Tag Archives: Twin Lakes Colorado

Leadville News – September 12

Autumn Aspen Autobahn: Twin Lakes Side

Praying Angel_Twin Lakes_Fall 2017

An annual Autumn pilgrimage, the Praying Angel has returned in her golden glory at Twin Lakes, for a limited engagement. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

This time of year, it’s known as the Autumn Aspen Autobahn, as Colorado Highway 82 heading over Independence Pass becomes flooded with tourists – and locals alike, from both sides of the mountain – looking to take in that incredible autumn drive. For many, it will be the last cruise of the season, before the snow shuts down the pass until next spring. So if you have plans to take a cruise through Twin Lakes to enjoy the fall colors, here are some helpful Leadville Today travel tips about southern Lake County.

One of autumn’s most beloved Twin Lakes features is The Praying Angel. This magnificent arbor display, kneels proudly throughout an aspen groove, across the way at Twin Lakes Reservoir. And this time of year, the golden leaves really make her shine. The best place to view this unique mountain-scape is at the Praying Angel Fishing Access Spot. Turn off Highway 82 at the Red Rooster entrance, look for the “Boat Tours” sign. There’s plenty of parking, so that you can safely enjoy this special sight, away from the busy highway. 

VW Bus Coffee Twin Lakes

Peace, love and beans can be found at the new VW Bus Java Stop in Twin Lakes across from the visitor’s center on Highway 82. It’s open on weekends through the season.

If you’ve traveled through the village of Twin Lakes lately, you probably noticed the sunshine yellow VW Bus parked along the highway with the big, bold COFFEE sign in its front window. While self-explanatory to most folks, this new mobile java machine will be serving it up hot and fresh on the weekends through the end of the year, according to owner Bob Dalzell. And next summer he hopes to be be grinding up those beans all season! Stop in for your road-weary jolt to get you up over the pass or take in the fall colors in the village.

Did you know that there’s a mechanic in Twin Lakes for all those motorized toys and tools-of-the-trade you’ve been driving around all summer? Started in January of this year, Balltown Mini Motors is located on the corner of Highways 82 and 24, at 160 East State Hwy 82. Owned and operated by JR Fearneyhough, the business specializes in sales and service of utility task vehicle (UTVs) at a reasonable price.

These days, the average price of a brand new utility task vehicle UTV can cost between $10,000 and $40,000.  Balltown Mini Motors offer an option that’s budget friendly. From the John Deere Gator and Kawasaki Mule to other types of mini trucks and more, they have it all.

And when you have trouble with your rig, take it to a mechanic who has more than 30 years of experience in the profession. They also have interest in your old unit, for purchase or trade.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, whether you’re hunting, fishing or just out recreating in the beautiful outdoors, don’t let your trip to the Rocky Mountain get stalled by an unexpected brake down.  Call Balltown Mini Motors, LLC, by phone 719-917-8121 or email: balltownminimotors@gmail.com.


If you’re looking to satisfy those hunger pangs while out taking in the fall colors, stop in to The Twin Lakes Inn which continues to serve up tasty meals through September, open nightly for dinner and lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

According to General Manager Andy Walk, The Inn will continue to take lodging reservation past September, with the restaurant remaining open to accommodate lodging guests, as well as dining guests WITH RESERVATIONS. While the upgraded septic system will allow the establishment to offer more services beyond their busy summer season, the management is taking a  reserved approach heading into the off-season. In other words, reservations are strongly recommended. That said, they already have some Christmas parties lined up!

At your service is the dedicated staff of the Twin Lakes Inn (left to right): Server Steph, Bartender Jim, General Manager Andy Wald, Chef Chris, Chef Jeremy. Photo: Leadville Today.

And finally, news from The Friends of Twin Lakes.

  • Movie Night has been moved to Thursday this week, so be sure to catch the next show tomorrow, September 13 at 6 p.m. at the Schoolhouse.  Please bring your own beverage and snack as Denise Hagerty, a retired professor and screenwriter who formerly taught “Film as Literature,” leads movie-goers through “Dead Man,” a non-traditional western (almost a kind of spiritual western) starring Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Gabriel Byrne, Robert Mitchum and many other excellent actors. The group will explore and dissect the movie’s depiction of the “settling” of the frontier, Native Americans’ “noble savage” myth, and transformations involved in life and death.
  • The Friends of Twin Lakes will have their next Member Meeting on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 9 a.m. in the schoolhouse, 231 Lang Street. U.S. Forest Service Leadville/Salida District Ranger Jim Pitts will be our guest speaker.  The Friends have asked attendees to submit questions to Ranger Pitts before Friday, Sept. 21 for the Saturday meeting. 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. there will be a Fire Mitigation and Chipping Program Updtae. Join the new Wildland-Urban Interface Mitigation Specialist Carrie Howard as she updates residents on fire mitigation assessments and details of the upcoming chipping program where they will use grant funds to cover 1/2 of the cost.

So there’s some news from the Twin Lakes side of Independence Pass. See you on the Autumn Aspen Autobahn! And seriously, slow down and enjoy the fall colors!

Windmill_Twin Lakes_Fall 2017

Photo opportunties abound on the #AutumnAspenAutobahn, like the old windmill and barn setting off Highway 82 en route to Independence Pass. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell

Leadville News – July 30

The Test of Time: The Twin Lakes Inn

By Kathy Bedell,  © Leadville Today

1879. It was a big year for Leadville, evidenced by the date’s imprint on the side of old buildings. It was the first big boom, and America’s highest city was in full swing with people arriving daily by the wagon-loads.

