Tag Archives: Twin Lakes Colorado

Latest News – July 14

Twin Lakes: Dining, Drinks and Canoes!

Residents who lived in Leadville 100 years ago had it right. They knew exactly where to head when their small mountain community got packed with Front Range denizens looking to get up into the cool mountain air. They headed south, to Twin Lakes!

Twin_Lakes_2016_28 copy

General Manager Andy Wald greets customers at the Malamute Saloon at the Twin Lakes Inn.

And today Leadvillites are no different. So if you’re looking to get a little elbow room, and take in some incredible cuisine and views, then head south to the Twin Lakes Inn and the Dayton Dining Room.

This quaint historic dining room maintains its original name, dating back to 1800, while serving up the today’s freshest dishes and enticing wines.  

“Our meals feature comfortable Colorado and American cuisine served just the way you love it!” explains the Inn’s General Manager Andy Wald.

Their culinary team continues to maintain its reputation for serving up delicious dishes from salmon crab piccata to slow-smoked pork ribs, reservations are encouraged. And while they focus on dinner service from 5 – 8:30 p.m. nightly, they do offer lunch on the weekends (F/Sa/Su) from noon – 4 p.m.

Guests can relax in the Malamute Saloon with a cold beer or cocktail or outside on the patio overlooking Twin Peaks.   You just might see someone you know or make new friends!

Please note that dinner reservations are strongly suggested at 719-486-7965. Wald notes that once the August race season starts, weekend will be extremely busy, so plan ahead. However, he added, in September as the season winds down they have some fall fun planned, so stayed connected with the latest happenings at the Twin Lakes Inn via their Facebook Page.

The Twin Lakes Inn, Dayton Dining Room and Malamute saloon are located at 6435 E State Highway 82, in the village of Twin Lakes, Colorado.

Johnny Canoe: Some Things Just Don’t Change

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today Contributor

“It’s good to know that some things don’t change,” this comment gleaned from Facebook refers to Johnny “Canoe” Gwaltney, of Twin Lakes Village, who elaborates saying, “I’m the only guy that’s still around, and still doing what I’ve always done.”

The winds of change even sweep through Twin Lakes Village, gem of the Sawatch Range in the southern portion of Lake County; businesses change hands, and people come and go (usually ‘going’ in wintertime). But Johnny Canoe is proud to be as perennial as the aspens.

Johnny Canoe Paddle Fest

Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures in Twin Lakes, Colorado

In the summertime, you’ll find him lounging in his canoe hut, which is easy to spot just a half block off Highway 82 in the lakeside village. He’s usually picking away at his guitar, sandaled feet propped up in his office chair, the only indication that this even is an office. Old photos, paddles, Big Mouth Billy Bass, and signs reading “GET NAKED” cover the walls of the cabin, signs of a life lived in Jimmy Buffett style. An impromptu studio is set up in the corner with a few instruments, encouraging musical collaboration with the wayfarers and Colorado Trail hikers who often pass through Twin Lakes. In a way Gwaltney is the quintessential Twin Lakes Villager, making a lifestyle of what he loves to do, where he loves to do it. Ever smiling, welcoming, and ever challenging the traditional mode of success modeled in the big city. 

If you can’t guess by his name, Johnny Canoe has got canoes, and he’s willing to share them. Twin Lakes Canoe & Kayak Adventures (TLCKA) offers canoe, kayak, paddleboard, sailboat, and rave runner rentals, for visitors and locals to take out on the pristine Twin Lakes Reservoir for a day or overnight. He also serves Turquoise Lake throughout the summer. TLCKA arranges fishing tours and group events by request as well.


It’s time for summertime fun on the water! Photo: Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures

Summer will find Twin Lakes Reservoir at its warmest (not warm at all), and autumn welcomes the turning of the aspens which are ubiquitous on the lakes. Schedule a time to go peacefully a-rowing on one of Colorado’s most hidden and precious treasures.

TLCKA is located at 6451 Colorado 82, Twin Lakes, CO, and the office phone number is (719) 251-9961. Visit their website for much more on the services they provide at http://www.twinlakescanoeandkayak.com

Twin Lakes General Store: Stocked With Supplies

The Twin Lakes General Store may look like the quintessential country store fromthe outside, and in many ways it is. But be assured there’s so much more inside those doors! For hikers doing the long trails, it’s a welcome break and surprise when it comes to what’s on the shelves. There’s not too much that hikers, campers or Indy Pass cruisers won’t find.

Owners Carl and Katie Bryan are also trying to get that word out about what they do offer since one of the primary hiking guide books continues to print incorrect information after many requests for an update. Here are the details from the Twin Lakes General Store Facebook Page:

Twin Lakes General store

The Twin Lakes General Store has just about everything hikers, campers, boaters and cruisers may need. Photo:Twin Lakes General Store Facebook Page

2017 Through Hiker UPDATE:
We have been informed by several hikers that the guides they are using have some contradictory information in them. We have been told by many hikers that they could resupply here despite what some guides say. You can always send a package as well, we can accept any delivery method, however if you plan to bounce your package only Fed Ex or UPS has that ability.

You may find more current information on the web at The Colorado Trail Foundation and Continental Divide Trail Coalition. Most would agree there’s no need for a mail drop unless you have a specific diet or preferences. Cost is more than a grocery store, but so is sending a package

Mailing instructions are to decorate your package, include ETA and send 
6451 E. Hwy 82
Twin Lakes, CO 81251

Open 7 days a week. 8-6 is always safe.

Twin Lakes General Store_exterior

The Twin Lakes General Store is open daily with everything from food to supplies.

