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Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District
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Leadville Ranger District


Area Map

Turquoise Lake Recreation Area- Turquoise Lake, west of Leadville, covers 1,800 surface acres. Primary recreation activities include camping and fishing.
Twin Lakes Recreation Area- Nestled below Independence Pass, the Twin Lakes area offers spectacular mountain scenery and some excellent outdoor recreation opportunities.

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General Information

Turquoise Lake from Belle of Colorado Campground
Copyright: Zander Higbie - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Turquoise Lake from Belle of Colorado Campground
Description - For the history buff, the Tennessee Pass area and Ski Cooper in the northern section of the district were used as a training ground for the 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army during World War II. The town of Leadville also held national significance during the silver mining boom years of 1875 through 1890.

Other attractions for outdoor enthusiasts include two recreation areas centered upon reservoirs. Twin Lakes and Turquoise Lake Reservoirs provide access to water-centered activities including boating and fishing. The terrain surrounding these lakes has been developed by the forest service to include hundreds of miles of trails and four-wheel drive roads.

Recreation - The Leadville Ranger District provides access to a variety of recreation opportunities. The mountainous terrain allows for fishing, hiking, biking, backpacking, horseback riding as well as other activities. Two recreation areas focusing on reservoirs in the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project provide access to water sports and boating. The varied terrain allows for challenging routes to satisfy the beginner and the expert.

Climate - The climate is relatively cool and precipitation happens often, especially during the summer months. The humidity is very low especially in higher elevations, so drink more water than normal. Its easy to become dehydrated when your active so be sure to carry water. Thunderstorms happen nearly every afternoon in July and August. If you're planning to hike or drive to a summit above 11,000 feet begin your trip in the early morning. Starting early will bring you down from a high, unprotected place before thunderheads start forming and lightning strikes.

Location - The Leadville Ranger District (RD) is located in the region surrounding the townsite of Leadville. The districts boundaries are defined to the north and west by the Continental Divide. The southern boundary of this area is Buena Vista and the eastern border is the Park County line. The Leadville RD contains parts of the Collegiate Peaks, Mt. Massive and Holy Cross Wilderness Areas.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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More Information

Contact Information:
Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928

Additional Information:
Buena Vista Area - Founded in 1879 this silver-mining boom town is one of few communities in the region to survive and grow in the 20th century. Today Buena Vista attracts recreationists during every season of the year.
Leadville Area - Leadville began as a silver, gold and lead mining town in 1878. It boomed in the early 1880s, when many people became wealthy from the mining investments they made in the vicinity. The true bust of Leadville's mining days came in 1893 when the silver market crashed due to the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act.

Today Leadville's popularity grows with outdoor enthusiasts. The challenging terrain surrounding the mining center beckons hikers, bikers, runners, horseback riders, and cross-country and downhill skiers. Those who come to the area are rewarded with scenic vistas and unending recreation opportunities.
Pike and San Isabel National Forests - The Pike San Isabel National Forest is an administrative compact between the two forests southeast of the Continental Divide in Colorado.
San Isabel National Forest - The San Isabel National Forest consists of over one million acres of mountains, rivers, canyons and meadows. The forest is bounded on the west and north by the Continental Divide and on the east by the Pike National Forest.
Twin Lakes Area - The small community of Twin Lakes lies at the eastern foot of Independence Pass. First established in the mid-Nineteenth Century the town grew to be a center of transportation between Aspen and Leadville. Today it's a recreationists haven during the summer months, that grows quiet during the winter.

Links:
Current Fire Conditions - The current fire conditions in the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.
Pike, San Isabel National Forests and Cimarron, Comanche National Grasslands - The official agency website.

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