Picture perfect all year round!
What do you do with more than 300 days of sunshine annually? Play outside, of course, because each of our seasons has its own appeal. Summer, with mild days and cool nights, explodes with color as wildflowers bloom, and blue skies are reflected in sparkling streams and lakes.
Both summer and fall are postcard perfect for a scenic drive, a hike, bike ride, round of golf, historic train ride, high country fishing or a leisurely horseback ride.
Fall brings the changing of the aspens, from quaking green to flashing yellows, golds and oranges, and it’s a wonderful time to “leaf-peep” and take photos.
Wintertime is when Mother Nature blesses us with plenty of natural snow for downhill skiing and snowboarding, and she covers 50 miles of free, groomed trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
Visitors during springtime can make good use of the winter trails before snowmelt. What’s more, Leadville’s National Historic Landmark District never closes – you can enjoy walking tours and stargazing year-round!
So whether you come for a weekend or for an extended stay, you’re in the perfect place at the perfect time for making memories to last a lifetime.
1. Top of the Rockies Scenic & Historic Byway
This paved, 115-mile National Scenic Byway includes Independence Pass, which is open seasonally, generally from Memorial Day to November 1. The view is spectacular regardless of which way you travel the loop!
2. Downtown Leadville
With treasures both past and present found throughout the 70 blocks that are part of Leadville’s National Historic Landmark District, you’ll have photo ops galore. Splendid examples of Victorian architecture are all around you, including original structures from the 1880s and the days of Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, Doc Holliday and our own “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.
3. Wilderness trails
Outdoor photography is incomparable in our world, particularly if you venture off the roads to more secluded spots tucked into some 188,000 acres of national forest and Bureau of Land Management land. Timberline Lake Trail is a five-mile hike good for beginners, and the Leadville National Fish Hatchery has a one-mile Evergreen Lakes Nature Trail with interpretive flora and fauna signs. In addition, there are three trails that access the famed – and challenging – 500-mile Colorado Trail.
4. Mineral Belt Trail
A year-round, non-motorized, asphalt-paved and ADA-accessible trail that can be hiked, biked, skied or snowshoed, Mineral Belt has more than 11.5 miles looping downtown Leadville with meadows,
forests and historical sites. Spectacular views of both the Sawatch and Mosquito range, and you can access California Gulch from this trail.
6. Turquoise Lake
Tranquil and a year-found locals’ favorite, Turquoise Lake is ideal not only for fishing, hiking, horseback riding and camping during warm-weather months but also for ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Bring your camera!
7. Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive
At 14,440 and 14,421 feet respectively, these are the highest peaks not only in Colorado but also the Rocky Mountains! Visible from much of the region, these two Fourteeners pierce the clouds but in fact are non-technical hikes and rated “easy” by Fourteener scaling standards. HOWEVER, all hikers should be prepared for high altitude conditions and rapid changes in the weather, and it’s advised you consult the Leadville Forest Service District Office on U.S. 24 before setting out.
8. Twin Lakes
A four-season paradise, Twin Lakes serves up incredible views and is one of the most-photographed settings in Colorado. The glacial lakes are surrounded by majestic Fourteeners and fringed by lush evergreens and quaking aspens. You can take to the waters in a kayak or be part of a guided boat tour to the historic Interlaken Resort, which is also accessible by trail. Picnic spots are along the banks, and paths take you through historic Twin Lakes Village.
9. Independence Pass
Linking Twin Lakes and Aspen, winding Independence Pass is open only during the warmer months, usually from Memorial Day Weekend through November 1, but it all depends on the weather. It is historic, spectacular and paved. There are more paved trails at the summit, where views will take your breath away.