Exploring Leadville Colorado with the Toyota Highlander |Building Our Story Yum

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Exploring Leadville Colorado with the Toyota Highlander

Disclosure: I was given a Toyota Highlander to test drive for a week in exchange for a review. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.


We are so lucky to live in a state with so many great places to escape for a weekend away.  Colorado is filled with amazing mountain towns that allow us to escape, enjoy the fresh mountain air, explore the small towns, hike and relax.  My family is especially lucky because we have a family cabin just minutes from the town of Leadville Colorado.  We spend at least 2 weekends a summer at this cabin and really love exploring the town of Leadville while there.  

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For Labor Day weekend, we took our last trip to the cabin for the season but this time we did it in style.  Toyota let us drive the 2017 Toyota Highlander for the week which meant we got to take it to the mountains!  What fun!  We love going to the mountains but absolutely hate the weekend Colorado mountain traffic.  While driving the Highlander we felt less stressed even more comfortable.  

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We have a few things that are must do's every time we visit Leadville and some things that are still on our want to try list.  Leadville is the highest incorporated city in North America and sits at 10,152 feet above sea level. Leadville was also a very influential boomtown — it was almost named as Colorado's capital city. Leadville has 70 square city blocks of Victorian buildings including the Delaware Hotel, all of these buildings are part of a designated National Historic Landmark District, along with 20 square miles of a preserved mining district. More than 50 buildings date back to the 1870s, including the Tabor Opera House. 

Things To Do In Leadville Colorado


Walk the city.  When you arrive in Leadville, make sure you make your way into the city square.  We love exploring the small town because the buildings are so fun to look at.  Leadville has that great small town feeling which is a refreshing change for us.  Find some ice cream or coffee and enjoy a nice stroll through the small town shops and attractions.  

Go antiquing. There is a giant antique store in Leadville that is absolutely amazing.  We have been visiting this antique store for years.  It is huge! I could literally spend hours in this store.  It is a fun experience for the kids as well.  They have so many questions about the old clothes, toys, kitchen items, etc as we walk through the store.  

Visit Twin Lakes.  The amazing natural beauty of Colorado's largest glacial lakes, reflecting some of the nation's highest peaks, makes Twin Lakes one of the world's most scenic places. This is only a 15 minute drive from Leadville and is totally worth the drive.  The community lies adjacent to the state's two largest glacial lakes along the Top of the Rockies Scenic and Historic Byway.  There are also opportunities to camp, fish, hike and boat in the Twin Lakes area.  

Try a local restaurant.  While exploring the town, you will find a number of great restaurants for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Our favorites include High Mountain Pies, Golden Burro Cafe and Casa Sanchez.  It is fun to ask the locals what their favorite place to enjoy a meal.  

Leadville Boom Days. For a fun look back on the Old West, don't miss the annual Leadville Boom Days celebration each August, complete with gunslingers, burro races, mining competitions, food and more.  We have attending Boom Days a number of times.  The parade, fair food, craft fair and fun costumes means a great weekend for the whole family.  


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Ride the Train - Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad.  Adventure, relaxation and sightseeing cannot be topped when riding in the Rocky Mountains on board the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad. This 2 and ½ hour adventure through the untamed wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest is not to be forgotten. Family and friends of all ages have a chance to engage in learning about the historic Leadville, Colorado home to legends like Molly Brown and Horace, Augusta and Baby Doe Tabor, Guggenheims and at one time Doc Holiday.

Explore mining history.  Leadville is a boom town so why not learn about the mining history!  We have driven through Leadville to some of the old mines and just looked from the car but would like to take the kids, now that they are older, to the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is a monument to the memory of the men and women who pioneered the discovery, development and processing of our nation's natural resources.

Go for a hike or a climb. While many Leadville visitors journey to the area to summit a few 14ners Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, there are hiking trails for all abilities in the Leadville vicinity.  We have found a number of great family friendly trails as well.  Great for our kids. 

Tour the Tabor Opera House. The Tabor Opera House was built in 1879 by Horace Austin Warner Tabor, one of Colorado's most well known mining magnates. It was one of the most costly and most substantially-built structures in Colorado history. Since HAW Tabor's time, the opera house has hosted many notable talents. Among the most notable have been Houdini, John Philip Sousa, Oscar Wilde, and Anna Held.  We have not taken a tour yet but will soon, now that the kids are older.  The tours are interactive and lead by actors who are dressed in historical costumes and characters.  

Take a Picture by the "We Love Leadville" sign.  Before you enter the main town drag, you will drive past a big concrete wall that says "We Love Leadville Great Living at 10,152 feet"!  We have taken many family pictures in front of this mural and love doing it every year.   A great photo opportunity! 


