Leadville is famous for its mining history, but, today, the area is a fitness fanatic’s dream. The town hosted Stage Four of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (the only stage repeated from the inaugural 2011 race), is home to the Leadville Trail 100 Race Series, and, at any given time, you can find dozens of world-class athletes training here.
For a day trip or a weekend getaway, here are a few other fun (and much less strenuous) ways to enjoy the city.
Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad: This weekend, the railroad hosts the first of two photo tours—the perfect opportunity to photograph the changing leaves. Winding north along the Arkansas River Valley and through the San Isabel National Forest, the three-hour trip comes with a history lesson, ghost stories, and mining tales told by the conductor .
Leadville National Fish Hatchery: You don’t hear much about this place, but it plays an important role in Colorado’s ecosystem. Each year, more than a quarter million trout are raised here, and used to stock lakes and reservoirs across the state. You can tour the hatchery, feed the fish, and hike the extensive network of trails accessible from the parking lot. It’s not uncommon to see snow here in late September, so remember: the trails are open for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, too.
Twin Lakes: You know a town has Western charm when a former brothel serves as the Visitors Center. Just 15 minutes from Leadville, this tiny community is home to Colorado’s largest glacial lakes, nestled right below Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque mountain town.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock