Hinsdale County, Colorado – State of the County 2021


State of the County 2021 Statement

Continental Divide Trail Coalition Announcement May 14, 2020

LAKE CITY, Colo. (May 14, 2020) – Nestled in the San Juan Mountains at the headwaters of the Gunnison River, Lake City, Colorado, is a small community known for its mining heritage, its pristine beauty, and the plentiful opportunities it offers to enjoy the natural areas surrounding it. Beginning next week, Lake City will also be known for the role it plays as a gateway to an outdoor destination that brings visitors from around the world to southern Colorado each summer – the Continental Divide Trail.

On Thursday, May 21, at 7 PM MT, the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) will welcome Lake City as the newest official Gateway Community to the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail during a virtual designation ceremony streamed live on Facebook. CDT Gateway Communities are trailside towns recognized by CDTC as welcoming destinations for trail visitors, dedicated to protection and promotion of the trail. Lake City will be the seventh CDT Gateway Community in Colorado.

“Although we’re not able to sign the proclamation in person, we’re incredibly excited to officially designate Lake City as a CDT Gateway Community.” said Teresa Martinez, Executive Director of CDTC. “As a town that is so clearly dedicated to enjoying both the recreational and economic benefits of the public lands that surround it, Lake City will fit naturally into the greater network of CDT Gateway Communities who value the trail and are interested in contributing to its stewardship.

While the dedication was originally scheduled to take place during the annual San Juan Solstice ultramarathon in June, the race was canceled due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19. The virtual format, however, will allow Lake City lovers and CDT enthusiasts from all over to take part in the celebration.

“There’s a tremendous amount of love for Lake City, our trail, and our trail-champions, so we are really very excited about this!” said Hinsdale County Commissioner and Lake City resident, Kristine Borchers. “Hinsdale County is a community and landscape bound by pathways: the Silver Thread Scenic Byway, the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, and some of the best-groomed snowmobile routes in Colorado. The Continental Divide Trail traverses our county in 71.7 miles over three segments. The designation of Lake City as a Gateway Community is an inspiring step for us in the stewardship and celebration of our trails.”

Along with celebrating Lake City’s dedication to outdoor recreation and stewardship, the designation will bring a taste of the town’s laid-back mountain culture to living rooms across the country with musical performances from local musicians, Wylie “Crazy Horse” Jones and Kris Bloomer.

“I’m honored to be playing the celebration,” said Wylie “Crazy Horse” Jones. “I’m a long-distance hiker that’s thankful to have spent a lot of time in Lake City and on the Divide. It’s my favorite place to hang out, play music, and stop on trail, in no small part to one of my best friends, Lucky, who built and runs Raven’s Rest Hostel.”

Lake City has long been known for its diverse outdoor opportunities, from fishing and horseback riding to mountain biking and, most famously, motorized and off-highway vehicle recreation, but it’s only recently become a popular destination for Continental Divide and Colorado Trail hikers. Thanks to an organized network of “Trail Angels,” thru-hikers can catch a free ride 17 miles into town, and most opt to stay at the Raven’s Rest Hostel, which was founded in 2012 by former thru-hiker, Cionnaith “Lucky” O’Dubhaigh. Thanks to O’Dubhaigh’s efforts to dispel skepticism toward long-distance hikers, Lake City residents now value the economic power these visitors bring to their town, and local businesses work during the busy summer hiking season to provide needed goods and services to hikers.

The virtual designation ceremony is free to the public and will be streamed Thursday, May 21, at 7 PM MT via Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/continentaldividetrailcoalition. The Facebook Live video can be viewed by anyone, regardless of whether they have a Facebook account, and will be available for replay at the same link.

Press release from https://continentaldividetrail.org/2020/05/14/lake-city-becomes-newest-cdt-gateway-community/

Lake City DIRT Receives 2020 National Main Street Accreditation


Lake City, Colorado (March 1, 2020) – Lake City DIRT has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs to recognize their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™

“These programs deserve recognition for becoming accredited and generating impressive economic returns, preserving community character, and celebrating local history. Main Street America Accredited communities are part of a powerful movement of changemakers, and their dedication to improving quality of life in the places they call home is inspiring,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center.

Lake City DIRT’s performance is annually evaluated by the Colorado Main Street program under the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.

Since Lake City DIRT’s acceptance into the program in 2005, we have met or exceeded the standards for accreditation every year, thanks to hard work of our Board of Directors, project volunteers, and through the support of our local governments.  Thank you, community.


Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for more than 40 years. Today, it is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $78.98 billion in new public and private investment, generated 640,017 net new jobs and 143,613 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 284,936 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

(Permission to post by DIRT 3-3-20)

Colorado Counties, Inc. FB Post January 10, 2020

We love a good counties helping counties story here at CCI. Here is a photo of the clearing of Cinnamon Pass in Hinsdale County. Communicating with our high-mountain, remote counties was especially important during the 2019 spring/summer opening of the Alpine Loop. This partnership with Road & Bridge departments and assistance during a record snowfall / run-off year was vital for Hinsdale County. Mutual aid also came from Emergency Managers and Sheriff’s Offices to Hinsdale from Gunnison, San Juan, San Miguel, Mineral, and Ouray counties, multiple State of Colorado agencies, and private companies such as Wagner Equipment. #countiesmatter #teamwork
Photo by JoAllen Blowers, Road & Bridge Supervisor

Image may contain: sky, snow, cloud, outdoor and nature
  • Mike Willis It was an absolute privilege to coordinate State and federal efforts through a Unified Coordination Group last spring to help make sure Hinsdale County communities were safe. We’re ready to go again this year if needed!

The Hiker Who Never Left – Backpacker Magazine Article – January 6, 2020

“Just letting you know that the story about Lake City and Lucky was just published by Backpacker yesterday. It’s online here and will also be on print stands through February… The story has had a very positive reaction so far. And please keep me in the loop about Gateway Community status!”
Chris Walker
Backpacker Magazine

Lake City Fall 2019 Activities


Fall Colors and 14ers
In September, this remote part of the San Juans begins to flaunt its incomparable beauty when gold, red, orange, and yellow “brilliance” lights up the scenery.What better way to experience the beauty of fall in the San Juans than challenging yourself to a 14er? Lake City is blessed with five: Uncomphagre, Redcloud, Sunshine, Wetterhorn, and Handies.
OHV Rally & Festival
This Labor Day Weekend event is designed to make access to Lake City’s incredible backcountry easier for off-road enthusiasts. With a permit for Hwy 149, there’s no need to trailer to most trailheads, even from your vacation rental or hotel room. Along with a gorgeous ride, enjoy live music, a community dinner, and an OHV raffle.
Annual Uncorked Wine & Music Festival
Join Lake City for the Annual Uncorked Wine & Music Festival where good friends, good music, and good wine under the fall leaves of Historic Downtown Lake City await. Seven bands, more than 80 wines for tasting, beer from San Luis Valley Brewing Company, and unique food and artisan treasures make this a very special day.
Oktoberfest and Fall Festival
Join in Lake City’s party of the year. Beer taps and festival games begin at 10 am. Enjoy live music, vendors, and fun all day long.
Before you venture into Lake City’s famous backcountry, we encourage you to check the Hinsdale County Website for backcountry road conditions.

Alpine Loop Scenic Byway & August is Lake City’s History Month 2019

The Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway is OPEN! See Colorado’s backcountry like never before on the Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway, NOW OPEN and as majestic as ever!The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, a network of four-wheel-drive roads that connect Lake City, Ouray, and Silverton, traverses passes up to 12,800 feet while showcasing old mines, ghost towns, natural wonders, beautiful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife.If you’ve never driven the Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway, what are you waiting for? Now that the snow is cleared away and the landscape is bursting with life, it’s the best time ever to see Colorado’s backcountry like never before.Get started today by picking up a map at the Lake City Visitor Center, located at 800 Gunnison Ave, or visiting LakeCity.com.
August is History Month in Lake City
This August, celebrate Lake City’s long and varied history by participating in one—or all—of the events scheduled throughout the month. From musical performances and tours to shoot outs and a Victorian tea, there’s something for everyone. For details, please visit our events calendar.
Schedule of Events
August 1st  
Colorado Day with a String Academy Performance and Pub Crawl

August 2nd  
Pioneer Jubilee Women’s Club Chuckwagon Supper, Western Dance, and Silent Auction
August 3rd   
Volcanoes of Lake City and Stick Horse Show
August 10th
Lake City Old West Shooters Shoot-out

August 20th
Back in Thyme Victoria Tea

August 23rd
Mito de Soto, Spanish American guitarist

August 24th
Lake City Old West Shooters Shoot Out

August 31st
Tour of the Rose Lime Kilm site

August 31st
Lake City Old West Shooters Shoot-out


Ghost Tours
Ghost tours will be hosted by the Hinsdale County Historical Society on certain Friday nights throughout August. Meet at 8 pm at the Museum. Bring flashlights and a jacket.

Cemetery Tours
Cemetery Tours will be held Tuesday mornings in August at 10:30 am. Meet at the Museum.

Ute Ulay Self-Guided Tour
Self-guided Ute Ulay interpretive brochures offer an insight into historical life.

