Best time to visit Colorado

Alta Lakes

A magical Alpine setting by the three lakes


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Three Alta Lakes are located on the back side of the Palmyra Peak and Telluride Resort. A popular skiing and snowmobiling destination in winter becomes excellent fly fishing, camping, hiking, and paddle boarding site in the summer. The main highlight in the lakes area are the remains of the Alta Lakes Ghost Town. The town situated between Telluride and Rico has several original buildings from the mining activity there in 1877-1948. During World War II, the town was functional until the mill burned down and then it became abandoned. However, now the ghost town is located on private property, and biking and hiking are not allowed through there.

Female mallards at Alta Lakes 2020
Female mallards at Alta Lakes

Alta Lakes features a beautiful and popular campground located at an elevation of 3,353 m (11,000 feet). This perfect summer weekend destination is available from late June, when the snow melts, to late September. There are about 20 designated free sites that are available for seven-day limited camping, two vault toilets, and no water.

From top of Alta Lakes 2020
From top of Alta Lakes

To get to Alta Lakes, start driving south from the Mountain Village near Telluride on Highway 145 toward Lizard Head pass. You will see a forest service sign for Alta Lakes on your right and a dirt road right after it to your left. This 5-mi (8 km) hilly road is one way and requires a high clearance vehicle. Downhill vehicles should yield to uphill traffic.

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