Colorado Western Pizza + 5 Reasons to Visit Leadville

This Colorado Western Pizza was inspired by recent travels to Leadville, Colorado and is topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce. Grab a slice and check out why Leadville should be added to your must-see list!

Colorado Western Pizza + 5 Reasons to Visit Leadville www.climbinggriermountain.com I

A few weeks ago, Mr. B and I spent the day in the highest incorporated city in the United States.

Leadville, Colorado sits at 10,152 feet and boasts quite a bit of history dating back to 1859 as part of the gold rush frenzy. But it wasn’t until the late 1870’s when, at the time, Colorado’s second largest city made its mark- thanks to the gentleman known as Hoarce Tabor (“Leadville Silver King”) who found numerous large silver-lode deposits.

Soon after, Leadville was bursting at the seams with a growing population. Many notable faces strolled through the downtown streets – Doc Holiday, “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, and famous gunfighter Luke Short. But the Tabor Opera House is where Leadville really shined. Famous actors and singers made their appearances on this stage. To name a few – Oscar Wilde and Houdini!

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However, over time Leadville transitioned from a mining boomtown to a post-mining era, which brought about The National Mining Museum. This historical museum was established to help attract visitors to the area in addition to the vast terrains that surrounds Leadville.

As a visitor you can enjoy Leadville 365 days of the year. In the winter, you can alpine ski at Ski Cooper, spectate at the Winter Carnival, and enjoy one of the many dozen groomed trails whether biking or hiking. In the summer, you can run or bike in the Leadville Trail 100 series, hike the tallest mountain in Colorado (Mt Elebrt), make waves at Twin Lakes, or dive into many food festivals.

Well, have I convinced you to go? If you need a few more nudges, here are 5 Reasons to Visit Leadville. I know that you’ll become smitten with this quaint, historical town!

1) Fly Fishing

If you are an avid or novice fly fisher, look no further. The folks over at Colorado Fly Fishing Guide have you covered. Their shop, located in downtown Leadville offers intro/casting lessons, with half or full-day guides. We had a chance to fly fish on the Arkansas River or better known as “Gold Medal” water. Gold Medal water simply means its been designated by Colorado Wildlife and Parks as one of the most productive trout waters in the state! Needless to say, we had a successful day on the water!

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2) Downtown

Downtown Leadville has many shops, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s and of course, must-see’s like the Tabor Opera House and National Mining Museum. Take a stroll down main street, chat with the local folks, and get acquainted with Leadville’s historic past and exciting future.

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3) Hiking Twin Lakes – Interlaken Trail

A 15-minute drive southwest of downtown Leadville lies Colorado’s largest glacial lake called Twin Lakes.  Twin Lakes is one giant playground during the summer and winter months. You can fish, canoe, snowshoe, windsurf, climb a “fourteener”, or hike to the famous ghost town, Interlaken. This once luxurious hotel back in the 1890’s was a sanctuary for Leadville folks. Only accessible by carriage, boat, or foot, the hotel still stands today. Hike along the Interlaken Trail to discover more of the secrets that makes this place historic.

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4) Zip Line tours

Now that you’ve got a bit of history under your belt, head back into town to discover the one of the best thrills in Leadville. Top of the Rockies Zip Line Tours offer an incredible experience for anyone seeking to view the outdoors from a different angle. We had the chance to zip over streams and railroad tracks all while viewing the Continental divide. This experience is not to be missed!

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5) Food

If you think living at 10,150 feet would be complicated, try cooking! Well, the folks over at Tennessee Pass Cafe sure know how to deliver bold flavor at high altitude. With a menu boasting (the best) crispy Brussels sprouts, homemade pizza, sandwiches, and a juicy Colorado Western Burger that left me wanting another bite. It’s no wonder the locals flock to this relaxing and charming cafe.

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Now, the Colorado Western Burger I just mentioned was the inspiration behind today’s Colorado Western Pizza! You know the pizza drill – spread the dough into a 9X13 rectangle, top with barbecue sauce and all the goodies: Bison, bacon, caramelized onions, and a mixture of shredded mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack. Bake until you find your nose confirms the smell of golden, slightly burnt cheese!

Remove the bubbly cheesy pizza from the oven, take a big ass bite, and then hit the road to Leadville! Trust me, everything is better further up you go.

***This post was sponsored by Leadville Lake County Chamber of Commerce, National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, and Leadville/Twin Lakes Tourism Board. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.***

Colorado Western Pizza

Ingredients:

1 homemade or store bought pizza dough
2 cups barbecue sauce (I recommend Stubb’s original)
1/2 cup ground bison cooked
4 slices cooked bacon, chopped (*see cooking instructions below)
1 cup red onion sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
Parsley, garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pizza dough on a baking sheet and spread into a 9X13 rectangle. Spread barbecue sauce over the pizza dough making sure to leave a one-inch border. Next, top the pizza with bacon, crumbled bison, caramelized onions, mozzarella, cheddar, and pepper jack cheese. Bake for about 22 to 25 minutes or until gold brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before slicing.Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

to make the bacon:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on a baking sheet. Bake the bacon for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel to remove grease and cool. Set aside.

to make the caramelized onions:

In a skillet preheated to medium heat, melt the butter. Add the red onion slices, salt and pepper to the skillet. Saute onions for at least 15 minutes or until golden brown and softened.

colorado western pizza