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Best of Summer – Visit Leadville and Twin Lakes

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Though this summer may feel slightly different than most, there are plenty of travel opportunities that provide a family-friendly getaway. When making summer plans, add Leadville, CO to the top of your list. Leadville, the highest elevated city in North America with breathtaking mountain views, offers an affordable combination of outdoor adventure, historical mining heritage, and a quaint shop and restaurant-filled downtown. Here’s a list of suggested activities that will be open for business this summer for you and your family to explore and enjoy! 

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad 326 E 7th St, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-3936 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: Adventure, relaxation and sightseeing cannot be topped when riding in the Rocky Mountains on board the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad. This 2 and 1⁄2 hour adventure through the untamed wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest offers breath-taking panoramas of Fremont Pass and the two tallest peaks in Colorado, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Family and friends of all ages have a chance to engage in learning about the history of Leadville and railroads, ghost stories, and tales of the wild. 

Plans post COVID-19 The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad (“Leadville Train”) will open to the public on June 1, 2020. Capacity will be limited to 17 people per car, allowing for approximately 125 people on board at any time (compared to 350 people pre-COVID). The limited capacity will help enforce social distancing between patrons and employees. The Leadville Train’s entire COVID-19 Plan for the railroad that serves as a complete guide for COVID-19 operational practices is available upon request. This plan has been accepted by Lake County’s Health Department. 

National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum 120 West E 9th St, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-1229 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is a monument to the memory of the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development, and processing of our nation’s natural resources. Their mission is to “tell the story of mining, its people, its importance to the American public, and to society’s sustainability.” Known as the “Smithsonian of the Rockies” and the “Premier Showcase of American Mining,” the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum houses 25,000 square feet of interactive and informative exhibits sharing the evolving narrative of mining and its relationship to our everyday lives. 

Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe. 

National Fish Hatchery 2846 Highway 300, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-0189 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: Watch fish swish at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery, built in 1889 and the nation’s second- oldest federal hatchery. This hatchery was created by Executive Order of President Benjamin Harrison for the purpose of increasing the supply of fish for inland waters. The hatchery grounds occupy 3,072 acres of subalpine forest surroundings, with cold, clean water supply, providing the ideal location for trout production. Take a self-guided tour outside to observe the giant fish tanks out front, walk the hatchery’s scenic one-mile nature trail (with 37 information signs and plant ID markers), or venture deeper into the mountains on a network of trails that pass lakes and streams, wind through pines, and lead into the Mt. Massive Wilderness. Three of the hatchery’s hiking trails connect to the Colorado Trail in the Mt. Massive Wilderness area. 

Plans post COVID-19: The Leadville National Fish Hatchery is proud to provide opportunities for safe, enjoyable outdoor experiences during the coronavirus pandemic. It is critically important to follow guidance from the CDC and state and local public health authorities on social distancing, avoiding overcrowding and exercising good hygiene. If the parking lot is full when you visit, please do not stop. They understand that the outdoors can help relieve stress, but these guidelines must be followed for our public health and safety. For now, the hatchery’s indoor facilities may be closed and most scheduled events have been postponed. However, self-guided tours stations are set up outside. For more information visit the FWS Coronavirus webpage. You can still enjoy the scenic trails outdoors listed in the description above. 

Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin 912 Harrison Ave, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-0487 Website Facebook Instagram Photos available upon request. 

Description: In 1878, August R. Meyer, a prominent mining engineer, built a two-story, Greek Revival home for his bride, Emma. Little did he know his nine-bedroom house, situated on a hill chosen for its terrific views, would endure for decades, ultimately becoming one of Leadville’s most beloved museums. The house has undergone multiple transformations, from adding a cabin for mining investor and businessman, James. V. Dexter in 1879, to becoming a boarding house in 1885, to being adopted by the State Historical Society in 1936. Today, it’s operated as a museum by History Colorado and has been beautifully restored to a period between 1878 and 1910, 

showcasing lavish Victorian furnishings, polished wood floors, elegantly patterned wallpaper, and period lighting fixtures. For more information, visit www.HistoryColorado.org

Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe.

Matchless Mine 1 1/4 miles east of Harrison on E. 7th Street, Leadville, CO 80461 (719) 486-1229 Website Facebook Photos available upon request. 

Description: The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMHFM) just announced the reopening of the Matchless Mine and Baby Doe’s Cabin for tours of surface structures starting May 23, 2020. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this site was purchased in 1879 by Silver King H.A.W. Tabor. The Matchless Mine was one of the richest silver mines of the era, with production rates surpassing the Comstock Lode of Nevada. With the extraordinary wealth they accumulated, Tabor and his mistress-turned-wife, Elizabeth “Baby Doe” Tabor, lived in high style. This site will be open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. For the rest of the summer, tours will be offered Tuesday through Saturday only. Tours led by experienced and enthusiastic guides visit Baby Doe’s cabin, the powder magazine, the hoist house, and the headframe. Guided tours are available at 12:00 pm, 1:00pm, 2:00 pm, and 3:00 pm and cost $12 for non-residents. Discounts for guided tours are available for seniors, students, and AAA members. Visitors can take self-guided tours based on educational signs spread throughout the site anytime from 11:00 am until 4:30 pm. The cost of self-guided tours for non-residents is $6. 

Plans post COVID-19: All visitors to the Matchless Mine are requested to maintain social distancing and wear a face mask to protect the staff and other visitors from COVID-19. The NMHFM website at www.mininghallofame.org provides additional information about the Matchless Mine. 

Top of the Rockies Zipline 6492 CO-91, Leadville, CO 80461 (800) 247-7238 Website Facebook Photos available upon request. 

Description: Top of the Rockies Zip Line is the only zip line in the world to fly over a train and Colorado’s only true backcountry zip line. You’ll jump from an elevation of 11,200′. Imagine the view! The Big Nugget Zip is a thrill, as you fly three across on triple cables. For the grand finale, land on the sky tower, 100′ above the ground. You’ll see a spectacular panorama of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two tallest peaks in Colorado. In summer, combine zipping with fishing on their private reserve or with a ride on the Leadville scenic train. Plans post COVID-19: Watch for reopening date and new health measures to keep visitors safe.

Other Great Resources:

Family Travel: Colorado’s Top Five Lodging Suggestions for Summer 2020.

2020 Denver Summer Activity Guide: 150+ Ideas

Denver’s best new playgrounds for 2019

Family travel: Top 8 Family Vacations

Guide to Denver’s Splash Parks and Spray Fountains

Best Hikes for Kids in the Denver area

Where to pull of I-70 when you’re stuck in traffic (fun activities and restaurants)

10 Beautiful Places in Colorado You Didn’t Know About

Borrow a Colorado State Parks Pass from Your Library

Yurt Village at Snow Mountain Ranch is Star-lit Fun

Cool Off This Summer at Colorado’s Best Beaches

A Local’s Guide to Gunnison’s Magical Summers

Best Denver-area Parks for Beginner Trail Runners (and hikers)

10 of Colorado’s most scenic waterfall hikes

Julie Bielenberg
Author: Julie Bielenberg

Julie is a mama of three who travels in search of fields, farms, families and more. Sometimes . . . she finds herself in often uncovered, or understated locales, which has since become her niche.

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