Lake City

Lake City
Lake City has gone from boomtown to small town in the San Juans. | Photo by Jessica Feis / flickr

By John Leach

Lake City was one of the boomtowns from the gold and silver rush in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in the late 1800s and early 1900s. But the mines played out, and the town went into decline for decades before recovering as a tourist destination.

It is best known for Alferd Packer, who was twice convicted of killing one of five prospectors he led on an ill-fated trip through the mountains near Lake City in the winter of 1874. There was evidence that Packer fed on the remains of his victims.

Today, Lake City is a small town in the San Juans that draws tourists in the summer for hiking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, and camping, and for exploring the ghost towns and abandoned mines in the mountains nearby.

More Lake City
Lake City history

Hinsdale County Museum

Lake City facts
Population: 843 (2010 Census).
Land area: 0.8 square miles.
County: Hinsdale (Lake City is county seat).
Altitude: 8,761 feet above sea level.
Climate: Cool summers, very cold winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 14 inches, including average snowfall of 84 inches. Snow depth of 6 to 11 inches from December to March. January averages: high 34, low -1. July averages: high 77, low 45. More weather >>