Twin Lakes Inn

Established in 1879 by Maggie Webber, the Twin Lakes Inn is located at 6435 E State Highway 82 in Twin Lakes, Colorado.

And so it was in southern Lake County, as 1879 was the year that the Twin Lakes Motel, now known as the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon was built by Maggie Weber. It was also the year that Independence Pass was “discovered,” after two prospectors struck a rich ore vein on the Aspen side, naming their claim for its date of discovery, July 4th – Independence Day!

Prior to that, the passageway above the village of Twin Lakes was known as Hunter Pass, more than likely because it was a less-traveled game trail used to cross the Continental Divide down into the Roaring Fork area. Of course, once word got out that there was “gold in them thar hills,” miners began to arrive at a rate of over 30 a day to the region. Before long, what was once a precarious footpath became a more developed route, allowing burro teams to haul the ore down from the mountain into Leadville smelters and return with supplies and mining materials.

Webber being a keen businesswoman took advantage of the Twin Lakes traffic and made sure that the boys – and weary travelers – had what they needed in the way of hospitality and entertainment. Fortunately for today’s traveler, she was also a visionary, and seeing the potential for growth, entered into an agreement in 1907 with the Department of the Interior which oversees the Forest Service. The document, which is still on file in the lodging establishment, outlines the inn’s right in perpetuity to use the Forest Service easement across the highway to manage the waste generated from the popular motel. And while Webber never developed the property herself, this historic agreement has been carried forward from owner to owner, finally being put to its intended use in 2018.

Leech Field Twin Lakes Inn

The new septic system at the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon doubles the leech field capacity situated across Highway 82 from the historic lodging establishment.

Mark Graff, Managing Partner for Interlaken Partners, LLC who bought the historic property in 2012, picks up the story from there. “They realized even back then, that they needed a bigger system for the hospitality business they were running,” he explained.

But by the 21st century, the old septic system was on the brink of failure at any given time, forcing the present-day business to operate very modestly. Basically, without fixing the problem, the inn could not expand its bookings. In addition, another variable accelerated the upgrade process.

In 2014, there was a new law – Regulation 43 – which outlined updated requirements for on-site wastewater treatment systems with flows equal to or greater than 2,000 gallons per day.  Graff explains further: “There’s a county version of that and a state version of that (Regulation 43).  Our goal was to make sure that we stayed a county-supervised system, rather than a state one, because you add a zero onto the costs at the state level.”

So in 2015 the group set its engineers’ sights to build a better septic system for the historic property. Fortunately that goal was completed last fall, and finally realized this spring when the new, “six-figure” septic operation was brought online with great success, and a sigh of relief from investors.

“We were nursing a very old septic system for years,” explained Graff. “In the past, we would get to July or August and if it was a heavy winter, or we had a lot of monsoonal rains, the lake levels would start to affect whether or not the leech field would even work.”

Staff 2018_Twin Lakes Inn_outside

At your service is the dedicated staff of the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon (left to right): General Manager Andy Wald, Chef Chris, Server Steph, Bartender Jim, Chef Jeremy. Photo: Leadville Today.

The new treatment system sits across Highway 82 from the inn, and has doubled the leech field capacity. It includes an extra foot of sand at the base, allowing the operation to perform the way it’s supposed to, even during high water years.

It’s here, that Graff credits the lodging facility’s prior owner Taylor Adams, who ran the operations under the name The Inn of The Black Wolf in the 1980s, for being a good steward of that Forest Service easement agreement when she doubled the size of the property included in that arrangement during her ownership.

And that’s a good thing, because according to Graff, they needed every inch of that easement property to make the newly engineered septic system work properly. In addition to the expanded treatment field, three new 2,000 gallon tanks have been installed adjacent to the inn under the patio. Today, the upgrade not only places the operations within the new Regulation 43 guidelines, but also allows the facility to continue to be monitored under the Lake County Public Health Department.

 “We were serious about the upgrade, because we believe that the Inn is an important part of this community,” Graff concluded.

So what can visitors and guests expect to see at the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon today? At present, they have 12 rooms available for overnights, which includes breakfast. The Inn’s dining room has a capacity for 45, with an extra 20 seats available on the patio which was recently expanded. Another thing visitors and locals can expect to see are a lot of familiar faces, as veteran employees are on deck for another great season!

“We’re open for business and things are going good,” said Andy Wald, General Manager at the Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon. In fact, it sounds like it’s been a very good season, especially for their dining room that serves dinner nightly from 5-8:30 p.m. and lunch from 12 -3:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  

The menu never disappoints, offering entrees from steak to salmon, as well as nightly specials that keep diners coming back for more. But the regulars will tell you, it’s the top-notch service from veteran employees – some of the best in the Lake County hospitality business – that have them making dinner reservations several times a week!

“We’ve been real lucky to have a loyal staff that returns year after year,” explained Wald in a recent interview with Leadville Today. And that’s good to know as the facility sets its sights on expanded offerings, including winter options, now that the septic system has been upgraded.

“We can start looking ahead, said Graff. “In fact, we’ve got our first holiday party booked.”

The Twin Lakes Inn is located at 6435 E State Highway 82. At present, they are open to the public May thru October. Reservations for dinner are strongly recommended, especially in August. Readers may connect with them on their website, by phone at 719-486-7965 or on their Facebook Page: Twin Lakes Inn & Saloon.

twin lakes inn bed

The Twin Lakes Inn offers 12 unique rooms which include breakfast. Photo: Twin Lakes Inn