Tucked into a steep valley between the Powderhorn Wilderness and the Umcompaghre National Forest, the Colorado town of Lake City seems to make good on one of its claims to fame: Most remote incorporated town in the United States.
It’s an easy sell.
A five hour drive from Parker, it takes about an hour southwest of Gunnison on Colo. 149 to wind your way into this old mining town that has a laidback yet bustling town center. But once you’re here, get ready to experience Colorado High Country at its best.
Lake City boasts a refurbished old downtown with rebuilt boardwalk, lots of eateries, and all the outdoor activity you can pack into a four-day weekend.
You’ll find a plethora of lodging options in the cabins and small motels throughout town, or you rent one of the private luxury cabins surrounding Lake City.
In the summer, you can even catch a movie on the weekends at The Mountaineer Theatre, a one-screen first-run movie theater.
Scores of hiking trails lead right out of town. And there’s fly and rod fishing on the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River or Lake San Cristobal, the second-largest natural lake in Colorado, where you can also spend a morning canoeing or paddleboarding.
And perhaps one of the most popular activities here is spending a day traversing the Alpine Loop Scenic and Historic Byway, a network of 4X4 roads connecting Lake City, Ouray and Silverton. On your journey, check out several ghost towns — including Animas Forks, Capital City, Carson and Eureka — and white-knuckle up and down 12,000-foot mountain passes.
Lake City is the only town in Hinsdale County. Once you see the steep mountains and high-country peaks that surround on all sides, you understand why.
The beauty about Lake City — besides the obvious jaw-dropping Mother Nature towering around you — is it’s a true mountain getaway. No three-hour traffic jams, or thousands of weekend warriors vying for the same experience. Here, you’ll find peace and quiet.
And hopefully a fish at the end of your line.
Lake City Weekend Must-Dos
• Breakfast at Lake City Bakery. Don’t miss the cinnamon rolls!
• Rent your off-highway vehicle at Lake City Auto & Sports for a daylong or half-day adventure. This local shop knows the dos and don’ts and ins and outs of the 65-mile-long Alpine Loop.
• After a hard but rewarding day on the trail, cruise into Lake City Brewing Co. for a cold one and a burger.
• Looking to get outfitted for your day on Lake San Cristobal, The Outdoorsman Outdoors and Fly Shop knows what’s biting when.
• Revisit your Colorado history at the Alferd Packer Cannibal Massacre Site just five minutes outside town.
• Sip on a craft cocktail at Climb An Elevated Eatery while you wait for your chef-prepared dinner. Check out the Bison Tenderloins or Marinated Colorado Lamb Chops.
• For accommodations, you can choose from one of the private luxury cabin rentals right outside town, or choose the in-town quaint and clean G&M Cabins.