Colorado Vacations 
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Your Guide to Visiting Colorado with the Kids
Colorado Family Travel in Leadville

Leadville, Colorado may not be the first place families think of when they plan a Colorado Vacation.

Yet, as the highest incorporated city in Colorado, Leadville offers traveling families fantastic scenery, incredible recreational opportunities, and lessons in Colorado mining history that can't be beat.

Photo: Ghosts of old mines still haunt the fabulously rich mining district above Leadville, Colorado

Photo: Boating on Turquoise Lake, near Leadville, Colorado, is a popular recreational activity with families.

Photo: Leadville, Colorado, lies between two massive mountain ranges, in the valley near the headwaters of the Arkansas River. In this view, the Sawatch Range (and Turquoise Lake) are in the background.

With an elevation over 10,000 feet above sea level, Leadville is the highest incorporated municipality in America. This town of nearly 2,700 people is set near the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and is tucked beneath a bend of the Continental Divide.

Peaks soaring over 14,000 feet above sea level surround Leadville, including Mt. Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado. And while the area is rich in scenery and recreational opportunities, it was a different kind of riches that first called large numbers of people to Leadville.

During the geological period when the mountains were being pushed up, solutions of water and dissolved minerals worked their way along breaks in the rocks beneath the surface.  These solutions deposited silver, lead, zinc, and gold in a big way in the mountainside east just of Leadville.

No sooner had gold been hinted at on the Front range than prospectors were swarming the mountains and found color in the rocks in Leadville. The story of the town's huge wealth is told in the hillside riddled with mines, and pockmarked with tailings and creaking old head frames.

Stop in at the chamber of commerce at the north end of town (809 Harrison Avenue) and pick up driving-tour maps for a great expedition into the old mining district. It’s kind of spooky, wandering around spots where folks like the Guggenheims made their cash. It’s all so quiet and dead now. And the mineshafts that honeycomb the hills are still collapsing in upon themselves, so it can be dangerous if you don’t stay on the road.

But it is a great experience for kids and helps them get a hands-on education about geology, history, economics, and altitude.

Related Links:

A Quick History of Leadville