Latest News – June 17

Twin Lakes – Head South to Scenic Beauty

The Dog-Serpent of Twin Lakes 

by Brennan Ruegg, Leadville Today contributor

A beast green like the slimy wash on the underside of a boat, with black eyes “encircled with a rim of red” and a mouth “filled with glistening fangs.”


An artistic rendering of a Twin Lakes monster sighting.

For more than a century words like these have circled around Lake County referring to a Loch Ness-ian monster who allegedly inhabits the Twin Lakes Reservoir. It is a creature of varying reported size who makes a periodic journey from its subterranean rest to appear above the surface at the audience of select townsfolk, if only to inspire continued fear of its legend. Tales of anchors being dropped into the lake only to be swept off in an underwater current to unknown depths has led to rumors of the creature’s home below the lakes. No photos have yet been taken of this grisly abomination, only stories have been told:

“The reported appearance of a marine monster in Twin Lakes revives a bit of strange and undoubted history. In the summer of 1881 a young man named Herman Wolf, and a boy whose identity has passed out of recollection, were fishing late one evening in the lower lake. Several people were watching them from the bank, when Wolf, who was rowing, suddenly dropped the oars, and, rising to an erect position, began to walk backwards out of the boat, his eyes fixed on the water in front of him, and an expression of speechless terror on his face. As he rose, the boy, who was seated in the stern, looked over his shoulder, and leaping up, sprang with outstretched arms after his companion. Both disappeared at once and did not rise, and although the spot was carefully searched, the bodies to this day have never been recovered.” [Carbonate Chronicle, 6-1884]

Here’s another story with a more vivid description of the beast:

. . . James Powell, a miner and prospector, who lives close to the Twin Lakes house, was walking with a party of several, armed with fishing poles, near the shore of the lower lake, when their attention was attracted by an unusual commotion in the water several hundred yards out. As they looked they were appalled and bewildered to see a GIGANTIC HEAD rise from the surface. They stood petrified with amazement and terror as a neck fully twenty feet long reared itself out of the waters and poised there for a moment. The contour of the monster was that of a colossal serpent… During this time it was seen not only by the fishing party whose attention it originally attracted, but by several other people near the bank of the lake, who fully corroborate the description given.” [Orth Stein, 1884]


An issue of the Carbonate Chronicle, which ran as Leadville’s weekly news publication from the late 19th century until 1987.

These tales, while ominous, give no indication to the legend’s origin. Some hunting through the annals of local history uncovers the first story ever recorded on the subject, from that summer of 1881. On a Monday afternoon, a man named Hulbert was walking the edge of the upper lake when he sighted a thrashing beast in the water. After racing back into the village, and only a half-hour of convincing entreaty, several townsfolk agreed to accompany Hulbert to the place of the disturbance.

“To the afrighted Twin Lakers [its head] seemed as big as a cracker box, and of a vividly green color… It was like to nothing in the heavens above or the earth below, and as it seemed to be heading directly their way, the spectators did not tarry any longer, but made some of the best time on record out of the vicinity. Between the spot where the monster appeared and the village, the terrible head grew to at least four times its original dimensions, and the description they gave it was fearful and wonderful in the extreme.”

There's always something interesting going on in Twin Lakes. Maybe it's time for a visit! Photo: ColoradoGuy.com

There’s always something interesting going on in Twin Lakes. Maybe it’s time for a visit! Photo: ColoradoGuy.com

In short order a small army of twenty men and boys armed with rifles made their way to the water’s edge, and carefully approaching began to throw sticks and stones into the water. Evidence of the creature’s thrashing was visible, but they could not incite an appearance. They deliberated the truth of Hulbert’s claims, and even considered throwing Hulbert into the lakes to settle the matter, as either it would bait the monster and encourage an appearance, or would serve as his punishment for such a crafty ruse; but instead the band of warriors turned home, the matter still a shrouded in mystery. It’s where the story reaches its conclusion that we get the first solid hint at the true nature of the beast:

“Meanwhile a shock had been preparing for their nervous systems, at the village. They had not been gone more than five or ten minutes before a strange creature wandered in. It required a scrutinizing glance to recognize it as a big New Foundland dog that had been disfigured in some extraordinary manner… It seems that a gigantic but superannuated canine that had passed its days of usefulness and basked for months at the village store, had been enticed to the bank of the lake by a couple of Twin Lakes humorists. Here he had been tied while they applied a coat of green paint to his head, touching up the eyes with a few artistic strokes of vermillion. The result is better imagined than described.


A Newfoundland Dog Monster

It was their original intention to create a consternation among the villagers by simply turning the animal loose, but a far more brilliant idea struck one of the wags. It was immediately acted upon, and the luckless dog taken to the bank of the lake. A rope was attached to one of its legs, a big stone fastened to the other end, and the animal anchored far enough out in the water to permit only its head emerging. In this melancholy condition it was left, while one of the jokers gave the alarm. At the time the crowd rushed to see the monster, however, the dog’s frantic efforts had succeeded in breaking the detaining cord and rushed out of the chilling waters. The denouement took place as soon as the gang got back, and the village saloon did a thriving business for the next ten minutes. So ended what bid fair to be the biggest item ever gleaned in the locality.” [Carbonate Chronicle, 9-10-1881, R386]

And thus the first account of the Dog-Serpent of Twin Lakes comes to an end. It becomes a cautionary tale for domestic animals of that region for the lengths Twin Lakers are willing to go for a good gaff. Though people have continued to report sightings of the creature, they are more careful now about who they tell, for fear of enticing the wrath of a far greater beast, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Brennan Ruegg swims only in shallow water.