Things to do in and around Vallecito Lake
Activities and Attractions in the area...
Whether your ideal vacation is all about rest and relaxation, or if you want to see all of the sites and experience all of the activities that are available, there are plenty of attractions nearby to help make memories of your vacation in the mountains last a lifetime.
Our cabins and private home rentals are within a short driving distance to an abundance of activities, including archeological tours, Durango and Silverton train rides, horseback riding, rafting, fall foliage tours, hiking, fishing and hunting.
All of our seasons are just beautiful. Spring and Summer (May to August) are characterized by wild flowers, hummingbirds, and mountain streams.
Fall is the most spectacular season with the Aspen trees in their radiant yellow and gold colors quaking in the wind mid-September to mid-October.
Historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
This historic narrow gauge railroad has been in continuous operation for the last 128 years, making several trips per day from Durango to the historic mining town of Silverton and back again.
Kids love the experience of riding on a real "old time" train, and there is incredible scenery all along the way.
This is truly an unforgettable experience for young and old alike.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde, Spanish for Green Table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings.
These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. Visit www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm for info.
Art Galleries and Museums
The Durango and Four Corners area is a great destination for art lovers. You will find recognized contemporary, Native American, and Southwest art collections.
The gallery walks are a relaxing way to enjoy these incredible art works and the Center for Southwest Studies offer a unique experience to learn the history of the Southwest.
Visit https://swcenter.fortlewis.edu/ for more information.
Visit https://durangoartgalleries.com/ for more information.
Dining at Vallecito Lake
Vallecito Lake offers dining in and take out.
Enjoy the cool breezes, blue skies and lake life while dining, enjoying a cocktail or two stepping to live music. Our local market and liquor store offer groceries, prepared food, and spirits for your picnics or meals at our cabins and private home rentals.
Vallecito Lake Country Market & Mexican Food Mexican/American menu, take out/dine in, Catering, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinners, Sandwiches, Pizza, Groceries, Espresso, Ice Cream, Fresh Fudge, Ice, Gas/Propane.
18071 County Road 501
Vallecito Lake Colorado 81122
Weminuche Woodfire Grill
18044 Co Rd 501, Bayfield, CO 81122
The horse stable at Elk Point Lodge and Outfitters is renowned in the southwest Colorado area for the variety of trail rides and friendly wranglers.
We have the best sunset dinner ride in the four corners.
Cowboy up with Elk Point Stables. Scenic lake horseback rides.
One & two hour, half and full day rides. Enjoy a hearty western breakfast or sunset steak dinner ride. Summer backcountry pack trips & guide/drop, and Fall Elk & Deer hunts.
Elk Point Lodge and Outfitters
21730 CR 501
Bayfield, CO 81122
Visit http://www.elkpointlodge.com/ for more information.
Mountain Biking Trails
The San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness, over 2.5 million acres of public land, surround the Vallecito Lake.
Several spectacular hiking trails are accessible from the Vallecito valley. One nearby is the two-mile challengeing Lake Eileen Trail. Whether you are interested in bird watching, mushroom hunting, or just hiking, you will enjoy the natural beauty and relaxing environment of the trails that surround our cabins and private home rentals.
A visit to the Durango area is not complete unless you stop at Honeyville on North Hwy. 550.
See the honey in production and enjoy flavorful honeys, homemade jams, jellies and sauces.
Also enjoy tasting samples of some of Colorado’s finest wines.
33633 Hwy 550
Durango, CO 81301
The San Juan and La Plata Mountains are spectacular destinations, particularly during late September and early October when the fall foliage colors are at their peak.
There are numerous Jeep tours and ATV trails that take you to some of the most beautiful spots of the Rocky Mountains.
You can get maps and detailed information about the trails from the San Juan National Forest
San Juan National Forest
Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours
Outlaw River and Jeep Tours
Soaring Tree-Top Adventures Zip Line
Looking for the longest zip lines in the world?
Soar on this Colorado eco tour over the San Juan Mountains on 27 different zip lines that range from 56 to 1,400 feet in length.
Over a mile and a half of cable on this Colorado Zip Line will carry you across the Animas River and through majestic Old Growth Ponderosa Pines and beautiful Aspen Groves.
Visit www.soaringcolorado.com for more information.
Mild2Wild Rafting Trips
Families, reunions, groups, first timers and rafting veterans alike find this popular and convenient guided rafting trip to be the highlight of their vacation!
Visit https://mild2wildrafting.com/ for more information.
Purgatory Ski Resort
Located just north of the city of Durango is the Durango Mountain Ski Resort offering great skiing, snowboarding and other adventurous winter-time activities as well as great mountain biking in the summertime.
Visit www.purgatoryresort.com for more information.
Sheltered in a secluded mountain valley 8,000 feet above sea level, Vallecito Lake is one of the largest and most beautiful bodies of water in Colorado. Vallecito is Spanish for "Little Valley". Located in the Southwestern part of the state just 18 miles from Durango, Vallecito provides a perfect base for enjoying the Four Corners area and its many wonders.
Vallecito Lake is the perfect fishing vacation destination. Enjoy casual hikes, relaxing picnics, and sun bathing along the beautiful 12 miles of shoreline.
Vallecito Lake full service marinas offer fishing boats, pontoons, canoes, and paddleboats.
