Leadville, Colorado in Lake County is one of my favorite Colorado gems because it’s quirky and not too fancy. There’s no big resort-y ski area. Leadville offers comfortable places to stay, but there aren’t any 5-star hotels like there are in nearby Vail or Breckenridge. Leadville has a wild history involving bars, brothels, and brawling but today you’re more likely to find wild outdoor adventurers than wild partiers.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Leadville, it does still have its share of bars and tasty restaurants, but there are also plenty of lakes, bike areas, and lots to see both outdoors and in! It even has one of the highest (see what I did there?) dispensaries – Floyd’s of Leadville, owned by cyclist Floyd Landis.
Whether you’re looking to learn more about Colorado’s mining history or get outdoors for some fresh mountain air, here are 27 of the most fun things to do in Leadville!
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Best Things to Do in Leadville
Leadville National Fish Hatchery
See hundreds of fish for stocking
The fish hatchery is one of the most fun things to do in Leadville with kids! Here, fish are raised to stock areas all over Colorado. You can buy fish food for a quarter, which is worth it! There’s also an easy nature trail for families, and hiking trails with access to Mt. Massive and the Colorado Trail.
Hike Mount Elbert
Hike a 14er
Hiking a 14er is definitely one of those must do things in Colorado, and Mount Elbert is a great one to tackle. Mount Elbert is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains. The views and the hike through the San Isabel National Forest are definitely worth it, but this is a serious undertaking – you’ll climb almost 4,500 feet in 5 miles to get to the top.
Ride The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad
Ride through beautiful forest
You’ll get gorgeous views of the San Isabel National Forest and the Arkansas River Valley on this ride. The Southern Railroad also has a Holiday Express train in winter, and the fall rides with autumn foliage are one of the most amazing things to do in Leadville!
📚 Related Reading: This is my absolute favorite Leadville-related book. It ends with a wacky donkey half-marathon that runs through town every August and it’s a funny, heartwarming story.
Things to Do Leadville In Winter
Take to the Slopes
Ski (or snowboard) the mountains
📍 Map It: Ski Cooper – 232 Co Rd 29, Leadville, CO 80461; Copper Mtn – 209 Ten Mile Cir, Frisco, CO 80443 | Phone: Ski Cooper – (719) 486-2277; Copper Mtn – (866) 841-2481 | Ski Cooper Website; Copper Mtn Website | Lift Tickets: Ski Cooper – $50-90, adults, $35-70 under 14; Copper Mtn – $99-169, adults, $84-119 under 13
Of course, skiing is one of the popular things to do in Leadville! There are two ski resorts nearby – Ski Cooper is our favorite for cheap, family skiing at a small resort close to Denver. Copper Mountain is more upscale and better for those who take their skiing more seriously.
📚 Related Reading: Check out the rest of my recs for the top ski resorts in Colorado, and see which might be best for you!
Go Snowshoeing / Cross-Country Skiing
Glide on snowy trails
Tennessee Nordic Center has rentals, plus groomed, well-marked trails. It’s next to Ski Cooper, so if some of your party want to downhill and some want to cross-country ski, everyone’s happy!
Go Tubing At Dutch Henry Hill
Tube down a groomed hill
📍 Map It: US Highway 24 and, McWethy Dr, Leadville, CO 80461 | Phone: (719) 427-0099 | Website | Hours: Dawn to Dusk Daily | Tube Rental Fees: $5 for residents, $10 for non-residents
This local hill is groomed for sledding and tubing, and is one of the fun, cheap things to do in Leadville! Bring your own sled and slide free or rent a tube for $10.
Go Ice Skating
Skate at the highest man-made rink in Colorado! You can bring food & drinks to eat off the rink, but there’s a snack bar as well as hockey equipment and a fire pit.
Go Ice Fishing
Twin Lakes is a popular place for ice fishing, and all the shanties on the lake look like a small town in winter! Turquoise Lake and Crystal Lake are also great ice fishing options nearby.
Go Dog Sledding
Adorable, exciting fun
For a truly out-of-the-box experience, try dog sledding! You’ll get great scenery and, of course, adorably fluffy dogs.
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Things to Do In Summer
Drive Independence Pass
Get amazing views and interesting stops
Independence Pass runs from Twin Lakes to Aspen. There’s so much to do, I could write a whole separate article just on that drive! There is lots of wildlife to see, and many places to stop. The Grottos Trail is definitely worth a visit, and Maroon Bells in Aspen is an awesome destination!
📚 Related Reading: This is one of the many amazing things to see in Colorado! Check out more ideas here.
Hopemore Underground Mine Tour
Try one of the last CO mine tours
📍 Map It: 921 County Road 1, Leadville, CO 80461 | Phone: (719) 486-0301
This is one of the last underground mine tours in the state. Owner Bob Calder leads people 600 feet underground in a mining shaft cage to get a feel for what work was like for a miner. Tours last about an hour and Bob demonstrates old mining equipment and tells tales of Leadville’s history.
