October 4, 2017

Leadville

Where history meets adventure.

At an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city and the second highest incorporated municipality in the United States. A former silver mining town that lies near the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Leadville Historic District contains many historic structures and sites from its dynamic mining era. In the late 19th century, Leadville was the second most populous city in Colorado, after Denver.

Situated within the San Isabel National Forest and surrounded by three wilderness areas, Leadville is popular with hikers and campers. The Mount Massive Wilderness, the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, and the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness are all within a few miles of Leadville. Mount Massive (Elevation: 14,429 feet) and Mount Elbert (Elevation: 14,439 feet) are the two highest peaks in Colorado.

Turquoise Lake lies three miles west of Leadville. Recreation facilities consist of eight campgrounds and two boat-launching ramps. The surface available for recreation includes 780 acres. Primary recreation activities include camping and fishing in the Summer and ice fishing in the Winter.

The Top of the Rockies Byway, designated a National Scenic Byway in 1998, is a highway that travels 75 miles starting in Aspen and traveling through Leadville to either Minturn or Copper Mountain. Seldom dropping below 9,000 feet, it is literally at the top of the Rockies. It drives over three mountain passes that are above 10,000 feet and there are views of six mountains of over 14,000 feet. The Top of the Rockies byway runs through three National Forests: the Pike, Arapahoe, and White River National Forests. The Camp Hale Memorial is located along the byway, where soldiers trained on skis to fight in the Apennine Mountains of Italy during World War II. The road passes through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and the Arkansas River Headwaters State Park. The Arkansas River is to whitewater kayaking & rafting, as Vail is to Alpine Skiing – World Class rapids for beginning rafters to expert kayakers.

In the winter, residents and visitors enjoy their pick of two areas: Ski Cooper and Copper Mountain. Ski Cooper is located in Leadville while Copper Mountain is 25 minutes away. Leadville also has it’s very own nordic center: The Piney Creek Nordic Center. The Mineral Belt Path is snowcat-groomed making it perfect for skating and classic Nordic skiing.  It is a multi use, non-motorized, free trail for everyone. Leashed dogs, fat tire winter bike, snowshoes, skateboards & scooters, etc. The MBTrail has historic signs that tell of the rich history of this world class mining district. A full lap of the trail is about 12 miles – that is 10,000 to 10,600 feet above sea level. The highest peaks in Colorado fill the western horizon.

The first weekend of each March is the spectacle of Ski Joring behind a fast horse. Main street is closed and groomed with big jumps & gates for this western skiing event. And speaking of fringe sports, the annual Burro Race (ultra running) is held on the first weekend of August during the heritage event of Boom Days. And, of course, the famous Leadville Racing Series featuring the legendary “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run calls Leadville home.

On west 6th Street, the skate park is as good as any, and the outside ice rink is an affordable treat for everyone. Leadville is a mecca for fall color during September. In the summer, Leadville becomes an outdoor adventure heaven with hiking, biking, fishing, hunting…..

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