“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” -Paul Theroux
Leadville, Colorado, situated at 10,152 feet above sea level is the highest incorporated city in the United States. Having once been the second largest city in the state, it retains a larger feel than its 2,600 souls today with many stately buildings still lining the now quiet streets.
Once a lively mining district, the industry has long suffered in this region, which has contributed heavily to the decline of the city. Here and there one can see signs of gentrification occurring with trendy elements such as a bike shop and a few smart cafes popping up, which when mixed with the rough mountain feel of the town and could produce an interesting mixture in the near future.
Surrounded by abundant natural and recreation opportunities, the city is a nature lover’s delight. Miles of hiking and cycling trails criss-cross the region. Colorado’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert at 14,439 and Mt. Massive at 14,429 as well as Independence Pass are within striking distance and numerous campgrounds dot Turquoise Lake, just west of the city.
The city remains affordable as far as Colorado mountain towns go and is still far enough off the beaten path to not be overwhelmed by the influx of tourists and the yuppie vibe that has done so much to tarnish other mountain towns in Colorado.