4 Days of Active Winter Fun at the Top of the Rockies

        Experience winter on another level at the top of the Rockies in Leadville and Twin Lakes, Colorado. This itinerary is for people who love to get outside and try new things. Find outdoor adventure on uncrowded, groomed winter trails where the snow comes early and stays late. You’ll find a variety of lodging options and affordable family-friendly activities including skiing, snowmobile tours, ice skating, dog sledding, and more. 📷: collective_ramber / Instagram

        While you’re there, discover a genuine and historic mountain town in a relaxing and quaint Victorian atmosphere. Discover the area’s mining culture and browse the historic downtown and museums. Regardless of your activity, you’ll be sure to revel in the beauty of Colorado’s highest snow-covered peaks.

        Locals’ Tips

        Make the most of your visit to North America’s highest-elevation city by drinking plenty of water! And be sure to pack sunscreen for those high-altitude rays, which feel great on a winter day. If you’re heading into the backcountry in winter, know before you go! Check our Backcountry Winter Safety resources.

        Downtown Leadville by @gasperwasthere Instagram

        📷: @gasperwasthere / Instagram

        Day One

        Morning Activity

        As you arrive in Leadville, browse the quiet and historic downtown. The downtown is full of quaint Victorian architecture, and winter is a great time to explore when the streets are quiet, offering a chance to get to know the locals and shop locally.

        Lunch

        A locals’ favorite, High Mountain Pies offers great pizza, ribs, salads, and sandwiches hand-crafted from the freshest of ingredients. Pizzas and calzones come in creative, gourmet combinations, with ingredients such as braised pork, Ranchero sauce, green chilies, Manchego cheese, fresh avocado, kale, Kalamata olives, roasted red grapes, portabella mushrooms, and more.

        Mt Massive Golf Course XC Ski and Snowshoe Trails

        Afternoon Activity

        The Leadville area has nearly 100 miles of affordable trails that are groomed in winter for snowshoeing, fat biking, and snowmobiling, as well as cross-country skiing and skate skiing. Take a trip to the Mount Massive Golf Course Ski and Snowshoe Trails for easy terrain that lets you focus on the beautiful surrounding scenery with open views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Rental equipment is available.

        Treeline Kitchen in Leadville Colorado

        Dinner

        Treeline Kitchen offers a street-level patio dining complete with a fire pit for relaxing dinners. Heaters and blankets are available on request. The menu at this neighborhood restaurant, which offers daily specials, features American food with local and organic ingredients where possible. Dishes are based on home-cooked recipes with nods to America’s many cultural cuisines. Sample menu items include tuna tartare and crab wontons, creative salads, beef burgundy and vegetable curry, warm fruit crisp, and more.

        After Dinner

        After dinner, head to the open-air Huck Finn Ice Rink and twirl under the stars. Located at the intersection of Fifth Street and Leiter Street, the ice rink is open December through March, weather permitting. At 30,000 square feet, it’s one of the largest manmade rinks in Colorado. Check the rink’s operating hours when planning your trip.

        FREIGHT Leadville S.Lumber Yards

        Overnight Lodging

        Lay your weary head to rest at the new S.L.umber Yard. Thirteen high-craftsmanship cabins opened in spring 2020 at FREIGHT, Leadville’s community gathering space. They offer a cozy, intimate setting where you can relax and make new memories with loved ones. With an exterior of recycled metal and luxury on the inside, this is your basecamp and sanctuary in the mountains. The experience begins with complimentary drinks at check-in and made-to-order cheese and charcuterie boards. The heart of downtown is only a two-and-a-half-block walk.

        Day 2

        Breakfast

        Bring a hearty appetite to the Silver Llama Market and Eatery. Enjoy a full breakfast menu, featuring eggs benedict, waffles, breakfast sammies, stuffed biscuits, breakfast burritos, and more tasty treats. All are freshly made daily with love.

        Top of the Rockies Zipline in Leadville CO

        Morning Activity

        After breakfast, head out for some snow zipping. For those who want a bird’s-eye view of the winter landscape without a ski resort chairlift, the Top of the Rockies Zip Line, the state’s only true backcountry tour, is just the thing. Snow zipping lets visitors fly above snow-covered trees with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, from elevations as high as 12,800’. Winter tours mix zipping with snowcat and snowmobile rides.

        Lunch

        Buchi Café Cubano brings you a memorable Cuban cafe experience with every bite (and sip), with Cuban coffee and pressed sandwiches and cocktails.

        National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum Leadville CO

        Afternoon Activity

        The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, called the Smithsonian of the Rockies, offers 25,000’ of exhibits that showcase America’s mining history with collections of crystals, replicas of caves and mines, model railroads, and special exhibits. Visitors often say they’re surprised at just how much they learn.

