Over the Labor Day weekend my girlfriend and I decided to take a trip up to Leadville for a bit of hiking and fishing. The drive up on Sunday wasn’t too bad. Most mountain travelers seem to prefer the winter ski season or the warmer summer months. Leadville itself is a pretty standard mountain town. There’s a single main street with a bunch of shops, restaurants, a few bars and not much else.
We decided to hike to Timberline Lake Sunday. The guides we found online said the hike was 5 miles but we couldn’t find anything saying whether that was one way or round trip. We decided to go for it anyway. The trailhead was snowed in when we got there and in spite of warnings that parking outside the designated parking area was likely to get us in trouble, there were several other vehicles already parked around the entrance to the trailhead parking. We decided to risk it and took the last available spot that didn’t block access, which turned out to be fine.
There were only a few other groups hiking. It was pretty warm at the start of the trail and the other people we saw were in shorts and sneakers. We were glad to have warmer clothes and boots as there were a couple stream crossings and the temperature dropped quite a bit and the wind picked up as we got to the top. There was quite a bit of mud and more and more post holing as we got to the lake. I carried my fishing gear up but found the lake was almost completely frozen over. The hike turned out to be 5 miles round trip.
Monday we went to Crystal Lakes to do a bit of fly fishing. The lakes are just off Highway 24 south of Leadville. There’s not a lot of traffic but the road is right next to the lake so there is a bit of road noise. The area itself is beautiful and very accessible. The lake seems well stocked as there were a ton of fish and, once I figured out what they were after, they were definitely biting. The weather cooperated in spite of a not so great forecast and we ended up getting the whole morning with only a few other people fishing on the lake.