The Silver Dollar Saloon on the outside

27 Best Things to Do in Leadville, CO (in 2022)

Set in Lake County, Leadville is one of my favorite Colorado gems because it’s quirky and authentic. You won’t find ritzy resorts here, but many comfortable places to stay for a weekend getaway. There are plenty of things to do in Leadville, CO, especially for those who are history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.

Leadville museums share the town’s Wild West past involving bars, brothels, and brawling. On a self-guided walking tour, you can experience historic sites within ghost towns and on downtown Harrison Avenue. For some fresh mountain air, consider hiking, mountain biking, downhill skiing, and horseback riding through aspen groves.

As a long-time local, I’m here to help you decide what to do in Leadville, CO, regardless of the season. Let’s dive in!

👉 Jump to: Best Things | In Winter | In Summer | In The Off-Season

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Best Things to Do in Leadville

Leadville National Fish Hatchery

See hundreds of fish that stock waters all throughout Colorado

View from the Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Colorado
(photo: Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-0189 | Website | Hours: 7 am – 3:30 pm daily | Entrance: Free 

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. 

Mount Elbert

Hike to the summit of Colorado’s tallest mountain

View of the sunrise at Collegiate Peaks from Mt. Elbert

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-0749 | Website 

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 Colorado 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.

🛎️ Need a Place to Stay in Leadville? Leadville is almost two hours from Denver, so if you have an action-packed day or two planned, stay in a hotel or rental in town! 

Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad

Take a scenic train ride through a beautiful forest

View of the Colorado and Southern Railroad Depot from the outside

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-3936 | Website | Tickets: $50, adults, $25 under 12, 3 and under free

On one of the best train rides in Colorado, you’ll get gorgeous views of the San Isabel National Forest and the Arkansas River Valley. 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, Colorado!

📚 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

Skiing and Snowboarding

Take to the slopes and ski through deep powder

The author's kids skiing in Ski Cooper Resort
Ski Cooper is a great family resort!

📍 Google Maps: Ski Cooper, Copper Mtn | 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

Come wintertime, skiing and snowboarding are some of the most popular things to do near Leadville, CO! For its affordable and family-friendly atmosphere, Ski Cooper is our favorite spot and ranks as one of the best ski resorts close to Denver. Copper Mountain has a wider amount of terrain and is maybe better for those seeking a more upscale experience.

📚 Related Reading: Check out the rest of my recs for the top ski resorts in Colorado, and see which might be best for you! 

Tennessee Nordic Center

Snowshoe or cross-country ski on snowy trails

View of a man skiing on the snow during winter

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-1750 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Trail Pass: $18, adults, $12 under 13

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!

Dutch Henry Hill

Tube or sled downhill and enjoy the thrilling ride!

The author's daughter on a sled in Dutch Henry Hill
BYO sled or rent a tube for hours of fun!

📍 Google Maps | 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.

Huck Finn Ice Rink

Skate around the highest ice rink in Colorado

The author's kids having fun in ice skating
Skate or play hockey on this outdoor rink!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 470-1116 | Website | Hours: 4 pm – 8 pm M-Th, 12 pm – 9 pm Fri-Sun | Entrance: $5, adults, $4 youths

Skate at the highest man-made rink in Colorado! You can bring food and drinks to eat off the rink, but there’s a snack bar as well as hockey equipment and a fire pit. 

Ice Fishing 

Try this unique sport by visiting some of Colorado’s largest glacial lakes

A fisherman's hand holding a fish during his ice fishing in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 1-Day Fishing License: $17.35, adults, free under 18

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.

Dog Sledding

Experience adorable, exciting fun

View of sledge dogs running on the snow

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-9899 | Website | Hours: Call For Reservations | Tours: $140, adults, $120 under 9 | 👉 Browse Tours on Viator

For a truly out-of-the-box experience, try dog sledding! You’ll get great scenery and, of course, adorably fluffy dogs.  

