The highest incorporated city in the U.S. (10,188 ft/3,105 m), Leadville is a silver-mining town that was the home of millionaires Horace and Baby Doe Tabor, as well as J.J. and (the "unsinkable") Molly Brown. Marshall Field and the Guggenheim family maintained residences there, too. After only 10 years of existence, it boasted ornate Victorian homes and the Tabor Opera House. The sport of skiing first took hold in the U.S. 10 mi/16 km from town, and during World War II, ski troops trained there.

Today, Leadville's schools are more than 60% Mexican American, the children of the construction and hotel workers that commute an hour each day to keep the tourism industry running in Vail and Aspen. Leadville is a distinct, interesting place to visit, home to the National Mining Hall of Fame, which includes displays on mining from gold panning to the industrial practices of the present. (You'll see the destructive effects of mining on your drive up, especially along Highway 91.)

Leadville is also home to the highest-elevation golf course in the country and is the gateway to Colorado's highest peak, Mount Elbert (14,443 ft/4,477 m) 80 mi/130 km southwest of Denver.

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