Lakeside destinations in the San Juan Mountains are popular summer destinations, especially when a wave of extreme heat envelops the Southwest. In the mountains of Colorado, there are a wide variety of lake destinations to choose from. Fortunately, luxurious big city comfort is the least available option, so 99% of the lake destinations in this state will be found in natural settings. The lakeside environments range from recreation areas and aquatic sports parks to peaceful natural bodies of water that can only be accessed by doing a long hike. By doing a little research ahead of time, a visitor can find a local lake venue that best suits the fancy!
For many modern travelers, camping at motels is what has to be done, because of medical maintenance schedules or business communications. However, more manufacturers are designing medical equipment and communications systems to suit the needs of the camper marketing sector. Advances in technology have enabled hikers to use a GPS device to text message even when no phone signal is available, so there is no need to hike or drive 50 miles back to town just to send a message. The modern portable solar power stations and solar panels provide sustainable power source for medical patients dependent on electrical devices and campers that need to power up everything from a laptop to a small appliances. Advances have been made in portable refrigerators and air conditioners too and these new low wattage devices can be operated with a portable solar power station. Basically what this all adds up to is a modern camper can go completely off the grid and still have all the modern conveniences found back home. Now a week long vacation at a mountain lake that is 100 miles away from the closest city does not look too far away to reach!
Roadside lake destinations by far are the most popular, because of the convenience. Paved roads can be a rarity in National Forests, but many of the lake destinations that are close to a town are designed for city drivers that just want to spend a little time enjoying the great outdoors, so the dirt roads are well maintained. These kinds of lake destinations are good for greenhorns that are just taking the first steps into the woods, because civilization is nearby and many risks are minimized.
The Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area is a good example of an easy access lakeside destination that is near a small city. The interior roads are smooth, running water is available, there are RV slips and the campgrounds have better than average facilities. This lakeside destination is about 19 miles north of Durango, Colorado on the Million Dollar Highway, so civilization is not too far away. Hermosa Creek is practically across the street and modern conveniences can be found there too.
For the locals in Durango, the Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area is a convenient little spot to find some peace and quiet while doing some fishing. For travelers planning a week long vacation, the National Forest campgrounds at Haviland Lake are a gateway to adventures further uphill in the San Juan Mountains. For the weekend warriors and overnighters, the many hiking trails in this lakeside park will keep them plenty busy, but of course, that is if not all the vacation time is spent lazing under a shade tree with a cork bobbing in the water!
Haviland Lake certainly is located in a picturesque setting that is perfect for an afternoon picnic by the water. The towering Hermosa Cliffs overlook this lake and the tall pines of the San Juan National Forest border upon the shoreline. There is an old horse ranch along the access road, which gives this destination an escape to the country kind of feel. There are several other lakes nearby and the Animas River runs through this valley, so fly fishermen looking for their own private little sweet spot will likely find what they seek.
Because Haviland Lake is a Colorado State Wilderness Area, special restrictions do apply, especially for boating. For this reason it is best to check the National Forest Service website when making plans. All the roads are well maintained in this park and there are even places to park a horse. The main campground is located right next to the lake, while the Chris Park Group Campground is located a little deeper in the woods. Everything in this park is handicap accessible, which is a real plus. The lake is stocked with native trout species, so grilled trout and eggs for breakfast can be placed on the campsite menu!
The Haviland Lake State Wildlife Area certainly is a convenient roadside destination and this spot can be busy during the peak summer tourist season. The Haviland Lake Campgrounds are in the National Forest reservation system and it is best to book a campsite well in advance if a weekend trip is in the plans. Haviland Lake is a nice peaceful destination that is near civilization, so this is a great choice for those who just need a cozy little spot to get away from it all!
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