This reservoir, the largest body of water in the La Plata County, is at relatively high elevation at 8,000 feet, surrounded by ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests. Popular with locals and tourists, the area can be busy on weekends and in the summer; amenities are available in the area, including lodging, groceries and gas. In migration, the water can attract loons, grebes, gulls, and quite a few species of ducks, including the occasional Barrow’s Goldeneye in winter. In October, dozens of Bald Eagles may gather at the lake, attracted by a plentiful supply of kokanee salmon. The forests around the lake support breeding Grace’s Warblers, Hammond’s, Dusky, and Cordilleran Flycatchers, and Dusky Grouse. Bears are in the area, but mule deer are a more likely sighting.
County: La Plata
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Ponderosa Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest
Directions: From downtown Durango drive north on US 550 to 15th Street and turn right. Then after a short distance merge left onto Florida Road which becomes CR 240. After about 13 miles continue on CR 240 by turning right at the Lemon Reservoir intersection. After about four miles at the bottom of the hill turn left (north) on CR 501. In about five miles at information signs turn right (east) onto CR 503 which crosses the dam on the south side of the reservoir. Continue to the east side and look for flycatchers near the campgrounds or on the forest roads that go east. During summer, the road is open all around the lake. During winter, back track across the dam and drive to the north end of the lake where the water is shallow.
Delorme: 87 A5
Roads of Colorado: 131 E4
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: US Forest Service
Lodging: Seven campgrounds and a motel in the area
Handicapped Access: Vallecito campground is accessible.