The Lake Capote Recreation Area is a privately-owned recreational facility located in southern Colorado. While it is not a natural lake, Lake Capote is a reservoir that was created by damming a creek in the early 1970s. The lake covers an area of approximately 160 acres and is surrounded by scenic mountains and forests.
Lake Capote has a rich history as a recreational destination. It was originally developed as a private fishing retreat, offering a serene and picturesque setting for anglers to enjoy. Over the years, the recreation area has expanded its offerings to include camping, boating, and other outdoor activities.
The lake is stocked with various fish species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon, providing excellent fishing opportunities for visitors. Anglers can fish from the shoreline or rent boats to explore the lake's waters. The area is known for its abundant wildlife, and visitors may spot deer, elk, or a variety of bird species while enjoying the natural surroundings.
In addition to fishing, Lake Capote offers camping facilities for both tents and RVs. There are designated campsites with picnic tables, fire pits, and access to restroom facilities. The campground provides a peaceful setting for visitors to relax, enjoy nature, and spend time with family and friends.
Over the years, the Lake Capote Recreation Area has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a tranquil escape in the Colorado mountains. It continues to attract visitors who appreciate its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and peaceful atmosphere.
Top Tourist Attractions
While the Lake Capote Recreation Area itself is a popular tourist attraction in southern Colorado, there are several other nearby points of interest that visitors can explore. Here are some top tourist attractions in the vicinity of Lake Capote:
- San Juan Mountains: The Lake Capote Recreation Area is situated in the scenic San Juan Mountains, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and wildlife viewing. The rugged beauty of the mountains attracts outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.
- Great Sand Dunes National Park: Located approximately 70 miles southwest of Lake Capote, Great Sand Dunes National Park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. Visitors can hike, sled, or even sandboard down the dunes, explore the diverse ecosystems, and marvel at the unique landscape.
- Rio Grande Scenic Railroad: Experience the beauty of the San Luis Valley aboard the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. The historic train ride takes you through picturesque landscapes, including the mountains, meadows, and the Rio Grande River, offering a memorable journey.
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad: Located near the town of Antonito, about an hour's drive from Lake Capote, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a historic narrow-gauge steam railroad. The train traverses the scenic San Juan Mountains, providing stunning views and a nostalgic experience.
- Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge: Situated just east of Alamosa, the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. It is known for its diverse bird population, including sandhill cranes, waterfowl, and raptors. Visitors can explore the refuge's trails and observation areas.
- Great Sand Dunes Oasis: Located near the entrance of Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Great Sand Dunes Oasis offers a range of amenities such as camping, cabins, and RV sites. It's a convenient base for visitors looking to explore the national park and its surroundings.
- Alamosa: The city of Alamosa serves as a gateway to the San Luis Valley and offers attractions such as the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, the San Luis Valley Brewing Company, and the Colorado Gators Reptile Park, where you can see alligators in an unexpected location.
These are just a few of the many attractions in the vicinity of Lake Capote Recreation Area. Whether you're interested in outdoor adventures, scenic landscapes, or wildlife encounters, the region offers a variety of experiences for visitors to enjoy.
- Summers (June to August): Summers in the Lake Capote area tend to be mild to warm. Average high temperatures range from the upper 70s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (25-30 degrees Celsius). However, temperatures can occasionally reach the 90s Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius) during hot spells. Nights are generally cool and pleasant, with temperatures dropping into the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius).
- Fall (September to October): Fall brings cooler temperatures to the area. Days become milder with average highs ranging from the upper 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (18-22 degrees Celsius). Nights start to get colder, and temperatures can drop into the 30s to 40s Fahrenheit (0-10 degrees Celsius). Fall foliage can be quite beautiful in the surrounding mountains.
- Winters (November to February): Winters in the Lake Capote area can be cold and snowy. Daytime temperatures typically range from the 30s to 40s Fahrenheit (0-5 degrees Celsius), but colder spells can bring temperatures below freezing. Nighttime temperatures frequently drop below freezing, with lows in the teens to single digits Fahrenheit (-10 to -20 degrees Celsius). Snowfall is common, and the surrounding mountains provide opportunities for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
- Spring (March to May): Spring is characterized by fluctuating temperatures as the region transitions from winter to summer. Days gradually become milder, with average highs in the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius). Nights remain chilly, and temperatures can still drop below freezing. Spring can also bring some precipitation, including rain showers and occasional snowfall.
It's important to note that weather patterns can vary from year to year, and mountainous areas can experience rapid changes in weather conditions. It's advisable to check local forecasts and pack appropriate clothing and gear for outdoor activities depending on the season you plan to visit the Lake Capote Recreation Area.
It is situated in the scenic San Juan Mountains region of the state. Here are some key geographical features of the area:
- Lake Capote: The main focal point of the recreation area is Lake Capote itself. It is an artificial reservoir created by damming a creek. The lake covers an area of approximately 160 acres and is surrounded by picturesque mountain views and forests.
- San Juan Mountains: The Lake Capote Recreation Area is nestled within the San Juan Mountains, which are part of the larger Rocky Mountains range. The San Juan Mountains are known for their rugged and majestic landscapes, with peaks reaching elevations exceeding 14,000 feet (4,267 meters). The mountains offer breathtaking views, hiking trails, and opportunities for outdoor exploration.
- Rio Grande River: The Rio Grande River, one of the longest rivers in North America, flows through the San Luis Valley, which is the broader geographic region that encompasses the Lake Capote area. The river adds to the scenic beauty of the landscape and provides opportunities for various water-based activities, including fishing and rafting.
- Forests and Wildlife: The Lake Capote Recreation Area is surrounded by forests composed mainly of coniferous trees, such as spruce and pine. These forests are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, elk, various bird species, and smaller mammals. Visitors to the area can enjoy nature walks, wildlife viewing, and birdwatching.
- High Elevation: The Lake Capote Recreation Area, like much of Colorado, is situated at a high elevation. The exact elevation of the lake may vary, but it is generally around 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 meters) above sea level. The high elevation contributes to the cool summers, crisp mountain air, and the stunning vistas that characterize the area.
Overall, the Lake Capote Recreation Area is characterized by its mountainous terrain, serene lake, and surrounding forests. Its location within the San Juan Mountains provides a picturesque setting for outdoor activities and exploration of the natural beauty of southern Colorado.