Leadville lies seventy-five miles west-southwest of Denver. The Greater Leadville Area Chamber of Commerce has a good Web site, with information on historic sights as well as lodging, dining, and upcoming events. Contact them at
If you visit Leadville, take the time to drive around the Mining District on East Fifth and Seventh Streets. Away from the hurry of summer or winter activities rest remnants of the hard-rock silver mines. This is a landscape rarely seen in the United States. Respect private property signs, and leave all historical sites as you find them. Rather than drive, try snowshoeing or bicycling (depending upon the season) along the Mineral Belt Trail, which takes you through the city and the Mining District.
Follow Toledo Avenue south and you are quickly delivered into the California Gulch of Abe Lee. While the wooden cabins, constant din of shovels, and voices have long since vanished, the imprint of the miners remains. Stacked like a child’s Lincoln Logs, reinforcing wooden cribbing holds firm against the straining hillside. Headframes rise above the trees, stark monuments to those who died beneath. History lies deep upon these hills, and if the landscape is perhaps not aesthetically pleasing, it is surely a reminder of the perseverance of human nature. And with shoots of new grass glowing green amid the rock piles, it is a reminder of the persistence of nature itself.