♨️ Read Next: The Best Hot Springs in Colorado

Things to Do In Summer

Independence Pass

Take a scenic drive featuring amazing views and interesting stops

View of a road along the Independence Pass

📍 Google Maps | Website | Hours: Best from sunrise to sunset

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

Experience one of the last underground mine tours in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | 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.

Interlaken Resort

Hike to the remains of a historic hotel

View of two kids sitting in front of an old resort in Interlaken

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 553-1400 | Website 

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

Trek along an old railroad bed in the San Isabel National Forest

The San Isabel National Forest signage in Colorado
(photo: Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 553-1400 | Website 

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 Sports

Rent a paddleboard or kayak and get out on the water!

View of two kids and the scenic view from the Twin Lakes
Beautiful views at Twin Lakes

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 420-0200​ | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily summer | Rentals: Starting at $28

Getting out on the water is unquestionably one of the best things to do in Leadville. There are several lakes where you can paddleboard and kayak near Leadville.

If you need a board or kayak, check out Twin Lakes SUP & Cycle. They are located in Twin Lakes, and can also supply boards and bikes to Turquoise Lake too. They also have a variety of other rental accessories, including bikes and fishing gear.

Mineral Belt Trail

Peddle your way through Leadville

View of the Mineral Belt Trail sign and the clear blue sky

📍 Google Maps | Website

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.

The Matchless Mine

Tour this site to get a glimpse into Leadville history

The Matchless Mine sign on a grass area in Leadville

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-1229 | Website | Entrance: $12, guided tour, $6 unguided tour 

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. 

Mayflower Gulch Trail

Hike an old mining route and see the structures that remain

Scenic view from the Mayflower Gulch Trail

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 945-2521 | Website | Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

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. 

👉 Read Next: The 41 Best Places to Go for Vacation in Colorado

Fishing

Hook a big one!

View of a boy fishing in Hayden Meadows Reservoir
We always catch at least one fish at Hayden Meadows Reservoir

📍 Google Maps | 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 at one of the town’s best history museums

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-0487 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 4 pm Thurs-Sat, 12 pm – 4 pm Sun in season | Entrance: $6, adults, $3.50 under 17

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).

The Tabor Opera House

See a concert and experience old Leadville glamor

The Tabor Opera House building from the outside

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-8409 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily, Closed Mondays in season

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

A boy reading some facts about the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Mining Hall has areas built to look like mining tunnels!

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-1229 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4:45 pm daily, Closed Mondays | Entrance: $12, adults, $10 for students, seniors, & military

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.

🏔️ Read Next: 31 Fun Activities to Do and Sites to See in Breckenridge

Temple Israel

See a historic frontier synagogue

View of the interior of the Temple Israel in Leadville

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (303) 709-7050 | Website | Hours: 10:30 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: Free

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

📍 Google Maps | 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. 

The Silver Dollar Saloon

Grab a drink where the famous once did

The Silver Dollar Saloon in Leadville from the outside

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-9914 | Website | Hours:12 pm – 1 am daily

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

The Lake Country Public Library written on a wood

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-0569 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm M & W, 10 am – 5 pm Tu, Th, F, Closed Sat & Sun

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.

🌲 Read Next: Best Things to Do and See in Frisco

Melanzana

Join thru-hikers in shopping for must-have outdoor gear

View of the Melanzana shop sign on the entrance

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (719) 486-3245 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm daily, by appointment only 

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.

Downtown Leadville

Go antiquing and browse the boutiques

People wandering in Downtown Leadville

📍 Google Maps 

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.

👉 Read Next: Where to Stay in Leadville

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Now, you understand why visiting Leadville ranks as one of the best things to do in the USA this summer. And really, it’s a great place to visit any season!

Whether you want to spend the day tackling a 14er, catching some fish for a meal later, or learning more about history, there’s something for everyone in one of Colorado’s best mountain towns! Enjoy all the things to do in Leadville, CO, and happy exploring.

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