Lake City, Colorado

This summer we took our first trip to San Juan mountains. This is an area of Colorado that is known for its off-road trials, so I have been wanting to take our jeep there for quite some time. We started our stay in Lake City, a small community that caters to off-roaders and their needs. Right outside of Lake City is where you can find Colorados largest nature lake, Lake San Cristobal. The lake is gorgeous, and The Inn at the Lake was a perfect spot for our stay. A quiet place with amazing staff, and delicious breakfast. The Inn at the Lake is one of our favorite places we have ever stayed, and a return stay is definitely in our future.

Lake San Cristobal was the perfect place for us to start our exploring, it is hub for what is known as the Alpine Loop. A 60 plus mile long off-road trail that is made up of Cinnamon Pass, Animas forks, and Engineer Pass.

Cinnamon Pass summit

Cinnamon is first up when you start out at Lake San Cristobal. It is rated as an easy trail. It has a rocky terrain, and steep drop offs in spots but a high clearance vehicle with proper tires is all that is needed. There are some other trails off of the main route, one that was recommended to us to explore was the American basin. It was wild flower season while we were there and the American Basin is one of the best places in the area to see colors of the flowers. Linked is a short video of our trip up Cinnamon pass.

Cinnamon Pass ends at the historic Animas Forks townsite. Give yourself time there to explore the structures. You can venture into Silverton for coffee and a bite of breakfast at Coffee Bear, before heading back Animas Forks and up Engineer Pass back into Lake City.

Engineer Pass is considered one of Colorados most scenic, and trust me it lives up to its reputation. It can be intimidating in spots, but wow what drive. Engineer is a Jeep badge of honor trail, but is not an extremely technical trail. The views you will see traveling up from Animas Forks to the summit are stunning. I cannot recommend this trail enough. Even if you do not have a Jeep, or vehicle capable of the trail get to the San Juans and rent one. You will not be disappointed. Click the link for a video of our trip on Engineer Pass.

After a full day on the trail we decided it was time to relax and grab some dinner. Lake City has many great places to grab a bite to eat, even a couple of BBQ options. It was a Sunday night when we got off Engineer and arrived back in town and Southern Vittles had ribs on special for 19.99 that night so naturally that is what I chose. It was very good, especially for the price. It came with hush puppies and fries. I would eat this every Sunday night if I lived there. The wife had a pulled pork and sausage sandwich that she was very happy with.

Our time in Lake City was short, but memorable. We were moving on to the other side of the mountains to continue our San Juan adventure in Ouray Colorado. We will cover our time in Ouray in another post, but I will tell you we have a return trip to Ouray booked already. In the meantime keep traveling, exploring, spending time with loved ones, and eating good food.

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