Why Winter in Twin Lakes Is Double the FunNovember 20, 2019
This year, come celebrate TWIN-ter in Twin Lakes, Colorado! This tiny historic village has outsized views of Colorado’s largest glacial lakes. The state’s tallest peak, 14,433’ Mt. Elbert, towers overhead. And you’ll get a true small-town feel in Twin Lakes, which claims only 23 full-time residents—counting dogs.
Weather is often a bit warmer in Twin Lakes than in nearby Leadville, which is North America’s highest-elevation city. This 1,000’ difference means that you often can experience both deep snow and warm sunshine, all within half an hour’s drive.
Learn why winter is double the fun in Twin Lakes!
Two of Colorado’s largest and most picturesque glacial lakes are tucked against some of the Centennial State’s highest peaks. In winter, miles of snowy mountains rise behind frozen lakes. Come for sunset, and catch the rosy glow behind all that snow.
While you’re there, admire the view of Twin Peaks, just southwest of the village. It’s just one of many frosted summits that will surround your days in the village.
Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby
Twin Lakes is a magnet for ice fishers all winter long. Even if you missed the 22nd Annual Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby (Feb. 8-9, 2020), you still have plenty of time to head for Twin Lakes this winter. Last year’s derby-winning mackinaw weighed 17 pounds, 14 3/8 ounces!
Twin Long-Haul Trails
Both the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail wind past Twin Lakes. As of September 2019, Twin Lakes is now an official gateway community of the CDT! In most of the area, the two trails run together as a single trail. Depending on recent weather, they can be covered in deep snow perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or fat biking. In warmer spells, portions along the Twin Lakes shore can be dry enough for hiking.
Looking for an easy excursion? Explore the trail segment that wraps around the eastern end of Twin Lakes. Enjoy open views with sunshine, or head through the forest to the ghost resort of Interlaken.
For a snowier, more-challenging path, head north along the trails from the Twin Lakes area. You’ll pass through aspen groves and pine forests—a true winter wonderland. Occasional views of the surrounding peaks are breathtaking.
Additional trails and backcountry skiing are available west of Twin Lakes on Highway 82, to the closure gate for Independence Pass. Make sure you check the mountain weather forecast and Colorado avalanche forecast, and know how to stay safe, before venturing into the backcountry in winter.
Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon
For the first time in five years, the historic Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon will be open on weekends this winter. Come dine and stay at this former stagecoach stop. It’s now celebrating its 140th anniversary, along with four other area businesses!
The inn’s excellent restaurant, open for dinner every Friday-Sunday, features entrees like grilled ribeye with roasted garlic mashed potato and grilled lemon asparagus topped with bleu cheese cream. Rooms are uniquely decorated, and the optional on-site massage is great for a winter’s day. The inn also hosts weddings and other gatherings. The Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon will be open Friday-Sunday from November to March.
The Mt. Elbert Lodge, which offers B&B rooms in the main lodge as well as cabins, is also open all winter. Amenities include an outdoor hot tub, terry robes, fire pits, decks with views of mountains and wildlife, and stargazing.
Check out great places to stay in Twin Lakes, Colorado. Whether you pick the inn, the lodge, or one of our many vacation homes and cabins, you’ll be doubly glad you chose to experience TWIN-ter this year!