Trailhead Location: Leadville, Colorado
Trail Length: 11.6 miles
With Memorial Weekend past and summer upon us, it’s time to get back up into the High Country for some summer outings. There are many great bike paths in the mountains, including the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville. We biked this trail a couple of years ago in June. The trail is a fairly easy paved trail with spectacular views!
The trail loops the city of Leadville, traveling through aspen groves, conifer forests, wildflower meadows, and open vista sage parks. The Mineral Belt Trail is a 11.6 mile all-season non-motorized ADA accessible route with numerous trailheads and access points. Approximately six miles of this trail meanders through the historic Leadville Mining District. It offers unsurpassed views of the Sawatch and Mosquito ranges. The trail starts out at 9,974’.
A map of the complete loop:
Here we are at about 2.5 miles up the trail. We were heading out of town with great views of the mountains.
At about mile 3.5, we came to the Turquoise Lake Overlook.
More great views as we continued up the trail.
Close to the 4 mile mark, we passed by many of the mining ruins along the trail.
Leadville was a major Mining District around the turn of the century. The trail cuts through the heart of the mineral belt that earned Leadville the moniker of “Colorado’s Silver City”.
Just past the 4-mile mark, the trail passes through the Greenback Crib Wall. In early September of 1899, the D&RG Graham Park Branch railroad was being laid in a southerly direction into Graham Park, approaching the Mahala and Wolftone mines, which would require crossing the existing C&S Mineral Belt Line. The D&RG built an overhead crossing between the Greenback and Mahala mines. The Mineral Belt Trail passes between the crib walls erected to facilitate the segregated grade crossing.
Continuing on up past the crib walls.
The trail tops out at around 5 ¼ miles at 10,653’ with beautiful views of the Sawatch Range.
From here the trail heads down, winding through scenic forest and great views.
I think it’s time to go back and do this ride again!