The breathtaking natural beauty of Colorado's largest glacial lakes, reflecting some of the nation's highest peaks, makes Twin Lakes one of the world's most scenic places. A fifteen-minute drive from Leadville, or hour-long journey over Independence Pass from Aspen, will take travelers to a peaceful world of pristine mountain landscapes.
The Historic Village of Twin Lakes, once busy as a mountain transportation hub between Aspen and Leadville during the gold rush days, was described in 1885 as "the most charming summer mountain resort in Colorado." Very little has changed in Twin Lakes since then.
The Red Rooster Tavern and Brothel is now home to the Twin Lakes Visitors Center. The general store, hotel, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, and vacation homes of the early miners are part of the National Historic Register. The year-round population is less than 50, but travelers will find hotels, lodges, cafés, gift shops, kayak and canoe rentals, boat tours, and art galleries all within a short walking distance. The world-famous Interlaken Hotel, popular in the 1880s, can be accessed by trail or boat and is a fascinating trip back in time.
Twin Lakes is a hiker's and cross-country skiers' dream; the Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, a spectacular 12-mile trail around the lake, the Mount Elbert Trailhead (14,433') and numerous local trails are all centered from the Village. The Twin Lakes Visitor’s Center staff can direct hikers to the trailheads.
There are five National Forest Service campgrounds in the Twin Lakes area: Dexter, Lakeview, Parry Peak, Twin Peaks and White Star. Campsites at Dexter, Parry Peak and Twin Peaks Campgrounds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Lakeview and White Star Campgrounds have a combination of reservable and non-reservable sites.
The lakes, formed by glacial activity, were enlarged to provide water storage for urban areas along Colorado’s Front Range. Twin Lakes covers 1,700 surface acres and has a maximum depth of 70 feet. Boat tours, kayak and canoe rentals are available.
You will find the central location of Twin Lakes makes it an ideal place to stay while taking day trips to Aspen, Leadville and Buena Vista. Surrounded by undeveloped public lands, every day in Twin Lakes can be a new experience. Ghost towns, lake and stream fishing, hidden beaver ponds, bagging Fourteeners, snowshoeing, touring historic mines, wildlife viewing, summer snow sliding, canoeing and windsurfing are just a few of the activities that make Twin Lakes one of Colorado's best-kept secrets.