Leadville Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 76 photos


PICTURE: There could not be a more appropriate location for the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum than in this former boomtown.

"There has been but one Leadville. Never will there be an other."

Everyone who was anyone started in Leadville: J.J. and Molly Brown, Horace Tabor and Meyer Guggenheim all found fortunes here. Visiting Notables Include: Doc Holliday, Susan B. Anthony, Frank and Jesse James, Oscar Wilde and Buffalo Bill. In the Hyman block of downtown Leadville, Doc Holliday shot but did not kill, his last man.

While Leadville was shaped somewhat by the hardscrabble lot of miners living in and around the city, the wealth amassed was a magnet for all sorts, famous and infamous, arriving by foot, mule and finally train.

Located in one of the most highly mineralized areas of the world, Leadville owes its very existence to the fortunes of gold, silver, zinc, molybdenum, manganese and lead hidden in its nearby hillsides. The frontier West's wildest, richest, silver mining boom town made its fortune in silver, which was mined in a heavy carbonate of lead. Because there was lots of "silver" in town’s names at the time, the founding fathers suggested Leadville.

Sitting at a lofty perch of 10,430 feet in a mountain valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America.

Leadville, Colorado, is a well-kept secret. Listed in Men's Journal as one of the nation's top 20 "Dream Towns in America", the Denver Post as "the last best place", while Runner's World listed Leadville as a "Trail way to Heaven”.

Leadville is a treasured gem in the middle of Colorado. Located within easy driving distance from Denver and Colorado Springs, this legendary frontier-mining town has seventy square blocks of Victorian architecture, and 20 square miles of nearby mining district. Self-described as quaint and absolutely original, Leadville has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District.


St. Patrick’s Day comes twice a year: the 18th of September and March 17. Down the center of town a sweet sounding bagpipe band with men in kilts lead the parade of old cars, kids, dogs and mayoral candidates flanked by supporters with signs. Shops close as young and old townsfolk join the fun drinking green beer. Tourists are swept up in the Irish merriment, as everyone is Irish that day.


At 1 pm we boarded the Leadville, Colorado and Southern for a 2 1/2 hour, 11 mile ride up 1000 feet, stopping just short of the inactive Climax Molybdenum Mine. The Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railway still follows the headwaters of the Arkansas River to a spectacular view of Fremont Pass. Back down to French Gulch Water Tower, the train stops to view Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest snowcapped peak. The train’s slow progress gives tourists a chance to marvel at the high mountain scenery, wildflowers, shimmering aspens, pines and the striking beauty of Colorado as history passes alongside the rails.


Leadville provides quiet respite from everyday life or action-packed outdoor adventure. The town is excellent as an extended base of operation from which to explore Colorado, offering bed and breakfasts, hotels, full-service camping, and a vast array of dining choices, unique shopping and a variety of local events.

Opportunities for visitors to enjoy pure Colorado are boundless whether you are a thrill or antique seeker. The Colorado Trail provides easy access to miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The route traverses Lake County and provides access to the multi-cabin Tenth Mountain Division Ski Hut system. Horseback riding, rock hounding, climbing Colorado's highest peaks, camping, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, exceptional cross-country skiing and a variety of other outdoor activities abound in the area.

The area provides direct access to miles of four-wheel drive, ATV and motorcycle roads as well as rental locations, tours and guide services. Leadville has the highest 9-hole golf course in the United States.

From ghost towns to horse back riding to white water rafting, Colorado is a perfect destination.

Visit www.Leadville.com

  • Intro Written Sep 7, 2002
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