Much of the mining history of Colorado is connected to the great mineral strikes that occurred around “Cloud City,” as represented in the historic resources found within the Leadville Mining District. Physical evidence of that significant history, however, was being lost through vandalism, the effects of the 10,000 foot altitude, and Superfund clean up efforts. Through the joint participation of the community, the EPA and Lake County, the Mineral Belt Trail was established and an interpretive plan was developed.
The Mineral Belt Trail was designed and laid out to penetrate the actual sites where history was made. With the help of a $73,000 State Historical Fund grant, interpretive kiosks and low profile wayside exhibits were constructed that direct visitors from site to site, place individual resources within an overall context, and promote a preservation ethic. Incorporating converted sections of three historic railroad lines, the trail helps to chronicle the full circle of Leadville mining history and is the logical extension to the cultural resources found within the town – the silver thread that binds the story of the sites and places that represent pivotal points in Colorado history.