Lake County, Colorado: Attractions, History, and More


Lake County, Colorado, spans an area of 384 square miles and has a population of approximately 7,700 residents. This high-altitude county is home to the two highest peaks in Colorado, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, both towering over 14,000 feet.


  • Lake County is located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies and is known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • The county has a rich mining history, with Leadville serving as a major silver mining hub in the late 19th century.
  • Today, tourism and outdoor recreation are significant drivers of the local economy, alongside mining and other industries.

Lake County, Colorado, situated in central Colorado, boasts Leadville as its county seat. Leadville proudly holds the title of the highest incorporated city in the United States, perched at a striking elevation of around 10,152 feet above sea level. Revered for its prime location in the Rocky Mountains and enveloped by majestic peaks, Lake County serves as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities such as hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. Just a scenic 100-mile drive southwest of Denver, the region is celebrated for its historical significance in mining and its breathtaking alpine landscapes.

Natural Attractions and Outdoor Activities

The Majesty of the Mountains

  • Mount Elbert, standing at 14,439 feet, is the highest peak in Colorado and the second-highest in the contiguous United States.
  • Mount Massive, at 14,421 feet, is the second-highest peak in Colorado and offers challenging hiking and climbing opportunities.
  • Numerous hiking, climbing, and biking trails crisscross the county, providing access to breathtaking mountain vistas and alpine landscapes.

Water Wonders

  • Twin Lakes, a pair of glacial lakes nestled at the base of Mount Elbert, offers fishing, boating, and water sports activities.
  • Turquoise Lake, named for its striking blue-green color, is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking.

Lake County History: Landmarks and Museums

Mining Heritage

  • Leadville, the county seat, was once a booming silver mining town, and its mining history is still showcased through museums and tours.
  • The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville offers exhibits on the history of mining and the individuals who shaped the industry.

Architectural Marvels

  • Lake County is home to several historic buildings and districts, including the Leadville Historic District, which features well-preserved Victorian-era architecture.
  • The Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin in Leadville offer a glimpse into the lives of wealthy mining families and the area's early settlers.

Arts, Culture, and Events

Cultural Institutions

  • The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad offers scenic train rides through the mountains, showcasing the area's mining and railroad history.
  • The Tabor Opera House, built in 1879, hosts concerts, theater performances, and other cultural events

Annual Events and Celebrations

  • The Leadville Race Series, which includes the Leadville Trail 100 ultramarathon and mountain bike race, attracts athletes from around the world.
  • Boom Days, held each August, celebrates Leadville's mining heritage with parades, reenactments, and other festivities.

Dining and Culinary Scene

Local Eateries and Cuisine

  • Leadville and the surrounding areas offer a variety of restaurants and cafes, serving everything from classic American fare to international cuisines.
  • Many local establishments feature hearty, mountain-inspired dishes that cater to the appetites of outdoor enthusiasts.

Breweries and Distilleries

  • The county is home to several craft breweries and distilleries offering locally-made beers, spirits, and tasting room experiences.
  • Periodic Brewing in Leadville crafts a range of beers inspired by the area's mining history and outdoor adventures.

Accommodations and Lodging

Hotels and Inns

  • Lake County offers a range of accommodations to suit various budgets and preferences, from historic hotels to modern lodges.
  • The Delaware Hotel in Leadville, built in 1886, provides a unique stay in a beautifully restored Victorian-era building.

Camping and Outdoor Lodging

  • Numerous campgrounds and RV parks are available throughout the county, offering easy access to hiking trails and outdoor activities.
  • For a more rustic experience, visitors can stay in wilderness cabins or yurts, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Shopping and Local Businesses

Retail and Shopping Areas

  • Leadville's historic downtown district features a variety of boutiques, specialty shops, and galleries showcasing local artisans and crafts.
  • Outdoor gear stores provide equipment and supplies for hiking, camping, fishing, and other activities.

Services and Amenities

  • Lake County offers a range of services for visitors, including grocery stores, gas stations, and medical facilities.
  • The Lake County Public Library in Leadville provides resources and programs for both residents and visitors.

Community and Lifestyle

Education and Institutions

  • Lake County School District serves students from pre-kindergarten through high school, with schools located in Leadville.
  • Colorado Mountain College has a campus in Leadville, offering associate degrees and certificate programs.

Health and Wellness

  • St. Vincent Health, located in Leadville, provides medical care and emergency services for the county.
  • The Lake County Recreation Department offers fitness classes, sports leagues, and wellness programs for residents and visitors.


What is the highest peak in Lake County, and can visitors climb it?

Mount Elbert, at 14,439 feet, is the highest peak in Lake County and Colorado. While challenging, it can be climbed by experienced hikers with proper preparation and equipment.

Can you provide information on fishing licenses for Lake County’s lakes?

Fishing licenses are required for anyone 16 years or older fishing in Colorado’s waters, including Lake County’s lakes and streams. Licenses can be purchased online through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website or at local retailers.

What are some of the most notable historical landmarks in Lake County?

Some of the most notable historical landmarks in Lake County include the Leadville Historic District, the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Healy House Museum and Dexter Cabin.

Where can visitors find information on local events and festivals in Lake County?

Visitors can find information on local events and festivals through the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce website, the Herald Democrat newspaper, and local event calendars.

What types of accommodations are available in Lake County for different budgets?

Lake County offers a range of accommodations for different budgets, from historic hotels and modern lodges to campgrounds, RV parks, and wilderness cabins. Visitors can find options to suit their preferences and price points.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.