Mineral Belt Trail

Colorado

Mineral Belt Trail Facts

States: Colorado
Counties: Lake
Length: 11.6 miles
Trail end points: loop through Leadville and Leadville
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6015546
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking, Cross Country Skiing

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Mineral Belt Trail Description

The Mineral Belt Trail does a loop through the historical mining town of Leadville. This paved, high-elevation (10,000+ feet) trail offers spectacular views of the Sawatch and Mosquito mountains, while it loops among conifer forests, aspen groves and meadows. The trail has access to the Leadville National Historic Landmark District and Leadville Mining District. The entire trail is ADA accessible.

The trail occupies the right-of-way of three rail lines that served Leadville at the turn of the 20th century. Interpretive signs and markers along the way chronicle the stories of notable figures who got rich off the mine spoils. You'll also learn about the building of Leadville (a.k.a. "Cloud City").

In winter, the Mineral Belt Trail is groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter biking. Those not up for the making the tour via non-motorized means, a van provides access in September and is a popular sight-seeing excursion for seniors.

Parking and Trail Access

You'll find a dirt parking lot off US 24 west of College Road and another smaller one slightly farther west. You can also park in town where the trail crosses W. 6th St. On street parking is available around 11th St. and near the public library.

Mineral Belt Trail Reviews

We started at the western parking lot and rode clockwise following the mile markers. A steady but slight uphill to the 5 mile marker. A downhill thrill ride all the way down to the parking lot. Beautiful scenery and with lots of information along the way. Almost like riding through an outdoor museum.
Well worth the ride. If you are just passing through Leadville, I would highly recommend taking an hour or so to ride this trail.

We were visiting the area and decided to check out this trail. We parked at the large, gravel parking lot located on Highway 24 just west of College Road (N39.239.50 W106.30437). The parking lot is located at MM0. The trail is about 12 miles long. Trailhead parking is also available at Ice Palace Park and Lake County Recreation Complex.

As others recommended, we cycled in a clockwise direction. Immediately, as flatlanders, we felt the impact of cycling at over 9,000’ elevation. It is uphill until about MM5.5 The first mile or so takes you through a neighborhood and industrial area before continuing up towards the mining areas. There are a number of wonderful interpretive displays along the way if you are interested in getting more information on the history of mining in Leadville. There is a surface tour of the Matchless Mine which is one of the mines that you cycle pass. I believe tours are given at 1 and 3pm in season for a fee. You could time your ride to coincide with a guided tour or check out the place on your own.

At about MM5 and at 10,606’, the trail starts it descent. There are a few more interpretive displays along the way but it is kind of hard to stop when you are enjoying a great downhill.

There are no benches, picnic tables or water along the trail. The trail is asphalt, very wide and was in excellent condition. This is a gorgeous trail and a great way to see the impact of mining on this small town. Highly recommended.

Great ride! Preferred the clockwise loop over counterclockwise but both were great. Not many on the trail midmorning on a Sunday. Amazing views. Worth the drive

Accordion

All the history of the mining belt region of is right there. The path is very smooth asphalt and in very good condition. The views on this trail are simply aswesome as you have views the the two largest peaks in Colorado. We have a second home at Copper Mountain Ski resort and this trail is a must do for me and my family every year.

Rode this one on Saturday, 31 Aug. The trail circles around Leadville passing through the mining district. We entered town from the north and just a block off the main drag through town we found the Ice Palace park. Good parking and right next to the trail. From there we travelled clockwise uphill into the mining district. The trail has many informational signs along the trail telling about the history of the area. For anyone interested in mining or railroading history this is the trail to follow. After about 3.5 miles we reached the summit (10,606 ft) of the trail, started at elevation of about 10,150 ft. Then it was downhill from there for the next 6 miles. The trail wanders through the woods to the low point of the trail. This is where the main trailhead is located, just on the edge of Leadville and can be found on the right when entering town coming from the south (at least that is how it looks on the map). We will certainly revisit this trail, it was very enjoyable.

Biked this trail late August 2012. Had been to Leadville many times and never biked the trail. Can't believe we never did. Loved it. Great surface and so much to see. Thunderstorm approaching so we had to hurry along. Would do it again and stop to read more of the interpretive signs. Riding hybrids.

I took a road trip and brought my bicycle in the back of the truck. This was my favorite town. The bike trail is good. Really good. But the town is absolutely wonderful! I stayed at a hostel in Leadville run by a cool guy named Wild Bill. It was really fun and affordable. I got to meet hikers taking a break from their Continental Divide hike. There was a student staying there. And some people who were doing temporary work in Leadville.
If you live within three hours of here, it is your duty to come to Leadville and check it out. Stay at least one night. You won't regret it.

If you don't plan on doing the whole 11 miles. I would park and start the trail from poverty flats and ride away from town. The views of the mountains are spectacular. The altitude does pose a challenge. Overall one of the better bike rides I've done and would do it again.

"17 June 2007. I rate this as one of the best trails in the country, it is well maintained trail with many historical and nature signs. Riding my Tri-Cruiser, I started at the US Hwy 24 Trail head ,N39.23950 W106.30437 altitude 9980’. It drops to 9,900’ then climbs in the next 5 miles to 10,644’. The next 7 miles are down hill except for one short climb, then through Leadville back to the US 24 Trail Head. It is much easier to stop and read the signs on the way up, on the way down it wears the brake pads if you stop at all the signs. Recommend starting in the morning to avoid showers in the afternoon. "

"July 10, 2005: Great trail but watch out for the altitude! Leadville is over 11,000 ft in elevation and the trail goes up from town. We went clockwise, starting from the East end of town. Long uphill climb without a lot of shade however the ride down from the summit was wonderful – scenic, tree lined and pleasant. Only downside was abysmal trail map. Difficult to read and where posted on ample information boards, never told you where you were. You couldn’t read the maps so you had to guess. The restored mining structures were well documented and the trail took you close to them. A must trail."

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