Approximately 20 miles North of Durango, nestled in a forest of pines and other wildlife, is the beguiling Haviland Lake. Haviland Lake sits at an elevation of over 8,000 feet and features various outdoor recreation opportunities for those keen on a new adventure or just someone looking for a relaxing day at the lake.
The adventurous landlubber can camp, hike, picnic, birdwatch, and even do limited hunting with proper permits. The accompanying campground sits near the lake for easy access to the water and nature.
Trails extend around the lake, connecting to the San Juan National Forest, with some even featuring informational boards on mining and railroad history.
The campground and the trails provide ample opportunities to explore the fauna, like bird watching and picnicking for a hungry traveler.
Those looking for a more aquatic way to spend the day can fish, swim, boat, or paddleboard. The clear water regularly has various trout stocked and ready to be fished.
Boaters and board users can paddle around for fun or to find better fishing spots.
Whatever you are looking for on water or land, you can likely find it at Haviland Lake.
So long as your boat doesn't possess a motor, they are welcome on the wakeless Haviland Lake, particularly paddle-powered ones like kayaks and canoes. The boat ramp and multiple gentle banks give easy access to the water for anyone wanting to put it in their boat.
Haviland Lake is a perfect place to put in a paddleboard for the day. The gentle ripples and the aquatic wildlife paint a picturesque scene as you push yourself along through the water. Each paddle stroke sends you to a new experience and image, like entering another world.
Featuring the always famous Rainbow Trout and Brown and Cutthroat trout, Haviland Lake is a prominent fishing spot in Durango.
There is a prominent fishing dock near the entrance to the lake and multiple spots around the edge, ideal for fishing.
All fishers must have a valid Colorado fishing license.
Hiking abounds at the beautiful Haviland lake. The campground provides access to the Forebay Lake Trail, leading to another nearby lake, and the Rico-to-Rockwood Wagon Trail passes nearby.
The Rico-to-Rockwood Wagon Trail is a historic road from the 1800s.
Multiple available trails have informational panels giving historical context to interested hikers.
Right alongside the lake is the Haviland Campground, managed by the USDA Forest Service.
The campground makes picnic areas, fire pits, and drinking water available for guests of the campground and lake. Its lakeside position provides easy access to the lake and fishing areas.
Swimming, while allowed at Haviland Lake, is unmonitored, and there is no designated swimming area.
If you want to swim, the lake waters are calm and clear, but you might get a bit muddy on your way in. If you aren't confident in your swimming skills, be careful to avoid landing in too deep. Always be aware of your surroundings while swimming, and watch out for other recreational activities.
Haviland Lake’s rural location and distance from population centers make it an excellent location for interested birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.
There is a variety of waterfowl on the lake, and the surrounding ponderosa forests are home to various other birds, mainly from the montane species.
Several species of birds are present at Haviland Lake, including bald eagles, ospreys, red-tailed hawks, mallards, great blue herons, and many more.
In addition to birds, Haviland Lake sees white-tailed deer, elk, American beavers, and several species of turtles.
Haviland Lake is a no-wake area, so boats with motors are prohibited. If you go boating on the lake, use non-motorized vehicles like kayaks and paddleboards.
While drinking water is available at the campground, it is always a safe bet to bring some with you as a precaution.
Bring supplies you might need because many of it is unavailable at the campground, and its distance from the city makes a larger travel time. Supplies like sunscreen, snacks, and whatever else you need should be brought with you.
Follow general etiquette for campground and nature areas, like respecting wildlife and packing out what you pack.
Accessible vault toilets
Wheelchair-accessible fishing pier
The elevation is 8200 feet; drink plenty of water and know the signs of altitude sickness.
Check fire conditions and bans before considering a campfire
Keep your food packed away when away from the campsite
Respect other visitors and locals who were maybe camping there: quiet at night, and low lights
Check for seasonal access/ closures
Clean up after yourself and pack out any trash.
Practice Leave No Trace Principles