Autumn in Lake City

Although autumn is a relatively short season in Lake City, it is one of the most beautiful times to be in the area. The incomparable fall foliage typically is in full swing by mid September. The changing aspen, willows, and cottonwoods set fire to the mountain sides with the slightest breeze setting things aflutter, creating a striking scene. This time of year is also one of the best for fishing, a favorite of locals. Kokanee salmon began to slip upstream from Blue Mesa into the Lake Fork so you may have an opportunity to hook one. Brown trout are also spawning during this time of year. 


Aspen Folklore

Several Native American legends attempt to shed light on the symphony of colors that lights up Colorado’s “Shining Mountains” each year. One legend attributes the deep red hues to the blood of the Great Bear dripping onto the leaves after he was slain by celestial hunters. The vibrant yellow and orange colors were the result of fat splattering out of the pot as the meat of the bear was cooked. Others tell the story of the Great Spirit offering magical powers to any tree that could remain awake for seven days and seven nights. Those that succeeded were allowed to be continually green while those that failed had to lose their leaves and sleep during the winter. We know now that the changing leaves are a result of chemical reactions and the changing season. But one may prefer the stories that awaken the imagination, making this time of spectacular beauty much more magical.

Fall Scenic Drives
Two wheel drive vehicles
  • Silver Thread Scenic Byway 
  • Lake City to Sherman
  • County Road 20 to Capitol City 
  • Cebolla Creek & Los Pinos Pass 
  • Rio Grande Reservoir
Four wheel drive
  • Nellie Creek Road
  • North Henson Road
  • Portions of Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
  • Round Top Road
Fall Scenic Hikes
  • Crystal Peak & Thompson Lake Trail
  • Waterdog Trail
  • Cataract Gulch
  • Alpine Gulch
  • Ski Hill to Lake Trail
Fall Events
  • Colorfest Arts and Crafts Show
  • Uncorked Wine & Music Festival
  • Hunters Ball and Community Dinner (October)
Hunting in the San Juans started during the 19th century when the mountain men who weren’t prospecting for precious metals learned of another commodity that these mountains had to offer: fur pelts. Beaver pelts at this time were fashionable and could fetch a high price in cities. Once mining became the trade of the county in the 1880s, miners hunted big game animals such as deer to feed themselves and their families.   
Today, elk and deer hunting is a way to enjoy the outdoors and pleasant fall weather. Hunting in Hinsdale County is limited licensing only, which requires hunters to be drawn for tags. Six game management units occur partially in Hinsdale County: 65, 66, 67, 76, 77, and 751. Units 66, 67, and 76 are draw only with some over the counter licenses sold in units 65, 77 and 751. Area hunters are likely to have high harvest rates, quality animals, and a great overall experience. The benefits of hunting in a county comprised of 96 percent public land offer numerous access points to the backcountry, plenty of room to hunt and a lower chance of overcrowding of hunters. The application deadline for tags for big game hunting is usually the first week of April. For more information, contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife at