On Saturday January 18, the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) and Leadville Historian Loretta McEllhiney, will host a guided cross-country ski tour along Leadville’s Mineral Belt Trail. The program will start at the trailhead beginning at 10 a.m. and is expected to last an hour and a half to two hours.

Participants will ski the east side of the loop, including the historical mining district where the trail is fairly flat and very scenic. This paved, high-elevation (10,000+ feet) trail has views that overlook the Sawatch and Mosquito mountains as it journeys among pine and aspen trees.

The guided tour will be just over 3 miles round trip, with historical talks along the way. The Trail helps to chronicle the rags to riches stories of notable figures from Colorado’s history: Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, Meyer Guggenheim, Charles Boettcher, David May, Father John Dyer, (Colorado’s “Snowshoe Itinerant”,) and the “Unsinkable Molly Brown”.

The Trail also helps tell the story of the building of the “Cloud City,” whose ornate Victorian architecture once housed the entrepreneurs, gamblers, miners, outlaws and “ladies of the evening” of Colorado lore.

Leadville Historian Loretta McEllhiney earned degrees in Kinesiology & Nutrition from Kansas State University. In 1989 she joined the U.S .Forest Service and moved to Leadville, where she has put her passion for public lands to work managing the Colorado Fourteeners Program. Since 1998, Loretta has been a member of the Mineral Belt Trail Committee and has gained a boundless appreciation for the rich history of her beloved hometown.

Participants can continue further on their own or return with the group. Cross-country ski rentals are available in Salida at Salida Mountain Sports. This program is recommended for participants over 8 years old and dogs are not allowed.

The cost of the guided cross-country ski tour is $5 for GARNA members and $10 for non-members.

Those looking to register have been encouraged by GARNA to contact Hillary Fuller by calling (719) 539-5106 or by emailing info@garna.org. Registrants can also visit the following link: https://garna.org/calendar/cross-country-skiing-on-the-mineral-belt-trail/