Mineral Belt Trail Celebrates 12 Years!
Happy 12th Anniversary to Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail! Yes, today’s the anniversary of Leadville’s premier walking, biking, running, long boarding, skiing, snowshoeing and anything else non-motorized trail!
Dedicated on July 29, 2000, this trail loops the city of Leadville, traveling through aspen groves, conifer forests, wildflower meadows, and open vista sage parks. The MBT is a 11.6 mile all-season non-motorized ADA accessible route with numerous trailheads and access points. Approximately six miles of this trail meanders through the historic Leadville Mining District. It offers unsurpassed views of the Sawatch and Mosquito ranges.
This well-executed path is also a true testament to the pioneering spirit. It honors the rugged men and women who endured the harsh alpine environment to scrape and gouge a living from the inhospitable landscape.
The concept for the Mineral Belt Trail began in 1994, when a community poll reported that people wanted the creation of a multi-use, non-motorized trail. Something that would showcase and preserve the unique mining heritage of the district, while providing recreational benefits to the community and its visitors.
The mere fact that something substantial actually came from a community survey is an accomplishment in itself. The fact that construction of the trail began so quickly in the spring of 1995, and actually opened by the end of July, is a triumph.
The Mineral Belt Trail is one of the highest paved trails in Colorado. This all-season path is a self-guided tour of some of the richest silver and gold strikes in Leadville’s Historic Mining District. The trail’s inclines and declines mimic the full circle of mining, from the early discoveries, through the boom and bust periods, and up to the current Superfund cleanup.
This multi-use path is a universal example of peaceful co-existence. The walkers, the runners, the bikers, and the skiers all utilize this scenic trail.
In fact, the Mineral Belt Trail was constructed on just that spirit of cooperation. Groups that had sat across from each other in courtrooms formed an alliance that helped create one of the most interesting trails in Colorado! City and county authorities, private landowners, local civic and historic organizations, and state and federal agencies; all these participants and many more put aside their differences in order to make this project happen.
With very few exceptions, where parcels of land were exchanged, easements to allow construction of the trail were all donated to Lake County. Leadville truly is the Magic City, where vortexes converge!
Today, it’s hard to imagine Leadville without the Mineral Belt Trail. Whether it’s your daily trail workout or annual events such as The Loppet or Blaze The Belt, the MBT is the place to be!
So commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Mineral Belt Trail in your own way. Lace up your running shoes or grab your bike. Then head to the one place that illustrates all the good things about Leadville: The Mineral Belt Trail.
Publisher’s Note: Special thanks to Mike Conlin for his undying commitment to The Mineral Belt Trail! While many people and organizations came together to make it happen, those of us who lived here at that time appreciate Conlin’s fortitude in getting the job done. It’s a great model to learn from for any Lake County project!