Vallecito Reservoir (known locally as Vallecito Lake) is a Use Fee area and permits can be purchased at most area businesses, marinas or the Pine River Irrigation District (PRID) office.
The PRID office is located below Vallecito Dam at 13029 County Road 501, Bayfield, CO 81122. Phone 970-884-2558 or email email@example.com for additional information.
Vallectio Reservoir Use Fee Information
$7.50 for five days$20 for an annual permit
Recreation Permits Per Vehicle
$3 daily$15 for two weeks$30 for an annual permit
Group Use Picnic Area
(Kaa-Vi Nuu-ci Tuvu-pu = Mountain Utes Lands)
$30 daily use fee plus a $100 refundable deposit
Reservation only: contact Pine River Irrigation District (PRID)
We are in a very unique and beautiful area in the San Juan Mountains. The Vallecito valley is completely surrounded by national forest and wilderness area. Anywhere you stay when here, you are close to hunting and fishing opportunities.
We are located in game management area 751 but we are close to areas 75, 77 and 771. All Mule Deer tags for these areas are only available through drawing (applications due by early April).
Elk archery, second and third seasons are available over the counter.
Elk muzzle loader, first and fourth seasons are also only through the draw system.
This area has many Elk and although not known as a trophy area, we still take a lot of nice bulls and cows. This is truly a demanding area to hunt and hunters are advised to be in good physical shape. We do have some easy areas and even some "road hunt" areas but Elk are usually where you don't want to go.
Mule Deer are a different story. This area is known for its monster muley bucks. The Deer usually migrate to lower elevations earlier than the Elk but many 'monster bucks' are harvested in this valley every year. By 'monster', I mean over 30 inches wide!
This area also has great opportunities for small game, fishing and water fowl. We boast a large population of Meriam Turkey, Coyote, Bear, Ducks and Geese. Vallecito has excellent fishing for Trout, Pike, Small Mouth Bass and even a few Walleye.
Sometimes hunting for Blue Grouse, Snowshoe Hare and Squirrels can be good depending on their cycles and the amount of predators in the area. You might even get to see the occasional Bobcat or Mountain Lion.
A few tips, Hunter to Hunter
Make prior arrangements to have an outfitter pack out your Elk in case you shoot one far back in the forest. Cost will be about $200. A 500-800 pound animal is very difficult to carry out, even in quarters. Don't think you can carry the quarters of a bull out on a pack frame, especially if you are going up hill. Remember, horses can go almost any where and mules can go anywhere.
Even if you are in perfect shape, if you are coming from a lower altitude, you will get winded very quickly. Drink copious amounts of water to prevent altitude sickness.
Emergency gear is a must. It is very easy to get lost in the mountains. Carry enough food, water, fire and shelter to last 3 days. Even weather can leave you stranded for days. Have a topo map and 2 compasses. Also have a whistle and signal mirror. If you get lost, stay put and start a fire!!
Have a GPS and know how to use it (remember...it will not work with heavy cloud cover when you need it the most).
Don't take a bugle. Even though you may hear bugles, they want nothing to do with you. If you take a cow call, get a Hoochie Mamma as it is the easiest to use for a novice.
Any Elk (cow, big bull, calf) is a trophy. Shoot the first Elk you see that is legal for your tag (yes, even day one) as you may have only one encounter. I have had dozens of disappointed hunters pass on a cow or small bull wanting a "big" one.
When you get your Elk or Deer down, urinate all around the tree that you hang the quarters in to keep Bears, Lions and Coyotes off your meat. This will work for about 48 hours.
Forget what you see on the hunting shows...remember it is TV, not real life. Most of the "experts" have never been on a "real" Elk hunt.
Take lots of pictures.
Have fun and savor the time you spend in God's Country.
The experience of the hunt is what counts. Harvesting an animal is a bonus!!
Information about our area and hunting tips come from a 15 year professional hunting guide that has been in almost every hunting situation possible. He's our friend and neighbor Mark Thornton who says "I only work so I can afford to hunt!"
Elk Point Stables and Outfitters
Tour of Carvings
The Tour of Carvings is a series of life-size woodcarvings in honor of the firefighters and individuals that assisted our community during the 2002 wildfires.
You will experience an amazing and moving tour of 14 incredibly detailed carvings, and we are certain you will be telling your friends about it.
Old West Cowboy Music Show and Chuckwagon Supper
Durango's favorite family entertainment since 1969
Visit www.bardchuckwagon.com for more information.
Full Blast Adventure Center
The Full Blast Zipline Canopy Tour offers the feeling of being on top of the world, yet is only 1 mile from downtown Durango. Massive timber towers perched high in the Ponderosa Pines and with majestic Colorado Mountain views in every direction, here, an incomparable adventure awaits. It’s safe (even for those scared of heights), yet fast, fun, and exhilarating. Imagine zipping through the sky on a network of cables suspended high above the forest floor. Designed for the whole family, this zip line adventure allows for unique and unforgettable memories. Perfect for the thrill-seeker, and nature lover, it’s the ultimate adventure.
Visit www.fullblastadventures.com for more information.
Hot Springs in SW Colorado
Southwest Colorado has several Hot Springs to soak your cares away. Some are more developed and others are more primitive.
Whether you feel you've earned it or not, Southwest Colorado is a great place to get your soak on. Here's a list of some of our favorite spots to check out next time you're wanting the perfect complement to an adventurous day - or simply an excuse to take a different kind of adventure.
Click here for more information.