        Tennessee Pass Cookhouse Leadville CO

        Dinner

        For a special dinner, guests snowshoe or cross-country ski one mile through an evergreen forest to a gourmet candlelight dinner at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, which features local foods such as Colorado rack of lamb and grilled elk tenderloin.

        After Dinner

        Have a nightcap in a luxury sleep yurt next to the Cookhouse with the hot chocolate and cider provided, or pre-order beer and wine to be delivered. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a night cross-country ski on one of the many backcountry trails surrounding the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center.

        Tennessee Pass Sleep Yurt in Leadville CO

        Overnight Lodging

        Stay the night in one of the warm sleep yurts at Tennessee Pass. Beautifully furnished with handcrafted log beds, down comforters, and gorgeous soapstone wood stoves, this is the perfect place to crash after a long day, under a blanket of Colorado stars.

        Day 3

        Breakfast

        Start your day at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center for a breakfast to get your energy flowing. Its menu includes breakfast burritos, breakfast paninis, and fresh baked goods. Seating capacity may be limited due to Covid. Or you can pre-order a breakfast basket delivered to your yurt when you check in.

        Morning Activity

        Ski Cooper is located right across the parking lot from the Nordic Center. Enjoy a laid-back morning of skiing in a family-friendly and affordable environment. Cooper is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy skiing and boarding in wide open spaces. There are no lift lines, high prices, high-rise condos, or hard man-made “snow.” See what’s new at Cooper and what to know before you go to Cooper this year.

        Ski Cooper by @les_p Instagram

        📷: @les_p / Instagram

        Lunch

        Ski Cooper’s dining options are great for the hungry skier. Cooper Cafeteria is located in the main base lodge with reasonably priced grab and go sandwiches, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and more. The Ridgeview Café is located in the Mountaintop Yurt at the top of the 10th Mountain Chairlift. Stop there for a hearty warm lunch with chili and a bratwurst and an amazing view of Chicago Ridge from the outside deck seating. Enjoy delicious pub fare and libations at Katie O’Rourke’s and the new Timberline Taproom.

        Couple at Ski Cooper Leadville CO

        Afternoon Activity

        Enjoy the afternoon at Ski Cooper. After warming up on the easier slopes in the morning, expert skiers can hit the new Tennessee Creek Basin double blacks in the afternoon. Cooper has terrain for all abilities with 62 ski runs, including 16 double-black diamond and three black diamond runs.

        Dinner

        Head back to Leadville, and warm up with tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and other authentic Mexican fare made from family recipes at Casa Blanca.

        After Dinner

        Walk to Two Mile Brewing and pick up a nightcap of stouts and ales at North America’s highest craft brewery.

        Overnight Lodging

        From Two Mile Brewing, the walk to Leadville’s Tiny House Village is only 0.1 miles. See what all the fuss is about with tiny living as you settle into your cozy, yet efficient, lodging for the evening. You’ll be surprised at how comfortable your stay is in one of these custom homes, featuring kitchens, bathrooms, living spaces, and lofted beds.

        Day 4

        Breakfast

        For breakfast, head to the Golden Burro, which opens at 6:30 AM. The café features house made kombucha, smoothies, fresh pressed juice, goods from an authentic European pastry chef and ovo-plant-based new American diner fare. Enjoy a leisurely dine-in with a retro booth or grab quick service for the patio on your way to enjoy the sights and experiences of the Leadville area.

        Biking Mineral Belt Trail by @chixride - Instagram

        📷: @chixride / Instagram

        Morning Activity

        Rent cross-country skis or a fat bike and tour the Mineral Belt Trail, an 11.6 mile groomed loop around Leadville. Along the way, you’ll pass historic mining sites and original equipment.

        Lunch

        Refuel with comfort food at Tennessee Pass Café, serving burgers, soups, salads, hot entrees, and more. Be sure to try the flash-fried brussels sprouts with sriracha, a house specialty.

        Snowshoe to Interlaken Resort

        Afternoon Activity

        For the afternoon, drive just under half an hour to Twin Lakes to hike or snowshoe the Interlaken Trail. There you’ll find a ghost resort, where wealthy miners once vacationed in summer, perched on the shores of Twin Lakes. Views over the lakes to Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive are stunning.

        Dinner

        Stop by the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon for a weekend brunch or dinner during the quiet off-season. History and charm still live in the timbers of this historic stagecoach stop, built in 1879 and recently renovated. This historic inn offers views of Colorado’s largest glacial lakes. The restaurant and saloon feature comfortable Colorado and American cuisine, including ribs, trout, filet, cheeseburger, blackened chicken alfredo, and more.

        Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon Colorado

        Overnight Lodging

        After dinner, lay your head down to rest at the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon. The inn once was a stage stop on the way to Aspen. Imagine who might have stayed here before you. Leave mundane motel chains behind and come experience true Western hospitality.

         

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