Leadville Ranger District

Area Status: Open
Fall Colors on the mountain side

The Leadville Ranger District is home to the Sawatch Range, the highest mountain range in Colorado. These rugged, glaciated mountains form the crest of the Continental Divide. Mount Elbert, at 14,443 feet, is Colorado's highest peak and one of ten "fourteeners" located on the district.

Leadville was once a booming mining town during the Colorado gold rush and competed with Denver to be the capitol city of Colorado. At 10,152 feet, it is the highest incorporated city in the United States. Leadville is a rustic mountain town rich in mining history and unsurpassed natural beauty.

Large, developed campgrounds and picnic areas at Turquoise Lake Recreation Area and Twin Lakes Reservoir provide abundant recreation opportunities. Fishing, boating, and hiking are popular summertime activities. Because of the district's high altitude, late spring snows occasionally delay the opening of some facilities.

At 12,095 feet, Independence Pass is one of the highest paved mountain passes in the United States. It is here the Top of the Rockies National Scenic and Historic Byway crosses the Continental Divide offering motorists breathtaking views of the Rockies and a close look at its rugged alpine tundra habitat. It is also here the Arkansas River begins its long journey to the Gulf of Mexico. There are many opportunities to drive on four-wheel drive roads on the Leadville Ranger District, but OHVs must be registered. See OHV registration Information for the Leadville Ranger District to see how you can register your OHV.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays.
Reservations: Visit recreation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777 for campground reservations. Campground reservations cannot be made from this office. 
Permit Info: Special use permits are required for groups of 75 or more persons and all commercial activities including outfitting and guiding. 
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Busiest Season: June-September
Closest Towns: Leadville, CO
Water: Water fountain in the lobby of district office.
Restroom: Accessible restrooms available at district office.
Passes: America the Beautiful Federal Recreational Lands Passes
Operated By: U. S. Forest Service
Information Center: 810 Front Street
Leadville, CO - 80461
Phone: 719-486-0749

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Biking

Areas for Mountain Biking at Leadville Ranger District

Day Hiking

Areas for Day Hiking at Leadville Ranger District


Areas for Backpacking at Leadville Ranger District

Scenic Driving

Areas for Scenic Driving at Leadville Ranger District

Boating - Motorized

Areas for Boating - Motorized at Leadville Ranger District

Boating - Non-Motorized

Areas for Boating - Non-Motorized at Leadville Ranger District


Areas for Skiing/Snowboarding at Leadville Ranger District


XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Areas for XC Skiing/Snowshoeing at Leadville Ranger District


Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude :