This is the perfect hike when you're near Leadville, Colorado and looking to take a day off from bagging 14ers. It also makes one heck of an autumn hike!
Interlaken Hotel was a tourist resort complex which started in 1879 and purchased by James V. Dexter in 1883. James V. Dexter was a prominent business man and mining investor in the Leadville, Colorado area during this time.
Along with his hotel purchase he constructed a vacation cabin near the resort for his family which featured an elegant style with architectural influences from New England ship captain homes and imported New England timber.
The Interlaken Hotel was located across the lake from the town of Twin Lakes at the base of Mt. Elbert. In the 1950s the lakes were enlarged and ultimately the resort was cut off from the town by road. This led to the decline and eventually the buildings fell vacant for years before being reclaimed by the state.
About The Hike
This hike is perfect for those looking to get outside and not exert much energy. The trail follows the edge of Twin Lakes in the forest for the whole way making it mostly a flat path through the woods with lakeside views.
The trail to the resort is an out & back style hike that uses a Continental Divide Trail (CDT) and Colorado Trail (CT) alternate route. At either end of this hike you can continue hiking further on these trails.
The resort has several buildings that are salvaged and stabilized to explore with the two main attractions being the Dexter cabin and the Interlaken Hotel.
The Dexter Cabin is open to the public and includes a tower lookout that can be explored.
The Interlaken buildings aren't open to go in but are fun to check out and walk around with the many paths that intertwine through the area.
Check out this video of some of the cool sites along the trail!
If you're in Colorado during autumn this is a great hike for seeing the Aspen trees. We had perfect conditions of yellow and orange aspen leaves lining the trail for us.
Distance: 4.6 Miles
Type: Out & Back
Ascent: 213 feet
AllTrails Link - Interlaken Trail
Getting There and Important Information
The trailhead is located 25 minutes from Leadville, Colorado near the Twin Lakes Dam. It's a rough dirt road approaching the trailhead for the last mile where 4WD is advised but I can confirm from our tough rental car, 2WD will get you there.
If you don't wish to risk it you can park at the CDT trailhead at Twin Lakes Dam and walk about three-quarters of a mile to the trailhead.
There are plenty of primitive overnight camping sites just before the trailhead and about a mile in on the trail but no camping is allowed at Interlaken Resort.
There is no fee to use this area.
This hike is heavily trafficked during peak times, plan accordingly.
Going on a day hike here? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!
Also be sure to check out this list of 9 Day Hiking Essentials that you won't find on other sites!
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