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 only remote places can boast. Ice crystals sparkle on whitened lakes and ice-laden creeks and waterfalls are frozen in motion until the spring thaw. From mountain peaks to windswept valleys, this may be the truest time when our San Juan Mountains shine.
Come to Lake City in the winter and enjoy less expensive places to stay, great food, outstanding weather, and 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.
Tips for visiting Lake City in the Winter
November through March
- 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 winter months.
- Recreational opportunities include over 100 miles of snowmobile and multipurpose groomed trails, a local ski hill and terrain park, ice climbing, The 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 includes a number of entry points at Spring Creek Pass, Slumgullion Pass, and Penniston Park, all 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.
Just a few blocks from historic downtown, Lake City’s Ice Park, open from December through 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.
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!
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 more information, visit their website.
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.
- Turkey Trot
- Christmas in Lake City
- Ice Climbing Festival
- Matt Milski Ski Race
- Snowshoe 5k/10k Race
- Ice Fishing Derby
Find detailed event information in our event calendar.