Much of the outdoor recreation in this area takes place in nearby national forest lands, and you can get information at the San Isabel National Forest office, 810 Front St. (tel. 719/486-0749; www.fs.fed.us/r2), as well as the visitor center. Bill's Sport Shop, 225 Harrison Ave. (tel. 719/486-0739; www.billsrentals.com), is a good source for gear (to rent or buy) and advice.
Adventurous hikers can attempt an ascent of Mount Elbert (14,440 ft.), Mount Sherman (14,036 ft.), or Mount Massive (14,428 ft.); all three can be climbed in a day without technical equipment, though altitude and abruptly changing weather conditions are factors that should be weighed. One popular trail for hiking, walking, and mountain biking is the Mineral Belt Trail, a 12-mile loop that circles Leadville, passing through the mining district and the mountains in the process. A good access point for it is near the recreation center at Sixth Street and McWethy Drive.
There's good trout and kokanee fishing at Turquoise Lake, Twin Lakes, and other small high-mountain lakes, as well as at beaver ponds located on side streams of the Arkansas River. There's also limited stream fishing in the area.
Golfers head to 9-hole Mount Massive Golf Course, 3 1/2 miles west of town at 259 C.R. 5 (tel. 719/486-2176; www.mtmassivegolf.com), which claims to be North America's highest golf course, at 9,700 feet. Greens fees are $34 for 18 holes, not including a cart, and views of surrounding mountain peaks are magnificent.
If snow sports are more to your liking, Ski Cooper, P.O. Box 896, Leadville, CO 80461 (tel. 800/707-6114 or 719/486-3684, 719/486-2277 for snow reports; www.skicooper.com), is the place to go, with 400 acres of lift-served skiable terrain and another 2,400 acres accessible by snowcat. It began as a training center for 10th Mountain Division troops from Camp Hale during World War II. Located 10 miles north of Leadville on U.S. 24 near Tennessee Pass, it offers numerous intermediate and novice runs, and hosts backcountry Chicago Ridge Snowcat Tours for experts (call for details). Four lifts serve 26 runs -- rated 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, and 30% expert -- and the mountain has a 1,200-foot vertical drop from the peak of 11,700 feet. Full-day tickets cost $42 for adults, $23 for children 6 to 14, $31 for seniors 60 to 69, $18 for seniors 70 and older, and are free for kids under 6. The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center (tel. 719/486-1750; www.tennesseepass.com), at the foot of the mountain, has 15 miles of groomed track and skating trails, plus rentals and lessons and a highly regarded restaurant, the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse. Trail passes cost $14 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.