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Featured National Recreation Trail

The Mineral Belt Trail, Leadville, Colorado

Spectacular scenery awaits on this paved pathway in Colorado's high country.
Another article describes the trail's development.
See more photos of the trail...

Photos by Howard A. Tritz & Mike Conlin

Colorado Map

The Mineral Belt Trail, one of Colorado's newest, highest and most spectacular paved pathways. 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. It was designated as a National Recreation Trail in June, 2002. It includes sections of rails to trails from old mining railroad lilnes as well as an open-air museum of mining history along the route.

photo of bikers and bladers
Biking and skating are favorite activities.

The Mineral Belt Trail is a 12.5-mile all-season non-motorized wheelchair-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. The trail is designed for bicycles, walkers, wheelchairs, strollers and in-line skaters. Wintertime enthusiasts will find the trail snowcat-groomed, affording freestyle and classic Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and winter biking.

"What makes this trail unique is that it goes through one of the greatest mining districts in the world," says Lake County Assessor Howard A. Tritz, an original member of the group which spearheaded trail development. "It has some of the best scenery anywhere, and it's accessible and available to everyone, visitors and locals alike, regardless of age or ability."

"Ideas for the trail ranged from mining tours to a bobsled run to an aquarium that would display fish living in water originating from California Gulch, Tritz recalls. "Residents chose the idea they liked best, which was the multi-purpose trail. So this project is really the will of the people in action."

photo of log crib walls
Evidence of the Leadville area's historic mining activity.

The Mineral Belt Trail Guide is available for $2 including postage & handling from LeadvilleUSA.com or from the Leadville/Lake County Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 861, Leadville, CO 80461 — (719) 486-3900 or (800) 933-3901; E-mail: leadville@LeadvilleUSA.com.

Several annual trail events are held on the Mineral Belt:

  • MarchThe Mineral Belt 10KM Freestyle Nordic Tour. Hosted by the Colorado Mountain College Ski Area Operations School, "All Proceeds Benefit the Mineral Belt —Cross Country Trail System. Contact: (719) 486-4228 or sao@coloradomtn.edu.
  • JuneMineral Belt Trail Day: Family day on the trail; ride/walk and picnic this 12.5 mile trail around Leadville and through Historic Mining District. For more information contact 800-933-3901.
  • September 14Leadville BikeToberfest is a bicycle event to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Colorado Chapter

See more photos of the trail...

The National Recreation Trails Program
American Trails, P.O. Box 491797, Redding, CA 96049-1797 (530) 547-2060 Fax: (530) 547-2035 nrt@americantrails.org www.AmericanTrails.org

Enter the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails

Photo of smiling bicyclist
Great Allegheny Passage (photo by Mary Shaw)

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