Vallecito Lake

General Information

Vallecito Lake Chamber of Commerce
17252 County Road 501
Bayfield, CO 81122
(970) 247-1573 or (800) 525-8855
info@vallecitolakechamber.com, www.VallecitoLakeChamber.com

SPECIAL EVENTS  Visit http://vallecitolakechamber.com/events for a full list of events at Vallecito Lake
MEDIA CONTACT  Theresa Blake, Durango Area Tourism Office, 970-764-7783, theresa@treehousepr.com

Elevation

8,000 feet above sea level

Climate

Transition zone between semi-arid and mountain, summer daytime temps in the 70's and 80's, nighttime lows in the 50’s.  Winter daytime temps in the 40’s, nighttime lows in the 10’s.

Population

Approximately 400 – 500 full time residents; 2,000 summer only residents

National Forest

San Juan National Forest 

Mountain Range

San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains

Wilderness

Weminuche Wilderness Area

Location

Approximately 18 miles northeast of Durango in Southwestern Colorado surrounded by over 2.5 million acres of public land on all sides

Nearby Towns

Durango, Ignacio, Bayfield

Nickname

Lake of the Little Valley

History

One of the largest and most beautiful bodies of water in Colorado. Vallecito, Spanish for "Little Valley" and ancestral home to many of Colorado's Ute Indians

Vallecito Reservoir

  • Vallecito Dam was constructed 1938 – 1941
  • 12 miles of shoreline
  • Stocked with Trout, Kokeonee Salmon, Pike
  • Fee area for boating and parking: Pine River Irrigation District, 970-884-2558

Vallecito Dam

162-foot-high earth-fill structure, which contains 3,738,000 cubic yards of material. Vallecito Dam is on the Pine River, 18 miles northeast of Durango. The reservoir has a total capacity of 129,700 acre-feet. The spillway is a gate-controlled, concrete-lined open channel, 2,300 feet long at the right abutment. The outlet is a twin section concrete conduit through the right abutment of the dam.

Community Event Center

Facility with modern amenities and splendid mountain lake views, ideal for group rentals including weddings, family reunions, and community meetings with indoor and outdoor space available. Call (970) 749-1368.

Rivers & Creeks

Pine River, Los Pinos River, Freeman Creek, Vallecito Creek and numerous small creeks

Winter Activities

  • Cross-country skiing  with groomed and ungroomed trails
  • Snowshoeing on numerous trails
  • Dog sledding
  • Snowmobiling on Middle Mountain
  • Snow biking on Middle Mountain

Boating

The largest body of water in Colorado at this elevation or higher, Vallecito Lake is surrounded with majestic views into the Weminuche Wilderness. With numerous 12,000 and 13,000 foot peaks, there simply isn't another boating experience like it in Colorado. Boat ramp opens in May and closes in October

Marina

Vallecito Marina is the only marina servicing Vallecito Lake. Full service with fuel, slips, and buoys along with fishing and pontoon boat rentals available. The Marina also has a tackle shop and SUP and kayak rentals available. Call (970) 884-9458 for more information. 

ATV's

Rentals available.

The Tour of Carvings

The Tour of Carvings commemorates the Missionary Ridge Fire of 2002. Vallecito Lake is home to thousands of Ponderosa Pine trees with many over 200 years old and standing up to 175 feet tall, many of the trees were lost in the fire. Local artist Chad Haspels carved many of the fallen trees to memorialize the wildfire and fire fighters.. Most of the carvings are mounted on concrete piers and can be found all around the lake area. They have a number and name assigned to aid in identification. Each one stands 18 feet tall and weighs around 2,600 pounds.

Camping

3 Full-service RV and Cabin Resorts along with 7 seasonally-maintained Forest Service campgrounds

Lodging

Cabins, lodges, resorts, RV parks, camp sites, camper parks and vacation homes

Fishing

The southwestern half of the Weminuche Wilderness Area is drained by two major streams-the Los Pinos and Florida Rivers-and their tributaries. Vallecito Reservoir, where water from the Pine and Vallecito Creek is impounded, is great for those seeking less of a wilderness experience. It provides easy access and large fish such as rainbow, brown trout, and northern pike. Browns hold in this area all year and mid-May through mid-June is best for pike. The reservoir offers a good opportunity to fish in late spring, when the rivers in the area are high with runoff.

Horseback Riding

Hourly rides, breakfast rides, all-day and multiple day rides. Fall color rides also available.

Hunting

The Weminuche Wilderness, which is easily accessed from the Vallecito Lake area, is Colorado's largest, offering more than a half million acres of public land. In many respects, the Weminuche is an outdoor adventurer's nirvana. Hunters and hikers alike can lose themselves for days on its 500 miles of trails. The area around Vallecito Lake is a top pick for hunting Elk, Mule Deer, Turkey and Bear.

Paddle Surfing

Pine River Surf Co – Stand-Up Paddle Board Outfitters. Great core workout on lakes, ponds and rivers. 970-884-4533, 970-749-4107