Once we were finally settled in to living out here in the Southwest, Roy's stepmom and sister decided to introduce us to one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado. Vallecito (means Little Valley in Spanish) Lake is located only 18 miles from Durango and was never really established as an actual town. There is evidence that the ancient Anazasi had inhabited the area, then the Ute, before Francisco Coronado lead his troops northward from Mexico. They enslaved the Ute, making them work the silver and gold mines; then the French came along and finally the great expeditions to settle the Southwest. In other words, the area named Vallecito by the Spanish which is now Vallecito Reservoir, has a busy history due to the mining and the quest for those streets paved with gold.
Nowadays Vallecito Lake is rich with campers, hikers, boaters and visitors simply looking for a peaceful, scenic and serene place to relax and enjoy life. There are campgrounds galore all around the Lake which are run by the Forestry Service, so you'll need to reserve an area through them. Roy and I only spent a few hours visiting the area, but I know his relatives often enjoy spending days there camping out. The water is blue and clean; the air is crisp, and the quiet of the forest surrounds you. The campsites are a good distance apart, so no worries about bothering, or being bothered by, your neighbor. There are bears in the area, so you will need to take the necessary precautions concerning NOT having them visit you.
By the way boaters, please remember there are locals who live on the lake, yes, I said on the lake; they'd appreciate you not running them and their families over in your lust for speed.
Other local residents will expect a usage fee for being in their territory. Squirrels and chipmunks will be looking for peanuts (still in the shell) to add to their winter larder. During those cold, snowy days they'll be very appreciative of the friendly humans who helped build their supply.
Whether it's just for a few hours, or a few days; let a restful stop at Vallecito Lake take the stress away for awhile. Enjoy the visit!