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Situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet, Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States. It is located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies about 100 miles west of Denver. For our visit to Leadville, we parked at Sugar Loafin’ Campground. From the streets of Leadville, looking west you will see the two tallest of Colorado’s “fourteeners”: Mount Elbert which peaks at 14,440 feet and Mount Massive at 14,428 feet. After California’s Mount Whitney, Mount Elbert is the second highest peak in the contiguous United States.
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From Ashton, ID we headed southeast in order to go around the southern end of the Teton range and to enter the Grand Teton National Park from just north of the town of Jackson, WY. Highway 33 carried us from Idaho into Wyoming and across the Teton Pass which tops out at 8,431 feet and affords beautiful views of the surrounding Wyoming countryside.
The problem is that on the eastern descent from the pass, the highway has a 10% grade that extends relentlessly for 5 miles. On board a 24,000 pound motorhome with a 2,000 pound car pushing from behind made this a challenge I hadn’t bargained for. Taking advice from the highway signs advising truckers to use a low gear and keep their speed under 25 MPH, we make the descent in second gear and attempted to keep our speed in line with the advice. With the help of a couple of stops at large pull-outs along the way we made it down safely but with the telltale smell of brakes that got a little hot.
On to Grand Teton National Park.