CELEBRATE INDEPENDENCE DAY IN LEADVILLE
parade, a free ice cream social and cookout, and a 5K are just a few of
the reasons to head to Leadville on Friday, July 4, when this authentic
mountain town hosts its annual Independence Day celebration. Known for its Old
West heritage, beautiful mountain scenery, affordability and outdoor
recreation, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America. With
average high temperatures in the mid-70s this time of year, it’s the perfect
place to escape the summer heat and explore one of Colorado’s most historic
The Lake County Regional Airport, North America’s highest-elevation airport, is celebrating with an aircraft display and free cookout, including hot dogs and hamburgers, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors, whether they fly or drive to the airport, can enter to win an iPad Mini during the event.
There are lots of options for enjoying the afternoon and the long weekend. The streets of downtown Leadville are lined with restaurants, museums, antique stores and specialty shops filled with books, outdoor wear and gear, art, gifts, souvenirs and clothing.
At 7:30 p.m., the Legacy Quartet is performing at the historic Tabor Opera House. Tickets are $15 per person, or $25 per family, and are available at www.taboroperahouse.net. The concert ends in time for guests to head outside to enjoy the Tony Hren Memorial Fireworks Display, sponsored by the Leadville Lions Club, which begins at dusk. The best place to view the fireworks is at the Lake County High School football field on West 4th Street.
On Sat., July 5, shoppers will find treasures and trinkets from antique collectors, artisans and peddlers at the third annual Ye Olde Flea Market starting at 9:30 a.m. The flea market will be held at the Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin at 912 Harrison Ave., nestled on the lawn between the historic buildings and gardens. The Healy House is also hosting a Meet the Authors event with five local authors: Margaret Evans, “Behind the Mist;” Darlene Weir, “Leadville’s Ice Palace;” Nancy Oswald, “Nothing Here But Stones;” Vera Dawson, “Cookies in the Clouds” and Gretchen Scanlon, “A History of Leadville Theatre.”
That evening, Chris Collins is performing a tribute to John Denver at the Historic Tabor Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available at www.taboroperahouse.net.
Summertime visitors to Leadville and Twin Lakes can choose from a long list of budget-friendly activities and attractions that highlight the area’s history, location and surroundings.
The Leadville Museum Passport provides admission to seven museums, which are open on July 4, plus discounts at museum gifts shops and on tickets for the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad. The Heritage Museum, the Tabor Home, the Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin, the Tabor Opera House, the Matchless Mine, the Temple Israel Synagogue and Museum and the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum are included in the passport. The passports are available at the Leadville Lake County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Avenue, all seven of the participating museums and at the train depot.
A self-guided walking tour takes visitors through highlights of the 70-square-block National Historic District of Victorian Architecture, including the largest opera house west of the Mississippi, the saloon visited by Oscar Wilde and two historic 1879 churches. The paved Mineral Belt Trail loops the city for an 11.6-mile hike or bike ride packed with historic sites and mountain scenery. Guided tours of the Evergreen Cemetery, mining district, local museums and downtown Leadville are also available.
Just outside of town, the scenic and tranquil Turquoise Lake and Mount Massive Golf Course — North America’s highest course — provide options for high-altitude recreation. A few minutes south on US Highway 24, the Leadville National Fish Hatchery offers free hatchery tours, a one-mile family-friendly hike on the Evergreen Lake Nature Trail and trailheads for three trails that access the Colorado Trail. Visitors to Twin Lakes can enjoy lunch, take a hike, cast a line on the shore of the state’s largest glacial lake and stroll through the historic 1880s village. A 102-mile stretch of the Arkansas River, which has its headwaters in and runs through Lake County, has recently achieved Gold Medal status; that means it’s one of the best trout-fishing spots in the country.
Conveniently located in the geographic center of Colorado, Leadville is just 103 miles west of Denver and 129 miles northwest of Colorado Springs, on US Highway 24, part of the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway. Lodging options include B&Bs, inns, an 1880s Victorian hotel, cabins, lodges, vacation rentals and modern motels. Information about lodging, shopping and dining in Lake County can be found at http://www.visitleadvillecolorado.com or by calling call 855-488-1222.