When the midsummer temperatures reach a peak, it is the time to seek some relief from the extreme heat! In order to find some cool relief, one must simply head north, head for the mountains or head for the water. The Lemon Reservoir Lake actually does fit in all three of these chill worthy destination categories and the historic town of Durango is nearby too!
The Lemon Reservoir is located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Lemon Lake is one of many flood retention dam reservoirs in the San Juan National Forest region that offer plenty of cool water for fun in the sun. Lake Nighthorse and Vallecito Lake are also located in this section of the San Juan National Forest and these two reservoir lakes are managed as recreation areas. Lake Nighthorse offers light craft rentals, while Vallecito Lake is a bit more commercialized. Many lodges, boat rentals and bait shacks can be found near the Vallecito Lake shoreline. Some visitors are attracted to the commercialized lakefront playground atmosphere of Lake Nighthorse and Vallecito Lake, while others seek a more peaceful setting where the sounds of Mother Nature can be easily heard. This is where the Lemon Reservoir fits into the picture, because this destination is located in a much more peaceful mountain pine forest setting that is not commercialized at all. Of the three lakes near Durango, the Lemon Reservoir is the best choice if you relish the thought of a peaceful wilderness experience!
The Lemon Reservoir is managed much more like a wilderness area than a lakeside family fun park. There are no watercraft rental businesses, cabin resorts or restaurants along the shoreline. For those who seek some time to get back into nature, the peaceful mode of Lemon Reservoir will suit them just fine!
The only downside is the access road to Lemon Reservoir is not paved. The dirt road is smooth enough for cars that have an average ground clearance, but there are some washboard sections that will shake the molars loose. This dirt road does hold up well in wet weather, but the same cannot be said about the short dirt side roads that go to the lakeside camping and picnic areas. The short National Forest side roads can turn into deep mud when water is added, so it is best to check the weather forecast before doing the trip.
Lemon Reservoir is open for light craft boating, wind surfing and paddle-boarding. The fishing is good at this hatchery stocked lake and a few award winning catches have been landed in the past. Lemon Reservoir also offers camping, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing, so there are plenty of things for the landlubbers to do too. Observing Mother Nature is a pastime in this picturesque setting and the Lemon Reservoir is most definitely a bird watcher’s paradise!
Lemon Reservoir certainly is an attractive place to be when the summertime heat reaches the boiling point! There are a lot of small lakes along the Million Dollar Highway in the San Juan National Forest, yet few offer the ease of access that can be found at the Lemon Reservoir. Best of all, this lake is more like a nature preserve than a commercial enterprise, so it is easy to get away from it all. If you happen to be looking for a cozy scenic place to get some peace and quiet while beating the summer heat, the Lemon Reservoir is the place to go!
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