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Rolling terrain, scenic history

Christine Ina Casillas
The 13-mile loop of the Mineral Belt Trail is home to a variety of sports during the summer and winter months. For the cyclists and mountain bikers, the trail gives riders an opportunity to explore the trail all year long.
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Lake County has vast trails that are perfect for nordic skiers. The following is a list of trails, some popular, some not so popular, for those ready to strap into those skis and stretch those legs.

One of those trails that has grown in popularity over the years is the Mineral Belt Trail.

“The best part about the Mineral Belt Trail is the scenery and that it’s paved,” said Leadville resident Sherry Robinson. “It has a gentle grade, and I can access it a block and a half from my house.”



Leadville’s vibrant mining history is highlighted on this scenic 13-mile loop. Six miles of this trail meanders through the historic Leadville Mining District, offering unsurpassed views of the Sawatch and Mosquito ranges. The trail also serves as a lab for Colorado Mountain College students learning to groom trails. As a result, grooming may be intermittent during Christmas break. Trailheads are located throughout the town. The trail is easily accessed at the Lake County Public Library (1115 Harrison Avenue) or East 5th Street and East 6th Street.

Winter enthusiasts will find the trail snowcat-groomed, giving them the opportunity to freestyle and Nordic ski, snowshoe and winter bike.



CMC students start grooming in January, and that’s when the trails provide the opportunity to skate ski, depending on the conditions, Robinson said.

“I like to go first thing in the morning, but it’s better to wait until it warms up a titch,” Robinson said. “It can get pretty cold.”

The Mineral Belt Trail’s alignment parallels California Gulch, the site of Leadville’s first gold strike and earliest settlement. It cuts through the heart of the mineral belt that earned Leadville the moniker of “Colorado’s Silver City.” The trail traverses Fryer, Fairview, Carbonate, Iron and Rock Hills, where miners carved from the brutal mountainsides.



Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado CO


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