7 Ways to Catch the Leadville-Twin Lakes History VibeMay 18, 2023
Visit Leadville and Twin Lakes, Colorado, and you’ll experience genuine and historic mountain towns. You’ll sense their Silver Rush history today, even as you enjoy modern-day shops, restaurants, and lodging. Learn what makes Leadville and Twin Lakes special!
Here are 7 kinds of fun that give you the Leadville-Twin Lakes vibe! All tours and museums listed will be open for the 2023 season starting Memorial Day weekend, unless otherwise noted.
1) Ride a Scenic Train
Hop aboard the Leadville Railroad! You’ll roll along a historic rail line to the Climax mine, with stupendous views of the forests, valley, and surrounding peaks. The conductor will share stories of Leadville’s past. Check for BBQ and wildflower special rides this summer!
2) Enjoy a Tabor Opera House Show or Tour
Don’t miss the Tabor Opera House! Built in 1879 and once considered the finest opera house west of the Mississippi, it’s open for guided tours and live concerts, plays, comedy, and more this summer. All while it’s undergoing its first major rehabilitation since its original opening.
The Tabor is part of the Colorado Historic Opera Houses Circuit, which joins five mountain opera houses offering world-class live entertainment. Come see them all!
3) Ride a Boat across Twin Lakes
Book a Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tour for a journey across sparkling glacial lakes ringed with high mountains. In addition to jaw-dropping scenery, you’ll enjoy a narrated tour and the chance to explore a ghost resort, Interlaken, across the lakes. Some of the buildings have been preserved, and one is open for you to wander inside.
4) See the New Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument
Be sure to check out the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument, the nation’s newest national monument! Summer is a great time to relax at the fishing pier.
Camp Hale lies just 20 minutes to the north of Leadville. There, you can see footprints of some of the buildings used to train ski troopers for mountain fighting in World War II. These 10th Mountain Division soldiers returned as heroes, and many helped found today’s ski industry.
On Memorial Day weekend, attend a wreath-laying and memorial to honor these heroes. The ceremony takes place at the 10th Mountain memorial on Tennessee Pass on May 29, 2023, at 11 a.m.
5) Tour Historic Homes
Three historic homes show what Leadville was like back in the day.
Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin is reopening this summer after an extended closure. Come see this house built for the bride of a mining engineer, plus a cabin for a wealthy mining investor. Be sure to catch the new lineup of special events!
- A Latinx Art Exhibition features a variety of Leadville artists’ work for you to enjoy and to purchase (Opening May 27 from 3-8 p.m. and running through August 2023).
- Victorian Tea and Top Hats on the porch and lawn happens July 14, 2023, from 1-4 p.m.
At the Tabor Home, see where mining magnate Horace Tabor and his first wife, businesswoman Augusta Tabor, lived.
The House with the Eye shows off memorabilia from the late 1800s and early 1900s, including a horse-drawn hearse and a Prohibition-era whiskey still. All under the watchful stained-glass eye built into the roof.
6) Visit the Museums
Speaking of memorabilia, the Heritage Museum is full of it! Follow the story of Leadville’s mining through a room of exhibits, check out a replica of the Leadville Ice Palace, see Victorian clothing, and more. (Summer 2023 opening date tbd)
At the Matchless Mine, peer down the mining shaft that made the Tabors famously wealthy and tour the cabin where Baby Doe Tabor lived and died. Guided and self-guided tours are available. (Summer 2023 opening date tbd)
The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum tells the story of mining, from past to present to future. Find an impressive gem and mineral collection, plus exhibits on everything from Leadville’s mining past to the future of mining in space.
Temple Israel is a frontier Jewish synagogue. Today, you can visit the museum to learn about Leadville’s pioneer Jewish community.
See four Leadville museums, and you can get a free gift! Learn about our Passport to Leadville History.
7) Tour Historic Downtowns & Mines
Take a self-guided walking tour of Leadville’s National Historic Landmark District. You’ll find the stories behind the buildings, from Oscar Wilde’s appearance at a historic saloon to the sale of a queen’s diamond.
A self-guided walking tour at Twin Lakes takes you through this small historic village. See the former dance hall, schoolhouse, assayer’s office, and more.
To explore Leadville’s East Side Mining District, do the Route of the Silver Kings driving tour. You’ll pass historic mining structures, equipment, tailings piles, and more. All backdropped with stunning mountain views.
📷 (photo to left): @jagralewski