Last year was the second year in a row we made the trip up the mountain for the Leadville Heavy Half marathon, and despite buying trail running shoes I didn’t attempt the brutality that is this race. Running up a mountain with my newly acquired plantar fasciitis feeling like nails being driven into my heel felt like a stupid idea. Age seems to be making parts of the body hurt that I didn’t even know I had. But it is always hard to pass up camping with friends in such a beautiful area.
This place is easy to find as well. From Leadville head west on Highway 4. There will be a three-way split in the road. Take the middle one. The paved one on the right will take you to the dam at Turquoise Lake. The left road will lead to a life of sin, and the golf course. From there, the road will meander until you hit the creek and it will head south (left). Camping all around here. Drive until you are tired of driving and find a good spot. Some have views of Mount Massive or Elbert. Some are just tucked into the trees.
We’ve camped in the same exact spot for three years running and it was great to do it again last year. This place can hold many large groups. And the Lake Fork of the Arkansas also still proves to be the easiest brook trout stream in the world, which is always good to kill a couple of hours, daily.
This area sees a lot of campers on the weekends but get there a bit early and you’ll have you choice of campsites. The location is only about 20 minutes from Leadville and all the awesomeness of that little town. You will also be super close to Turquoise Lake. Excellent for hiking, fishing, and boat stuff. Cue the Yacht Rock playlist.
Eat at Quincy’s as recommended by the locals. The place is very antique, with wood paneling, a turn of the century bar, and one thing on the menu. It changes nightly and the last time we dined there, it was a bacon-wrapped filet with a potato, salad, bread, and a dessert for $9.99. And that was the only choice. It turned out to be slightly better than a ten-dollar meal and we headed for Denver full and happy.