This post may contain affiliate affiliate links for your convenience, see my full disclosurefor more info.
Happy March Hikers!
In the spirit of keeping adventure alive in my life, when backpacking isn’t really an option right now, I tried something new! I got to go snowmobiling in Leadville Colorado. Thanks to my friends at White Mountain Snowmobile Tours.
Leadville, CO is the highest incorporated U.S. city, at 10,200 ft above sea level. And it is a hidden gem for the adventure recreation community. Leadville may seem like the middle of nowhere, but don’t be fooled, there are so many cool things to do there! (Like hike the Colorado Trail! – another time, it’s definitely buried in snow now.)
Back to snowmobiling – being a total newbie, I was very nervous (understatement!) but there was no shifting gears involved, which was a huge relief! I learned some pointers on starting, stopping, and making turns. It was a little like traveling on downhill skis, except its very heavy, bulky and wants to generally stay in a straight line.
Luckily, I got to do several practice laps around a track before heading out into the woods. It was great for experimenting with the acceleration, I got up to 40 MPH on straight aways! My biggest fear was rolling, but I never felt like I was unstable enough to roll over or slide out of control.
After practicing, we followed our guide onto wooded trails and climbed almost 2,000 ft in elevation, entered into the White Mountain National Forest and popped out above tree line at about 12,600 ft.
You know those white capped mountains you see way off in the distance in paintings or pictures? Well I got to go up there! And it was breathtaking. I got to see beautiful views of Mount Massive, the second highest peak in Colorado at 14,428 ft and the Sawatch mountain range.
After riding around above tree line for a while, we started to descend back towards the White Mountain Tours base. Going down the steep hills was the scariest part for me, but I just took it slow and everything turned out to be alright!
On the way down we got to stop and check out an entrance to an old mine! In the 1860’s, gold was discovered on the south side of Leadville; in the 1870’s, silver was discovered in the area as well, and by 1880 the population in Leadville had jumped to 40,000 people! (As opposed to about 2,500 people today.)
Until next time,
*Insider Tip: If you’re going snowmobiling on your own or with friends, be sure to check ahead of time if you need permits where you’re riding.*