2021 OHV Information – Hinsdale County & Town of Lake City

CDOT Approves OHV Pilot Project 2021 thru 2023

New OHV Pilot Program Approved for Three Years

March 18, 2021

Lake City, CO – Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Transportation Commission gave unanimous approval today to a new three-year Pilot Program that will allow Off-Highway Vehicles to operate on State Highway 149. This program makes it possible for OHV riders to travel the entire Alpine Loop Scenic Byway, which requires traveling on a 3.26-mile stretch of Hwy 149.

The Pilot Program will run seasonally in 2021, 2022 and 2023, from the Friday before Memorial Day through September 30 of each year. OHVs will be able to ride on Hwy 149 from CR 30 south of Lake City, to the Ocean Wave Drive intersection (MP 73.11) on the northern end of Lake City. OHVs are not permitted to ride on any other areas of the highway at any time outside the boundaries of the program.

OHVs are permitted on all Town and County roads. The Pilot Program only affects travel on the highway.

Hinsdale County, Town of Lake City and Hinsdale County Sheriff Department worked with CDOT representatives to identify specific considerations to be included in the pilot program permit that are intended to maximize the safety of OHVs traveling on the highway. After first reviewing the pilot program application in February, the Transportation Commission requested these safety conditions be included in the resolution up for approval.

Specific conditions of the pilot program include:

  • Revised and increased signage indicating the beginning and end of the route, speed limit, and dates when the program is in effect.
  • Any accidents involving OHVs will be reported to CDOT within 2 weeks of the incident.
  • The speed limit for the portion of SH 149 included in the pilot project will be lowered to 30 mph for all vehicles during the seasonal period of the program.
  • OHVs are required to follow Colorado traffic laws and County and Town OHV ordinances.
  • Hinsdale County Sheriff Department will hire an additional officer with a focus at enforcing ordinances regarding OHV’s.
  • Hinsdale County will increase penalties and fines for OHV infractions.
  • Education efforts to inform OHV riders of rules and safety will include volunteer-manned information stop, maps of the Pilot Program route with rules, informational material on OHV operation and the Pilot Program, information on the Hinsdale County and Lake City.com website and social media.
  • CDOT will be provided a report on the pilot program at the end of each OHV season, including specific data from law enforcement, CSP and CPW on numbers of accidents involving OHVs on the highway, warnings issued to OHV drivers, tickets issued to OHV drivers.
  • OHV counts on the portion of the highway included in the Pilot Program will take place eight times (twice per month) during the four-month duration of each year’s program. This information will be included in the end-of-the-season report to CDOT.
  • Hinsdale County will set up a link on the county website where the public can submit feedback/suggestions for the Pilot Program. This feedback will be incorporated into the annual end-of-season report to CDOT.

A similar Pilot program took place on Hwy 149 in the summers of 2019 and 2020. Following the close of the 2020 season, public input was solicited regarding the pilot program for consideration by Hinsdale County and the Town of Lake City for a possible application for a new pilot program. Following several separate and two joint meetings, county commissioners and town trustees directed their staff to work with CDOT on an application for a new three-year pilot program. This application was submitted in January, 2021.

Hinsdale County Press Release March 18, 2021

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/

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.

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.

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management March 16 Update

Hinsdale County Office of Emergency Management
7:50 pm March 16
A Comnet technician conducted testing in Lake City this evening. They believe all issues with the 911 system have been resolved.
The Hinsdale County coroner confirmed the fatality reported yesterday was not avalanche related.
More permanent barriers were installed in several areas today by Hinsdale County Road & Bridge.
Clearing work continues on the McJunkin / Hammonds Meadows slide.
The Town of Lake City has cleared all fire hydrants except those that are flagged due to non-disaster related maintenance issues.
Mineral County’s Sheriff’s department provided relief assistance in Hinsdale County today.
The emergency operations center is transitioning to remote staffing at 5:30 p.m. for the remainder of the weekend.
Follow Hinsdale County Facebook page or website for updates.
Sign up for Code Red Alerts on the Hinsdale County website

Town of Lake City Special Election Set For July 23, 2019

At the Regular Board of Trustees meeting on March 6, 2019, the Town Board scheduled a Mail Ballot Special Election for July 23, 2019 for the following:



​This will be a YES or NO vote.

This information was copied and pasted from the Town of Lake City, Colorado Facebook Page.

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