About the Area

Vallecito Lake

Description of the Area

The Blue Spruce RV Park & Cabins is located just north of Vallecito Lake, one of Colorado's largest and most beautiful mountain lake destinations. We are only 25 miles (about a 45 minute, leisurely forest drive) from Durango. An equally scenic route is from Bayfield about 18 miles, a comfortable 30 minute drive through a picturesque valley with rustic barns and galloping horses. As you approach Vallecito lake you are greeted with the most spectacular views of the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness, over 2.5 million acres of public land.

This picture perfect area, nestled in a high alpine mountain valley, offers a wide variety of year round recreational opportunities. The country stores and restaurants, which are all encompassing, add to the charm and casualness of the area.

Vallecito Lake can boast . . . we have four seasons of fun and adventure. The summer offers cool mountain air filled with the scent of fresh pine that is perfect for biking, hiking, horseback riding and boating. The fall offers spectacular golden aspens and bright red oak - scenery that inspires photographers and beckons the big game hunter. Winter provides a wonderland for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing, sleigh riding and peaceful relaxation.

SUMMER
(June, July, August)
FALL
(Sept, Oct, Nov)
WINTER
(Dec, Jan, Feb)
SPRING
(March, April, May)
Average High Temperature
(Degrees Fahrenheit)
76 58 40 55
Average Low Temperature
(Degrees Fahrenheit)
43 29 9 24
Average Precipitation
(inches)
2.9 3 2.4 2
Average Snowfall
(inches)
--- 10 31 12

 

*Average taken over past 17 years at Lemon Dam, the closest weather station to Vallecito Lake and only 14 miles away (even closer as the crow flies).

A Brief History

Come experience a region rich with the history and culture of the Wild West. Long before the French and Spanish explorers arrived, the area’s first inhabitants occupied the region in rock shelters and pithouses. For more than 1,000 years before the ancestral Pueblo and Hopi clans began chiseling stones for their cliff houses at Mesa Verde the Ancient Puebloans (300 B.C. to 800 A. D.)  inhabited the Animas Valley and its environs hunting, fishing and farming corn and squash.

The descendants of the area’s first inhabitants continue to live in the southwestern corner of what is now Colorado. Once a tribe of seven loosely aligned bands, Colorado’s Ute Indians now consist of two tribes, the Southern Utes (a blend of Capote and Mouache bands) and the Ute Mountain Utes, known as the Weenuche.

In the 1990’s, having survived a century of struggle and loss of their lands and culture through treaties and broken promises, the Southern Ute’s gained control over production and extraction of the natural resources deposited under the reservation land the Tribe had been forced onto  . . . and so began their success story.  The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is
one of the largest energy producing entities in the Southwest and the largest employer (Indians and non-Indians) in La Plata County.  The revenues from the energy production are being diversified to ensure that the Southern Ute people are provided for in perpetuity. Learn more about the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe’s economic recovery and development is based on their casino and tourism at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park. Learn more about the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe.

Before the settlers in this country caught “gold fever”, the Spanish and French were sent over by their leaders in Europe to search for mineral treasure. They are known to have come very near to and perhaps into Vallecito in their search for precious minerals and food.  The Spanish are known to have roamed much of the West in their search for treasure.  The French are known to have come only as far as the Continental Divide, above Pagosa Springs and Vallecito.

A new chapter in the region began in 1860 when explorer Charles Baker found flecks of gold sparkling in a stream above what is now known as Silverton. It was the promise of gold that lured so many eager miners to the mountainous country around Vallecito. When early settlers became disillusioned after struggling in their search to find gold year after year, they decided to settle for other occupations, such as farming, ranching or perhaps working for or starting a business venture.

The Good 'Ol Days A Ute Indian by the name of Jim Weaselskin found a source of gold somewhere up the Vallecito River and would pay for food and favors with gold nuggets. However, the first actual discovery of precious minerals near Vallecito was at Cave Basin in August of 1913. Cave Basin is located on Middle Mountain, which lies between Vallecito and the Pine River. The main mining area at Cave Basin was called Tuckerville. A five-foot vein of good copper and galena (lead ore) was found. As hard as the miners tried to keep this exciting news under cover, the secret was soon out and hordes of eager men soon followed.

What about the gold? Well, the stories of Weaselskin’s hidden stash have some substance. Many have searched for the treasure over the years. As far as we know, no one has found it - yet!

Mileage Chart or “How Close is It To . . . ”

Destination Miles
Albuquerque 240
Bayfield 15
Cortez 78
Dallas 860
Denver 330
Durango 23
Durango Mountain Resort 52
Farmington 72
Grand Junction 170
Mesa Verde 72
Pagosa Springs 57
Phoenix 480
Salt Lake City 440
Santa Fe 200
Wolf Creek Ski Area 60