Leadville Colorado: Elevation 10.152 feet above sea leave makes this town the highest elevated incorporated city in the United States. And even better it is small, yet CHARMING! It has less than 3,000 residence. The town is walkable, with adorable shops and quirky businesses. Along with being a solid sports meca, Leadville 100 ring a bell? It is everything a town should be and more. It really could be the pot of gold.
Leadville’s history is thick, rich, haunted and the ultimate comeback. Back in 1859 Leadville, formerly known as Silver City, was founded. It was first settled during the gold rush when placer gold was found in the waters. However, the placer gold frenzy that lead this town to boom to 5,000 people in 1 year, It was a challenge to mine placer gold and not worth the work. It was really the finding in 1867 of silver that skyrocketed the town to wealth and in population. At Leadville’s peak in 1882, Leadville is estimated to have over 50,000 residents, but you would never know it now days.
Leadville, like all other mine towns, fell. Although there were some mines still running, the population shrunk. And it was a little known town, not making any headlines for so long. Then one of the major mines closed and it sent the town into a spiral. Crime was up, mostly petty theft and domestic violence. But, being the rugged folks they are they had an advantage, location and the vast wilderness.
Enter the Ultramrathon. What is “an Ultra” as it is called in the running world? It is a 100 mile running race though the hardest conditions you can imagine. Leadville took it on and it has attracted not only extreme runners, but bikers too. It is the “goal” for an ultramathoner to run at the Leadville 100 and not only to run, but to survive. Leadville had embraced this with a fantastic and safe trails. The Mineral Belt Trail is a nearly 12 mile, fully paved wide trail that winds though the old mining epicenter. You ride along wildlife, collapsed mines and pines. It only crosses the road a few times and is mostly in the woods in the most perfect scenery in the world. Take a walk, ride your bike, work on speed drills, run the trail, push a stroller- it doesn’t matter! It is wide and welcoming to all.
Because we are always looking for small towns with a pool (super hard to find) Leadville may reign top when you consider it is a town of only 3,000 people, at least 25 minutes form the nearest town and has an actual pool, with lap lanes and all. The only drawback is the pool is HOT! Unfortunately that makes it extremely hard to actually train in the pool. The elevation of Leadville makes the oxygen levels lower and thus elevation sickness a real thing. When you add heat to it and extreme exercise, it is just not safe. It would really be the sports heaven if they go their lap pool to a safe and trainable temperature. But, the fact that they have a pool is potential!
Another awesome thing about Leadville is the little hidden untouched gems that still exist as you scroll through town. I doubt these will last long, especially with the gem being uncovered. But for now, you can find these untouched moments in time.