Hike to Interlaken
See the remains of an old resort
Interlaken Resort was a popular mountain hotel in the late 1800s. Now, you can see some of the buildings on the site. You also get beautiful views of Twin Lakes and the mountains. The hike is easy – 4.6 miles out and back with a few hills.
Hagerman Tunnel Trail
Walk an old railroad bed
Follow a railroad bed on this 7-mile hike, which ends at what was once the highest railroad tunnel in the world. You’ll hike through the San Isabel National Forest and pass several lakes along with seeing beautiful mountain views.
Paddle on The Lakes
Relax on the water with mountain views
There are several lakes where you can paddleboard and kayak near Leadville. Twin Lakes has a rental place with boards right on the beach for you. You can also paddle in Turquoise Lake if you have your own board or kayak.
Bike the Mineral Belt Trail
Ride through Leadville
The Mineral Belt Trail runs 11.6 miles through Leadville, and you can pick it up anywhere in town including at the Dutch Henry Trailhead. About six miles of the trail pass through the historic mining district and you can see remnants of mining equipment and mines. Bike, run or walk the trail in summer, and snowshoe or cross-country ski in winter.
Tour The Matchless Mine
Get a glimpse of Leadville history
The tale of Horace and Baby Doe Tabor is a scandalous and fascinating one. The Matchless Mine produced $7.5 million worth of silver, yet in the end, Baby Doe froze to death, penniless and alone. Learn more about the history of the couple, and the history of Leadville on this tour.
Hike The Mayflower Gulch Trail
See an old mining route
A beautiful trail that rises from 10,990 to 12,000 feet and follows a Boston Mining Company route. You’ll see parts of the mining cabins at the end. There are also wildflowers in summer, and lovely fall foliage beginning in early September, along with beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains.
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Hook a big one!
📍 Map It: Hayden Meadows Recreation Area, Hwy 24 | Phone: (303) 739-7000 | Hours: Sunrise to Sunset | Entrance: free
There are tons of places to fish and it’s one of the great things to do in Leadville! Hayden Meadows Recreation Area is a great spot for kids, and we’ve never not caught a fish there. You can also fish at Turquoise or Twin Lakes, or try fly fishing the Arkansas River.
Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin
Learn about old-time Leadville
You can tour this mansion that was once a boarding house and the place to socialize in Leadville. Dexter’s Cabin nearby is a 1879 log cabin built by one of Colorado’s first millionaires.
Note: The Healy House Museum closes for the winter season (at least through the end of April).
See A Concert At The Tabor Opera House
Experience old Leadville glamor
You can take in a concert or tour the Tabor Opera House, which was once considered the finest theater between St. Louis and San Francisco.
👉 Pro Tip: The opera house has been closed for its first major rehabilitation since 1879, but it will reopen in spring of 2022.
Things to Do in the Off Season
National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
Learn an important part of Colorado history
This small-town museum is surprisingly impressive, with replica mining tunnels, a running model train display, and dioramas and other exhibits to teach you about Colorado’s mining history.
See a historic frontier synagogue
The temple, which was built in 1884, is open to the public and has about 300 artifacts teaching about Leadville’s Jewish history.
Top of the Rockies Ziplines
Zip through gorgeous scenery
📍 Map It: 6492 Highway 91, Leadville, CO 80461 | Phone: (719) 486-7354 | Website | Hours: Call to make reservations | Zipline Tickets: $125, adults; $100, children under 13, other adventure packages available
You can zipline year-round at the Top of the Rockies! In spring and summer, you can zipline or combine that with a train trip. In winter, you can zipline and take a snowmobile tour.
Grab A Drink At The Legendary Silver Dollar Saloon
Drink where Doc Holiday did
This historic bar has hosted Doc Holiday, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, Oscar Wilde, and other famous drinkers. The original mahogany bar is gorgeous and the drinks are good (ask me how I know…)
👉 Pro Tip: It’s worth looking up the history of the saloon before stopping in so you know what you’re seeing!
Lake County Public Library
Browse new releases or learn about old history
You can browse the latest bestsellers at the library, but they also have storytimes both in the building and sometimes at spots around Leadville. If you’re interested in local history, make an appointment to see the non-circulating collection in the gorgeous Leadville Room.
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Shop At Melanzana
Join the cult (in a good way)
I’ve heard stories of thru-hikers walking off the Colorado Trail and straight to Melanzana to stock up before continuing their hike. The store sells handmade outdoor gear that’s loved for its moisture-wicking, lightweight goodness. Post-COVID, they’re only allowing shopping by appointment, so plan ahead.
Shop Downtown Leadville
Go antiquing and more
📍 Map It: Harrison St., Leadville, CO 80461
Harrison is the main street in Leadville, and you can spend hours there browsing and grabbing coffee, a meal, or ice cream. There’s a large antique mall at one end, plenty of souvenir shops, and fun places like a paint-your-own pottery studio if the weather outside is bad.
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Whether you want to spend the day tackling a 14er, catching some fish for a meal later, or learning more about Colorado history, there’s something for everyone in Leadville!