Leadville Colorado, Where the Old West Comes Alive

Photo by ken ratcliff

From Doc Holliday to ziplining and a wilderness train ride in Colorado

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Leadville sits nearly at the top of the Colorado Rockies. If you’re into history and learning about fascinating characters, this former mining town will delight. You can also add a few hours zip lining and drinking in scenery from an old train at 10,000 feet above sea level.

Day trip from where?

If you’re staying in Summit County (Breckenridge, Keystone or Copper) or Vail Valley, the mountain drive up to Leadville is beautiful. (Take the Copper exit off I-70 and head south on US 24.) If you’re in Denver, Leadville is a two-hour drive (take I-70 to exit 195 and south on US 24). If you’re confident driving mountain roads with mega-steep drop-offs, the drive from Aspen to Leadville over Independence Pass is one of the most scenic in Colorado.

What’s in Leadville?

Leadville, located 10,400 feet above sea level, is the highest incorporated city in North America and at one time was the second most populated city in Colorado. Rich in gold and silver mining history, it was home to Doc Holliday and Baby Doe, who froze to death in her shack at the famous Matchless Mine that had once made her a multi-millionaire. The town is the setting of such movies as the Unsinkable Molly Brown and the musical, The Ballad of Baby Doe.

Spend the morning taking a self-directed walking tour of the historic district. The Leadville Walking Tour includes 20 stops including the Heritage Museum, National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, City Hall, Tabor Home, Tabor Opera House and other late 1800s and early 1900’s buildings.

At lunchtime, choose between pizza at High Mountain Pies, or a Teriyaki Buffalo Steak Melt at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.

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Zip lines and train rides

In the afternoon, fly high at the Top of the Rockies Zip Line. A monster truck or ATV takes you up to the six  zip lines, all set between 10,000 and 11,500 feet above sea level. Soar over trees and maybe even a moving train. On one, you can go side-by-side-by-side with your friends.

If you have time, book the adventure that includes zip lining, lunch and riding on the Leadville Train, which chugs through wilderness at the top of the Rockies.

Remember the altitude. If you live at sea level don’t push yourself. Drink lots of water and stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Here are some tips for easier breathing at high altitudes.

Visit the Leadville website to learn more.

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