Keep a low profile in oft-overlooked Leadville.
LEADVILLE IS ALL ABOUT the elevation. Not only is it the highest incorporated city in North America, this town at the head of the Arkansas River is flanked by Colorado’s two highest mountains, 14,433-foot Mt. Elbert and 14,421-foot Mt. Massive. That makes it a prime spot for big adventure.
There’s no shortage of delicious food in Leadville. For a hardy all-American meal to start the day, pop into the vegetarian friendly Silver Llama Market And Eatery (silverllamamarketandeatery.com) and order some sweet or savory French toast. Or really tank up with the big breakfast: three eggs and bacon alongside biscuits and gravy! For something quick, including grab-and-go, City on a Hill Coffee & Espresso (cityonahillcoffee.com) is a local favorite catering to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free customers. All of the breakfast burrito options are a win, including the Classic with eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes, and melted cheddar cheese. You can also grab a sandwich to-go for lunch—two meals solved with one stop. For dinner, squeak into the 20-plus-year-old Tennessee Pass Cafe (tennessee-pass-cafe.business.site), where the proud owners serve local food and homegrown herbs whenever possible. This is a great option for vegetarians, gluten-free customers and meat eaters alike. Be sure to try the flash fried Brussels sprouts.
Leadville is a snow lover’s paradise. The area hosts over 100 miles of groomed multiuse trails for cross-country skiing, fat biking, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Downhill enthusiasts will love the quaint neighboring ski area, Ski Cooper (skicooper.com), which averages 250 inches of snow a year and covers 400 skiable acres. Ski Cooper has always been a family friendly ski area, and, in 2020, it added 70 acres of double-black diamond terrain to give expert skiers some fun too. Use five lifts to access 59 trails. Off the slopes, get your puppy love on with Alpine Adventures Dogsledding (alpineadventuresdogsledding.com). One of the big parties in town is the Ski Joring event (leadvilleskijoring.us),