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After a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, summer’s biggest events have returned to Leadville, Colo., and its close neighbor Twin Lakes. Both mountain towns sit at the heart of Colorado, 34 miles north of Buena Vista and 100 miles west of Denver, surrounded by the state’s highest peaks and stunning glacial lakes.

The setting offers world-class outdoor recreation, charming downtown storefronts and eateries, attractions showcasing the area’s mining history, and friendly locals. There are at least five reasons to leave the house, avoid the crowds, and experience summer fun and genuine mountain culture at the Top of the Rockies:

1. Experience Mining Heritage at Leadville Boom Days
Leadville Boom Days, August 5-7, is a three-day celebration of this mining town’s 1880s silver rush heritage. The festival celebrates the Old West with burro races, contests of mining skill, a parade, car show, and a street fair with over 100 food and craft booths. This festival was canceled for two years due to COVID, and 2022 is the first year it’s back. Free admission.

2. Celebrate the Tabor’s Comeback Season
The historic Tabor Opera House, built in 1879, is bringing events back after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus. The Tabor is offering four great shows this summer. Season tickets are available for $100.

  • Songwriters in the Round: An Intimate Music Experience
    Saturday, June 4, 2022, Show at 7:00 p.m.
    Enjoy an evening of intimate storytelling through jazz, soul, R&B, blues, bossa nova, folk, African music, and more from the Gasoline Lollipops (Berthoud), Ned Warner (Leadville), and Judah Arrington (Buena Vista).
    A Songwriters Circle Workshop will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Ghosts of the Tabor: A Performance Treasure Hunt
    Friday, July 8 and Saturday, July 9, 2022, Show at 7:00 p.m.
    Discover hidden and under-explored pockets of Tabor Opera House in this immersive performance from LuneAseas (Fort Collins) in collaboration with a Leadville cast of performers, docents, and volunteers
  • Tabor Summer Celebración Street Festival and Show
    Sunday, July 31, 2022; 12:00 noon – Street Festival; 2:00 p.m. – Show at the Tabor
    Celebrate a fun family afternoon festival with music, food, and art. Dance to Los Mocochetes (Denver), Adolfo Romero and Parallel Artístic (Denver) and Leadville’s own Bicicasa Basement Boys.
  • Rooted in the Blues – A Double Header
    Saturday, August 27, 2022, Show at 7:00 p.m.
    Dance the night away with roots rock from internationally renowned native American musician Cary Morin and Ghost Dog (Fort Collins) and an eclectic blend of jazz, R&B, blues and more from returning Tabor favorite Hazel Miller and the Collective (Denver).

3. Celebrate July 4th with Mountain-Town Charm
Celebrate the 4th of July in North America’s highest incorporated city. Kick off the morning at the Firecracker 5k fun run at 8:30 a.m. Afterwards, enjoy a parade through Leadville’s historic downtown at 12:00 noon. Weather conditions permitting, fireworks will light up the majestic mountain town’s sky.

During the day, explore historic downtown Leadville and Twin Lakes Village or paddle or boat at Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lake. Pick up lunch in town for a picnic. Hiking, biking or e-biking, fishing, OHV, golfing and ziplining are among the many outdoor activities available for a Fourth with old-fashioned fun.

Finish your holiday weekend at FREIGHT, a renovated train depot, for some great music from Birds of Play from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

4. Get A Passport to Leadville History
Stop by the Leadville/Lake County Visitor Center at 809 Harrison Avenue in Leadville to pick up a Leadville History Passport, then visit eight local museums showcasing the town’s rich mining history. After you get your passport stamped, return it to the Visitor’s Center to receive a local prize. Museums include:

  • Heritage Museum
  • Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin
  • House with the Eye
  • Matchless Mine
  • National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Tabor Home
  • Tabor Opera House
  • Temple Israel Synagogue and Museum

5. Push Yourself to New Heights
Leadville’s “Race Across The Sky” 100-mile run and 100-mile mountain bike races are among the town’s legendary events. Limits are tested over 100 miles of extreme Colorado Rockies terrain from elevations of 9,200 to 12,600 feet. It is a truly memorable experience for racers and spectators alike.

While this year’s 100-mile races are full, you can join the spectator fun cheering on the athletes. Spots remain for the Silver Rush 15-mile Mountain Bike and Run. Make lodging reservations well in advance if you visit during race weekends, as many people will be visiting.

Preserving the Fragile Top of the Rockies Environment

No matter when you visit the Leadville and Twin Lakes area, help preserve its majestic natural beauty and follow these sustainable travel tips:

  • Check the fire ban status in Lake County for Leadville and Twin Lakes.
  • Take the Adventure By Nature Pledge to show your dedication to responsible visitation.

Featured Image: Leadville Boom Days Burro Race by Diana Lange.