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Camping: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Columbine Ranger District

Quick Facts

Vallecito Reservoir

Elevation: 7,665 Feet (2389.3 Meters) Dam
Size: 2,700 Acres
Usage: Heavy

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This scenic, high mountain reservoir was built in 1941 and has 2,700 surface acres of water and 22.0 miles of shoreline. The mountain lake is approximately 167 feet deep at the dam and is at an elevation of 7,665 feet. It is a cold water lake with fishing and boating being the main activities.

The lake is a very popular fishing spot with anglers going after German brown trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and northern pike. Until recently, the reservoir held the state records for both Northern Pike and German Brown Trout. Snagging of Kokanee Salmon is prohibited from the inlet of Vallecito Reservoir upstream except from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31.

Ice fishing is possible during most winters when the lake freezes. Marinas located around the lake offer boat rentals, fishing licenses, tackle, bait and other supplies. Stores, restaurants, service stations and other facilities are located throughout the area that can provide you with just about anything.

Directions from Durango, Colorado: Take Florida Road (County Road 240) to County Road 501, then north to the reservoir. Driving time is about 45 minutes.

Directions from Bayfield, Colorado: Drive 25 minutes up County Road 501.

Seasonal Information:
Normal Services Available: April through November (NOTE: Season approximate depending on fishing) . Normal Winter Season: November through April (NOTE: Approximate season for ice fishing) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Updated: 2003-09-03 12:18:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Lakes & Reservoirs Vallecito Reservoir

Related Activities
Graham Creek Campground - About two miles north of Old Timers Campground is Graham Creek Campground, with 25 sites and a rough, natural-surface boat ramp. The hillside sites are about 100 yards from the high-water line, and offer a choice of sun or shade.

Lake Eileen Trail - The trail lies within the Weminuche Wilderness. The trail passes through aspen forests to the small, shallow lake covered by water lilies in a small depression surrounded by aspen trees.

North Canyon Campground - North Canyon Campground is open only during the peak midsummer season, and is 0.5 mile north of Graham Creek Campground. Although the 21 sites are several long, level ones suitable for large RVs.

Old Timers Campground - Old Timers Campground sits on the east shore of Vallecito Reservoir. Eleven well-shaded sites provide a cool, intimate setting on a gentle hillside near the water, with an adjacent gravel boat ramp.

Vallecito Area (Middle Mountain) Snowmobiling Area - This trail follows Forest Road 724 to the top of Middle Mountain, about 11 miles, climbing 10,800 feet. Near the top of Middle Mountain there are numerous points to stop and view surrounding high mountain peaks.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Columbine Ranger District, 367 South Pearl Street, P.O. Box 439 , Bayfield, CO, 81122, Phone: 970-884-2512, Fax: 970-884-2428, TTY: 970-884-1433


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