The Mineral Belt Trail, Leadville, Colorado
Photos by Howard A. Tritz & Mike Conlin
The Mineral Belt Trail, one of Colorado's newest, highest and most spectacular paved pathways. Dedicated on July 29, 2000, this trail loops the city of Leadville, traveling through aspen groves, conifer forests, wildflower meadows, and open vista sage parks. It was designated as a National Recreation Trail in June, 2002. It includes sections of rails to trails from old mining railroad lilnes as well as an open-air museum of mining history along the route.
The Mineral Belt Trail is a 12.5-mile all-season non-motorized wheelchair-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 is designed for bicycles, walkers, wheelchairs, strollers and in-line skaters. Wintertime enthusiasts will find the trail snowcat-groomed, affording freestyle and classic Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and winter biking.
"What makes this trail unique is that it goes through one of the greatest mining districts in the world," says Lake County Assessor Howard A. Tritz, an original member of the group which spearheaded trail development. "It has some of the best scenery anywhere, and it's accessible and available to everyone, visitors and locals alike, regardless of age or ability."
"Ideas for the trail ranged from mining tours to a bobsled run to an aquarium that would display fish living in water originating from California Gulch, Tritz recalls. "Residents chose the idea they liked best, which was the multi-purpose trail. So this project is really the will of the people in action."
The Mineral Belt Trail Guide is available for $2 including postage & handling from LeadvilleUSA.com or from the Leadville/Lake County Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 861, Leadville, CO 80461 — (719) 486-3900 or (800) 933-3901; E-mail: leadville@LeadvilleUSA.com.
Several annual trail events are held on the Mineral Belt:
Enter the annual Photo Contest for National Recreation Trails
The NTTP Online Calendar connects you with courses, conferences, and trail-related training
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Updated July 6, 2012