific coordinates, participants find the location and hunt for the geocache, a hidden container. Then, once the cache is unearthed, visitors sign the logbook and return the geocache to its hiding spot.


“Geocaches can be found all over the world,” explains the Geocaching website. “It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner. These locations can be quite diverse. They may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street.”

Luckily for visitors to the scenic Leadville and Twin Lakes area, the beautiful mountain locale has become a geocaching haven, with dozens of caches scattered through the town and the surrounding wilderness. A full list of geocache options in the area can be found here, and it is easy to change the search parameters based on where you might be staying.

Geocaches vary in difficulty depending on both the terrain involved and how hard it is to find the actual cache. There are plenty of beginners’ options in the Leadville area, but there are also a number of challenging finds for more experienced geocachers. All that’s required is a GPS-enabled device, but it’s also good to bring along water, sunscreen and snacks if hiking is involved. The best part is that it’s free to register for a geocaching account to begin accessing the coordinates.

There are currently 12 types of geocaches around the world, ranging from mystery caches that require you to solve puzzles and riddles to unlock the coordinates to multi-stage caches, which involve several locations that each contain a clue to the next cache. Some caches even house items for trade, with a general rule that if you take something, you leave something of equal or greater value. Geocaches can range in size from a film canister to a large plastic tub, so it’s important to read the full description online before beginning your hunt.

Nearly all of the geocaches are placed in scenic locations, and many provide access to unique geological formations along the way. It’s time to bust out your hiking boots, throw on your thinking cap, and start exploring! Make  Leadville and Twin Lakes your home base for geocaching in Colorado’s high country. You’ll find friendly and affordable places to eat, stay and play. Request our free Leadville vacation guide and start planning your adventure today!

Photo by Johann Larrson via Flickr.

Nine Must-See Scenic Spots in Leadville and Twin Lakes

July 29th, 2014

Leadville Mineral Belt TrailLeadville, Colorado — Pack the camera and an extra memory card, you’re going to want to remember these views and share them with friends. Here are nine sights in Leadville and Twin Lakes, Colorado, that you won’t want to miss, along with some insiders’ tips for getting the best photos:

1. Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway – This 115-mile National Scenic Byway is one of just 53 in the nation. Drive it in one direction, spend the night, then drive it in the opposite direction for an entirely different view!

Insiders’ tips: Pull into the Camp Hale Memorial at the base of Ski Cooper. The training site for the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, Camp Hale is an excellent place for watchable wildlife, including foxes, deer and elk; U.S. 24 south of Leadville is a good place to spot pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and jaw-dropping views of the Collegiate Peaks. Always find a safe spot to pull off the road.

2. Downtown Leadville – Wander through 70 blocks in the Leadville National Historic Landmark District, renowned for its iconic Victorian architecture. Capture dramatic and artistic photos of original architectural details and weathered wooden buildings that have been around since Doc Holliday and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown lived here in the 1880s.

Insiders’ tips: Take to the side streets for sights of Leadville’s “painted ladies” — beautifully preserved and colorful Victorian homes. Don’t forget to look up! Rooflines often offer some of the most interesting shots.

3. On the trails — Landscape and wilderness photography is unrivaled around Leadville and Twin Lakes. Get off the roads and on the trails to find the spots that others might miss. More than 188,000 acres of national forest and Bureau of Land Management land will keep you busy for days!

Insiders’ tips: The Timberline Lake Trail is a five-mile hike that’s suitable for beginners. The Leadville National Fish Hatchery has a one-mile Evergreen Lakes Nature Trail with interpretive signs that identify flora and fauna. There are three trails that access the famed 500-mile Colorado Trail.

4. Mineral Belt Trail – You can hike, bike, ski and snowshoe this 11.6-mile, non-motorized trail that loops downtown Leadville and the outlying areas. You’ll be in awe of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain range views, wildflower meadows, conifer forests and major historical sites.

Insiders’ tip: You can explore California Gulch and the mining district from this trail, which is paved and ADA-accessible.

5. Historic Mining District – The Route of the Silver Kings leads visitors through the historic mining district surround Leadville. With 14 stops including mines, ghost towns and mining camps, the tour begins at Monroe St. and Harrison Ave. downtown. Allow several hours to enjoy this route.

Insiders’ tip: Maps and souvenir booklets are available at the Leadville Lake County Chamber of Commerce at 809 Harrison Ave.

6. Turquoise Lake – This peaceful mountain lake is a locals’ favorite for fishing, hiking and camping in the summer and fall, and for ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing in the winter.

Insiders’ tip: Get some shots while enjoying the lake, then get a birds’-eye view of this pristine blue-water phenomenon on a horseback ride through the San Isabel and White River National Forests. 

7. Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive – At 14,440 and 14, 421 feet respectively, these are the two highest peaks in Colorado. Not only that, but they lay claim as highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains! They provide the stunning backdrop for much of what you’ll see while you’re here, whether you’re driving, strolling through downtown or out on the trails.

Insiders’ tips: Both of these “Fourteeners” are non-technical hikes and therefore rated as “easy” by Fourteener standards, but all hikers should be prepared for the high altitude and rapid changes in the weather. Stop by the Leadville Forest Service District Office on Highway 24 just south of Leadville to make sure you’re prepared before starting out. If hiking to one of these peaks isn’t for you, they can be photographed from different angles throughout Lake County.

