VALLECITO LAKE – What’s Open (with restrictions)

Vallecito Lake is open for business. However, there are still health code restrictions and guidelines in place. Social distancing and personal safety are the greatest concern in our area at the moment, so in order to have a great summer and enjoy the outdoors, we must all do our part in being mindful of these guidelines that have been put into place. If you’re headed to Vallecito Lake this weekend, check out what is open, what can be utilized and most importantly how to follow these recommendations to keep us all safe, while still having fun at the beautiful Vallecito Lake.


THE BOAT RAMP  – The boat ramp located on the west side of the lake will be open. This is the only boat ramp open so please be patient with this process. Also, note that you will need to be passing normal boat inspections and to be sure that you have a Colorado regulated registration as well as a day or annual permit for your boat. More information on how to register your boat in Colorado can be found here. Free boat inspections will be held at the marina before boat launching will be permitted to ensure no invasive species are on your boat.


THE MARINA – The marina will remain closed until further notice.


FISHING – Fishing licenses can be purchased at the marina for either single day use or annual passes. However, at your convenience due to social distance restrictions, it is suggested that you purchase your license online.  You can do so here on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.


TOUR OF CARVINGS – The Tour of Carvings is an artistic construction of carvings surrounding the lake that was created after a devastating forest fire back in 2002. These carvings are unique, intricate and tell a fascinating story of a community’s rebirth after being so heavily affected by a natural disaster. Check out their website for a complete back story and an interactive map of where to find these magnificent carvings as you drive around Vallecito Lake.


DAY USE AREAS – Day use areas will be open around the circumference of the lake, however you must purchase day passes in order to utilize these areas. You can purchase a day pass at any of the several pay stations around the lake, at the marina, or you can visit the Pine River Irrigation District which is at just south of the dam before you get to Vallecito Lake.  Please be courteous of others and only park in designated parking areas.















RESTAURANTS  – It’s picnic time at the lake and LOCAL restaurants are open for carry out.

  • Fur Trappers Steakhouse
  • Vallecito Lake Country Market
  • Weminuche Woodfire Grill


CAMPING – National Forest campgrounds are to remain closed until June 1st or until further notice. Free camping areas in the backcountry are permitted, but there is a fire ban in effect with no open flames allowed.


HIKING – The Vallecito River Trail is open, located at the end of county road 500. This is a great trail along the river that can take you all the way to Silverton. Stop at any point, with views like this you won’t need to make a trek, but it’s a fun trail to enjoy on a nice sunny day.  The Lake Walking Trail loops around the entire circumference of the lake! Enjoy the lake at every angle without having to make the cold plunge into the water.


FIRE BAN INFORMATION – All open flame and campfires are strictly prohibited. If you are adventuring into the backcountry, please respect these rules and don’t tempt a campfire. If you have private property, you may have small fires and BBQ grills. You can find the complete fire restriction information guidelines here on the Durango Fire Department’s website.


BYOS (Bring Your Own Supplies) – For your own convenience due to social distance restrictions, it would be beneficial to bring your own supplies. It is going to be a busy weekend and stores only permit five customers in at a time. Therefore, try to bring your own drinks, snacks and other necessities for a great time out by or on the water!


TRASH – Please be advised that there are no public trash facilities currently open in Vallectio. Be mindful and respectful of the beauty around you and be sure to pack out your own trash.















Source:  May 8, 2020 | Faith Owen



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