Before you venture into Lake City’s famous backcountry, we encourage you to check theHinsdale County Website for backcountry road conditions.

Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway OPEN July 16, 2019

The Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway is OPEN!
See Colorado’s backcountry like never before on the Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway,NOW OPEN and as majestic as ever!

The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, a network of four-wheel-drive roads that connect Lake City, Ouray, and Silverton, traverses passes up to 12,800 feet while showcasing old mines, ghost towns, natural wonders, beautiful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife.

Along the way, check out the following points of interests in order from Cinnamon Pass to Engineer Pass:

Get a bird’s eye view of the once-bustling city that serviced the profitable Black Wonder Mine.

In a space of a few miles, see the historic buildings of at least six towns that once existed here during the height of mining in the San Juans.

American Basin, one of the most photographed places in Colorado, is home to a spectacular show of wildflowers.

This old mining town has a number of well-preserved buildings and serves as a junction for several four-wheel-drive roads.

What are you waiting for? 
If you’ve never driven the Alpine Loop Scenic Backcountry Byway, what are you waiting for? Now that the snow is cleared away and the landscape is bursting with life, it’s the best time ever to see Colorado’s backcountry like never before.

Get started today by picking up a map at the Lake City Visitor Center, located at 800 Gunnison Ave or visiting LakeCity.com.

Before you venture into Lake City’s famous backcountry, we encourage you to check the Hinsdale County Website for backcountry road conditions.

Hinsdale County UCG Flood Risk Update June 15, 2019

Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City faced many challenges while responding to the threat of flooding resulting from abundant snowpack and unprecedented avalanche activity along the Henson Creek and Lake Fork river. Working together, and with the support of the State of Colorado, Bureau of Land Management, National Resource and Conservation Services, and other organizations, Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City have accomplished a great deal in a short time. The following is a brief sample of their many accomplishments.

Heavy equipment was brought in to remove debris and haul it out of the area to reduce the risk of debris flows. The amount of debris and the corresponding threat has been dramatically reduced.

The Colorado Department of Natural Resources was tasked with evaluating dam safety. With local partners, they determined that the Ute-Ulay dam did not pose a significant risk. However, the Hidden Treasure dam had the potential to become blocked, hold water, and then fail, creating a substantial debris flow. It was recommended that the dam be removed. Contractors began deconstruction, but as the work progressed it was determined that the risk to the community could be mitigated while preserving a portion of the historic Hidden Treasure dam for future generations.

Colorado Department of Transportation evaluated bridges in the affected area. Heavy equipment has been and will continue to be used to remove debris and prevent them from collecting at bridges.

The Town and County devised a public warning system using automated cell phone and landline notifications, and door to door notification by governmental personnel. A warning siren with voice messaging capability has been installed in the Town of Lake City, and a second warning siren will soon be erected to supplement the system.

Over the course of the last six weeks preparedness plans have been developed from the community. Representatives from the Town, County, State and supporting agencies met on June 14, 2019, for a plan rehearsal. Participants ran through a mock exercise to test the alert and warning, evacuation, and re-entry plans. They then provided input. This information will be incorporated into the document.

Critical facilities in Lake City were identified, and the Army Corps of Engineers and others worked to develop plans to protect facilities necessary for the operation of the town, as well as buildings with historical significance. Based on the advice of engineers, an earthen berm was improved along the north bank of the Henson Creek. A second berm made from large sandbags weighing as much as 4 thousand pounds each was constructed south of the Henson Creek to divert flood waters away from homes and businesses. Large sandbags were also used to protect structures between the berms on the south side of Henson Creek. Moreover, approximately 25,000 individual sandbags were filled and distributed throughout the community to homes and businesses.

With these mitigations in place, the threat to Hinsdale County and Lake City is significantly reduced. The Unified Coordination Group sent to assist with the preparedness effort has stood down. Remaining mitigation work will be overseen by local recourses.

Although not anticipated, State of Colorado and emergency management partners stand ready to respond if Hinsdale County needs assistance in the future.

Above was taken from email sent on June 15, 2019 from the Public Information Officer, Michael Davis.

Emergency Flooding Information for Lake City

May 28, 2019
This is regarding the Emergency Status Updates for the possibility of Flooding in Lake City.
The best way to keep informed with the most accurate and up-to-date information are the following:
  1. Sign up for the CodeRed App on your phone.
  2. Can call the Public Information number at 970-648-4118.
  3. Check the www.facebook.com/hinsdalecountycolorado page for daily updates. (You do NOT have to have a facebook account.)
  4. Check the Hinsdale County Website at www.hinsdalecountycolorado.us
We currently have multiple local and state agencies assisting with preparations and they are doing an amazing job.
Please keep yourself informed with accurate information.
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