8. Twin Lakes – No matter the season, this stunning panoramic view is one of the most beautiful and amongst the most-photographed spots in Colorado. The glacial lakes are ringed by rugged, snow-capped Fourteeners, lush evergreen forests and quaking aspen groves.

Insiders’ tips: Explore the lakes on kayaks or on a guided boat tour to the historic Interlaken Resort, which can also be reached by trail on the south side of the lakes. Picnic on the banks, then walk the paths through the Historic Twin Lakes Village.

9. Independence Pass – This winding mountain road links Twin Lakes and Aspen during the warmer months, usually from Memorial Day Weekend through October depending on the weather. Paved trails at the summit offer spectacular views.

Insiders’ tips: There are lots of trailheads on the pass. Bring water, snacks, maps and a compass, and dress for altitude on the highest paved pass in North America: layers, a waterproof jacket, a hat and sunscreen. On the west (Aspen) side of the pass, watch for the Independence Ghost Town, a silver mining settlement from the late 1870s.

 These are just a few ideas to get you started. At night, tuck yourself in for a good night’s sleep at one of our several inns, hotels, B&Bs, cabins, condos or vacation rentals, then start your adventure anew tomorrow. As your status as an el-e-vacationer soars, you’ll find photo opportunities around every corner and with each new step. Visit us at VisitLeadvilleColorado.com or call 855-488-1222 to start planning your trip today.






Huck Finn Park Project increases recreation opportunities in Leadville, Colorado

June 24th, 2014

Huck Finn Skatepark 2013

Leadville, Colorado — After several years of brainstorming, fundraising, digging and paving, the Huck Finn Park Project in Leadville is nearing its completion. Skate Leadville broke ground on the project in June 2013 to revamp an existing park, with the primary focus being the addition of a nearly 21,000-square-foot skatepark. Designed by Native Skateparks, the park will include everything from rails and stairs to ledges and bowls, with a variety of features for skaters of all ages and abilities. The design also features plenty of grassy areas and shade trees for spectators and has gone through several rounds of community feedback and revision to best fit the city’s needs.Huck Finn Skatepark landscaping 2014

Huck Finn Skatepark 2014

Volunteers are helping with the landscaping at the new Huck Finn Skatepark in Leadville.

Since the first meeting in 2010, the Huck Finn Park Committee has raised more than $1 million in funding and in-kind services for the project, including a $350,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, $47,000 from The Daniels Fund, $25,000 from the El Pomar Foundation, $30,000 from the Gates Family Foundation, $25,000 from the Coors Foundation, $113,840 from the Department of Local Affairs and a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. The City of Leadville donated $32,500 in Conservation Trust Funds, and the local Elks lodge hosted a fundraiser that brought in $8,000 and contributed $800. Lake County donated $105,000 from Conservation Trust Funds designated for recreation, plus $114,000 in in-kind construction.

In addition to the skatepark, the project also involves repairing two tennis courts and constructing a new park building. After being resurfaced, the tennis courts will also be striped to accommodate younger players based on U.S. Tennis Association guidelines. The park building, which is replacing the old ice rink structure, will include an equipment rental area, restrooms, concessions, a family gathering area and storage space for the Zamboni and mower.

The grand opening is scheduled for July 27; stay tuned for details. More information can be found on the Skate Leadville website.


The Leadville Museum Passport is Back!

June 4th, 2014

Leadville, Colorado — Here’s one of the best deals you’ll find this summer: You can visit seven Leadville museums for just $30 with the Museum Passport. It’s even less for kids ($14 for ages six – 12) and seniors ($25 for ages 62 and better), and it includes discounts at museum gift shops and on tickets for the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad. Plus, it’s good all summer. Here’s the scoop:

From Doc Holliday and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown to Horace, Augusta and “Baby Doe” Tabor, Leadville’s past comes to life in its museums, seven of which are partnering this summer to offer the 2014 Leadville Museum Passport.

This combination ticket is valid from Friday, May 23, 2014, through the month of September for one visit to each of the following: the Heritage Museum, the Tabor Home, the Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin, the Tabor Opera House, the Matchless Mine, the Temple Israel Synagogue and Museum and the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.

In addition to saving money on admission, the passport provides the convenience of purchasing only one admission ticket, discounts at selected museum gift shops, and the ability to return and visit the museums at different times throughout the summer. It is also transferable. The passport includes a 10 percent discount on scenic train rides on the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad.

You can see 10th Mountain Division memorabilia at the Heritage, and relax in the lush gardens at the Healy House. The Tabor Saga can be explored through three museums: the Tabor Home, Horace and Augusta’s first home in Leadville; the Tabor Opera House, built at the height of Tabor’s wealth and power; and the Matchless Mine, where Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor spent the last 30 years of her life and where the tragic story ends.

Leadville’s Temple Israel is unique among restored buildings in the American West. Built in 1884, this frontier synagogue served a surprisingly large and active Jewish community until about 1912. Round out your museum tour with the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, where you’ll find three walk-through mine replicas, a world-class mineral collection and much more. It was granted a charter by Congress, which was signed by President Reagan in 1988, and is the only federally chartered mining museum in the country.

You can also enjoy and learn more about Leadville history with guided tours, a hike or bike ride on the Mineral Belt Trail, at the Camp Hale Memorial and at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.

The Leadville Museum Passport is available for purchase  through Labor Day weekend, at the participating museums, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad depot and the Leadville and Lake County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Ave. More information about the passport is available by calling 855-488-1222.