Other great things to consider while visiting Leadville:


  • Golfing 
  • Fishing
  • Winter visits - skiing, fat biking, snowmobiling and snowshoeing 
  • Camping
  • Bed and Breakfast 
  • Farmers Markets 
  • Shopping 
  • Jeep Tours

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2017 Toyota Highlander Specs:

  • The three-row 2017 Toyota Highlander offers multiple interior seat configurations with seating for seven or eight passengers.
  • 20/25 mpg city/highway
  • Front and rear air conditioning with air filter and second- and third-row vents
  • Integrated backup camera with dynamic gridlines
  • Panoramic moon roof with power sunshade and jam protection
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Rear-seat Blu-ray Disc™ entertainment system with 9-in. display, RCA jacks, remote and two wireless headphones
  • Day/night rear view mirror
  • Five total USB ports (three front and two second-row)
  • Second-row retractable window sunshades
  • Driver Easy Speak — driver voice amplification
  • Child-protector rear door locks

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Our Thoughts:

Let me start out by saying we are currently in the process of deciding what car to buy.  Jeremy's current car is just too small and now that he is not driving as much for his work we are ready to take the plunge into a bigger family car for him as well.  He had been set on a truck because he has always wanted one but now that he has driving the Highlander is really interested in considering this car for himself now as well.  

While we did think the 3rd row was a bit tight, it is a nice additional space for our family.  We were able to pack all of our gear for our cabin trip, including wood.  This car is a nice sized SUV with a ton of features we are hoping to get in our next car.  

Favorites:
  • Great looking interior - leather accents and seating 
  • Moon roof
  • Captain's chairs for the kids - keeps them from fighting!
  • Entertainment options
  • Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
  • Automatic trunk - great for when our hands are full 
  • Handled well in the mountains - great pick up for driving 
  • Gas mileage was great!


Exploring Leadville Colorado with the Toyota Highlander, Leadville Colorado, traveling to Leadville Colorado, What to do in Leadville Colorado, things to do in Leadville Colorado, mountain towns to visit in Colorado, Colorado day trips, Buying a Toyota Highlander

Jude and Teagan's Review of the Toyota Highlander: 

The kids loved this car and were pretty sad when we had to send it back.  Some of their favorite features about the Toyota Highlander was:
  • The captain's chairs in the middle row
  • The DVD player - DUH!  They actually liked the drop down screen better than the in the headrest screens we had in the Land Cruiser 
  • The sun roof
  • Extra space between the captain's chairs

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We thoroughly enjoyed driving the Highlander for our trip to Leadville Colorado and we are excited to start the car purchasing process, especially now that we have added the Highlander to our list!

Stay connected to Toyota:




Where did you spend your last summer weekend this Labor Day Weekend?


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17 comments:

  1. We stayed home, but went to the big Pig out in the Park downtown where we live. It is a lot of fun and fun things for the kids to do. This is a really nice place to visit and the car is gorgeous!

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  2. Ha! I used to live in CO ... For 7 years (split into two phases) and there were LOADS of road trips through Leadville! SOOOO many memories. However, none of the road trips were EVER in a Highlander! Toyotas are GREAT cars though!! VERY reliable! :)

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  3. I always wanted to try a road trip to Colorado! Something about the open air and all the amazing things to see along the way! This post have me ready to pack up and hit the road :). Thanks for sharing this, I know who to hit up if I need some tips for Colorado!

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  4. Looks like a comfy ride to Leadville. I would love to spend some time up there - being in Boulder, CO - I am too close not to take a trip and explore it! I especially like the idea of antiquing! I am a huge thrift and antique person!

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  5. Wow that highlander looks a lot like my Toyota Rav 4. I love the looks of that area as well, I will have to put it on my list of places to visit out there. I have so many already and we will be traveling there in a Toyota as well. BTW Your kiddos are adorable!

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  6. This sounds like a great vehicle.

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  7. I have no idea where this Leadville is or have even heard of it, but it sounds like such a great place. Seems like there's so much to do and I like that there are historic landmarks there. I definitely would visit the Victorian hotels, because I just love Victorian anything. Thank you so much for sharing this and your pictures are lovely too!

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  8. That is a good looking car and I love all the space for luggage and travel essentials. I love the color too.
    I appreciate road trips when in a car that is comfortable and when you know you can trust your car to take yo off the road, up hills and have good breaks. I also love cars that are good in gas mileage.

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  9. The Highlander looks nice inside. I'd have to give it a test drive, the kids wanted a tv in the car, so it may be perfect for us. We also did a road trip over the long weekend (also on a Toyota) and discovered a lot of things including an 1809 railroad bridge. I'll visit Colorado next time, thanks for the recommendations on where to go.

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  10. Colorado really is my favorite place to escape the city and get in some amazing hikes. I also love the panoramic moon roof. I have one in my car and looove it!

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  11. Colorado is a beautiful state. I hope to visit there again soon. We just stayed at home and relaxed over Labor Day weekend.

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  12. This is amazing! I love the Toyota Highlander! I had it during a girl's trip to Chicago and we had an amazing time. I love the features of this car.

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  13. Wow what an amazing time! It sounds like there's a ton of things to do - that's the best! This car is awesome also - I love the color and of course, Toyota makes such great cars! Love it - hope you enjoyed!

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  14. Toyota is a great brand. It makes an amazing car with all the bells and whistles! I didn't realize that Colorado had such beautiful scenery! We need to take a trip down there and see it for myself!

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  15. Looks like a cool place to visit. I have never been to Colorado

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  16. I love the look of this vehicle! Leadville is beautiful...I've been but many years ago now! I believe the tallest mountain in Colorado is there...if I am remembering correctly! I spent my Labor Day weekend, no joke, in Bulgaria and Serbia on a trip! :)

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  17. I would love to go to Colorado go to a lake get a cabin and escape for a week would be nice. That highlander is awfully nice too to travel in

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