Skis, Snowshoes & Snowmobiles: Winter’s Arrived!
Get away from the crowds and into the backcountry! Lake County abounds with Nordic skiing, snowshoe and snowmobiling trails of all sorts. Some of the best and most accessible winter activities are right outside your doorstep or a short drive away. This is the reason people flock from all over to visit Lake County during the winter months! Lake County boasts many pristine places with groomed trails all winter long, and despite the million-dollar views and trail maintenance, they maintain the no frills approach that makes Nordic skiing, snowshoe and snowmobiling so appealing.
And now thanks to local efforts and county tourism dollars, there’s a great new Winter Trail Map available. Copies may be picked up at the Leadville Chamber/Visitor’s Center, Alpine Ski and Sport, and Leadville Outdoors, to name a few.
This course is rich with mining heritage and artifacts, which can be identified by the historical markers and plaques telling the tales of an age gone by. The trail can be picked up at several locations, but the recommended favorite is from East 12th Street next to the Leadville/Lake County Animal Shelter, proceeding to Dutch Henri Hill. Free.
Colorado Mountain College/Timberline Campus, located south east of Leadville off of Highway 24 South, offers 8 km of groomed trails located just behind the main campus buildings. The college grooms these trails regularly, and the trails connect with the Mineral Belt Trail. Free.
Mount Massive Golf Course, North America’s highest, located southwest of Leadville on County Road 4, transforms into a winter wonderland for skiers. Now that the snow has arrived the greens turn into whites, offering three separate loops. The short loop is about 2 km, the middle loop is 4 km and the long loop is about 6 km. With stunning views of Mts. Massive and Elbert, you can do a few laps around the tracks only miles from downtown Leadville. The trails are groomed as needed and are especially suited for beginners and intermediates. There is a $2 donation suggested, the box is on the post to the right of the entrance. You can also rent skis, boots, poles $12/day, $24 long weekend (2 1/2 days) if desired. You can connect with them on Facebook.
Turquoise Lake Road, west of Leadville off of County Road 4, offers a loop for snowmobiles, skiers and snowshoers. About 15 miles are groomed by the High Riders Snowmobile Club. Free.
East Side Trails in the Mining District. These trails are combined use for motorized and non-motorized use. These trails are also groomed by the High Riders Snowmobile Club and are generally considered best for intermediate and advanced skiers, as some of the roads can get steep. This area is in a historic mining district, so stay on the trails to avoid open mine shafts and or accidently crossing over into private property. That said there are some unmatched views of Mts Elbert and Massive – Colorado’s two highest peaks. Certainly worth the trek. There is parking up both East 5th & 7th Streets – see the map.