logotype
© 2011 DuranGO Outdoors
Vallecito Res. Water Elevation Vallecito Res. Water Elevation
Located about 22 miles Northeast of Durango, Vallecito Lake offers a variety of activities in a beautiful mountain setting not far from town. Vallecito, Spanish for "small valley" sits in an appropriately named valley at the confluence of Los Pinos and the Vallecito River which then flow southwest towards the city of Bayfield, Colorado. In 1911 and again in 1927 major flooding occurred which washed out bridges and part of the town. In order to protect local inhabitants and provide water for agriculture a dam was constructed beginning in 1938 and finished in 1941. Farming and ranching were the early and initial uses of the Vallecito Reservoir but it did not take long for Durango residents to see the recreational value. Homes and summer cabins started popping up along the shores and river valley. People wanting a quiet place by the lake with beautiful scenery and wildlife need look no further. There are now full service campgrounds, marina, RV parks and rental cabins for visitors and this site also provides a detailed map of the area. During the summer it is highly recommended that you make reservations in advance especially around holidays. Fishing at Vallecito Lake is one of the local favorite destinations because of the variety of sport fish that can be caught. Some of the species are: northern pike, kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, yellow perch and small mouth bass! This site provides more information on the fishing and fish species page and we invite you to join the "Durango Fishing Line Forums" where you can ask questions and share stories. There are Colorado State fishing regulations that need to be followed and you can visit their site for more information click here. Other activities people visit the lake for are: boating, water skiing, swimming, kayaking, hiking and horseback riding. In the winter there is ice fishing, Nordic skiing and dog sledding! The Vallecito Creek is a very popular kayaking spot in a beautiful narrow gorge that some consider the best mile of rapids in the area. Not for the novice boater this short trip is class V with multiple falls for almost the entire way and with rapids named "trashcan" and "fuzzy bunny" you know it is going to be gnarly. There is about a two mile hike-a-boat up from the Vallecito Creek campground to the put in and if you have never run this canyon it is highly recommended that you consult one of the local guides. Beautiful scenery, lots of things to do and close to Durango. Vallecito Lake is a great spot for a relaxing visit so grab the picnic basket pack up the kids and Go Outdoors. References USBR. (2011, May 11). Pine river project. Retrieved from http://www.usbr.gov/projects/Project.jsp?proj_Name=Pine River Project  Warlick, D. (2008). Bayfield vallecito lake history. Retrieved from http://dino3535.wordpress.com/bayfield-vallecito-lake-history.