About 18 miles south of Leadville, the glacial Twin Lakes are at the foot of Colorado’s highest fourteener, Mt. Elbert. They’re just over an hour from Aspen, Copper Mountain and Vail.
Access: From Aspen, take east CO-82 until you reach Twin Lakes Village, slightly west of the water. Or, from Denver, you’ll take Interstate 70 west to exit 195 and continue on CO-91 south toward Leadville. Continue through the town of Leadville on US-24 E until you reach CO-82 W, on which you’ll make a left and continue until you reach the town. Park nearby and walk or hike around the lakes.
What to do: Mountain biking, fishing, climbing Mt. Elbert or Mt. Massive, visiting ghost towns in the Clear Creek valley, hiking along Independence Pass/the Colorado Trail, boating or swimming in the lakes, visiting the nearby hot springs. You could choose to stay in the historic Interlaken Hotel, or alternately, camp on one of the nearby mountains.