Winter glistens like nowhere else in this high country wonderland.
A mantle of white only makes the secret treasures of Hinsdale County and the town of Lake City stand out. Black winter skies glow with starlight that only remote places can boast. Ice crystals sparkle on whitened lakes, ice-laden creeks and waterfalls frozen in motion until the spring thaw. From mountain peaks to wind swept valleys, this may be the truest time when our San Juan Mountains shine.
Less expensive places to stay, great food, outstanding weather, an abundance of outdoor activities – why not trade glitzy for glistening this year and experience a real Colorado winter with down-home, back-to-basics fun in Lake City and Hinsdale County.
Winter Visit Dream Plan
November thru March
- No hustle, no bustle, quiet beauty and great outdoor fun – visitors become locals during Lake City’s laid back winters, with no snow bunny markups or underwhelming “tourist” experiences.
- Many motels, vacation homes, restaurants and stores are open year-round, most offering reduced rates during snow months. For assistance and itinerary ideas, call the Visitor Center at 970-944-2527.
- Recreational opportunities include over 100 miles of snow mobile and multipurpose groomed trails; a local ski hill and terrain park; ice climbing; Hinsdale County Haute Route; backcountry skiing and snowshoeing; ice skating; and ice fishing:
- Hinsdale County has over 100 miles of multipurpose groomed trails that weave through the backcountry between Lake City and Creede. Snowmobile access include a number of entry points at Spring Creek Pass, Slumgullion Pass and Penniston Park, all just off Highway 149.
- Back Country Skiing/Snowshoeing
- Cross country ski and snowshoe opportunities include in-town, from town, and backcountry treks. Most hiking trails are “winter sport adaptable” for daytime adventures, or travel off trail and overnight at one of the yurts on the Hinsdale County Haute Route.
- Ice Climbing and Ice Fishing
- Many locals and visitors can’t wait for things to “ice up” in and around Lake City so they can enjoy their favorite winter sports. Fishing with bait and jigging are common Lake San Cristobal ice fishing tactics either employed from a warm fishing hut or while braving the elements. The reward – many small to medium lake trout, and occasionally one too large to fit through the hole! Just a few blocks from historic downtown, Lake City’s Ice Park, open from December to March weather permitting, offers ice climbers up to 15 routes of varying difficulties. Climbs are free, but climbers should check in and sign waivers at participating businesses. For information about the Lake City Ice Park and its February Ice Climbing Festival, go to www.lakecityiceclimbs.com.
- Lake City Ski Hill and Terrain Park
- Money spent on one “fancy resort” lift ticket will buy a day of fun for ten at the Lake City Ski Hill. Home to four runs of varying difficulty, the Ski Hill also includes a great terrain park that allows skiers and snowboarders to practice jumps, tricks and more. For fees and times of operation, contact the Lake City Area Recreation Department at 970-403-6301 or go to www.lakecityskihill.com.
- Ice Skating
- Part of Lake City Area Recreation’s winter program includes ice skating at Memorial Park. A rink is in operation from December to March (weather permitting). For information call 970-403-6301.
- Hinsdale Haute Route
- One of the crown jewels of Lake City and Hinsdale County is the Hinsdale Haute Route, a system of three yurts. Colorado’s highest hut route, the system features fully-stocked yurts and “top of the world” views. Each yurt sleeps six to eight people, and guide services are available. For more information, go to www.hinsdalehauteroute.org or www.lakecity.com.
November – Turkey Trot
December – Christmas in Lake City
February – Ice Climbing Festival, Matt Milski Ski Race, Ice Fishing Derby, Frozen River Film Festival
Access updated and detailed event information in the event calendarWinter Festival
Each February, a number of Hinsdale County organizations host the Winter Festival, a collection of fun weekend winter events that include an Ice Fishing Derby, Ice Climbing Festival, Matt Milski Ski Race, Snowmobile Rally, and Hot Air Balloon Festival.