5 Must-See Leadville Day Trips
by Leah Elkins, Outdoor Recreation Leadership student
- Turquoise Lake
Just a couple miles outside of Leadville, this treasured high-altitude lake offers campgrounds and recreational fun on all fronts. Check it out to escape the summer heat, relax on the beach, go boating, fishing, biking – you name it! Even in the winter, when the lake freezes over, fat biking and snowmobiling around the lake are always options. Just be careful walking on the frozen ice…speaking from experience!
- Grottos Trail
If you’re willing to drive a bit farther out of town, head about 1 hour down the road to the Grottos Trail near Aspen. Check out the ice caves, river, waterfall, and beautiful rock faces of this unique mountain spot. There’s a parking lot and a restroom facility at the trailhead – bring the whole family!
- Ball Mountain
Just east of Leadville is the dirt road-accessible Ball Mountain, with some hefty terrain and unparalleled views. Do your research beforehand – know the layout of the roads and make sure your vehicle can handle a bumpy ride through gorgeous hills and trees. Keep an eye out for wildlife! Try to catch a sunset there. Imagine the silhouette of the western mountains hitting all the curves of the land with that last-hour golden mist. No picture can speak as loudly as that view.
- White River National Forest
Camp Hale is a beautiful drive down Highway 24 and offers group activities like jeep/ATV tours through the White River National Forest. While it’s always a fun idea to go on a guided tour, the National Forest is free to all who wish to drive or hike around themselves. The trailhead near where the Colorado Trail cuts through the forest is accessible by car and leads to a quick 5-minute walk uphill to a gorgeous waterfall. Drive slowly and soak up the scenery!
Colorado Mountain College
With 200+ acres of trails in our backyard, CMC has plenty to boast about. Take some bikes out, go on a mild day-hike with the family, or play a round of disc golf on our scenic 18-hole campus disc golf course. In the winter, our students groom the trails to allow for cross-country skiing, fat tire biking, and of course, hiking. Dogs are always welcome, but be sure to pick-up after them!