Lake San Cristobal, Colorado, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake San Cristobal — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Lake San Cristobal cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake San Cristobal

Surrounded by ghost towns and a rich mining history and in the shadows of some of the tallest mountains in the county, Lake San Cristobal is a beautiful place to play and explore. Unsurpassed scenery, wildlife, and recreation make the lake a great destination.

Second only to Grand Lake, Lake San Cristobal is the second largest natural lake in Colorado. It was formed over 700 years ago when the Slumgullion Earthflow blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. Started when heavy rains loosened the volcanic tuff and breccias, the earthflow slid down the southern flank of Mesa Seco. Around 350 years ago another earthflow started and it is still moving today sometimes as much as twenty feet a year. The more recent earthflow doesn’t impact the lake, but it’s an interesting stop for visitors to the lake. One of the best ways to explore the earthflow and surrounding area is on the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway or on one of the overlooks on the Silver Thread Scenic Byway. Surrounded by majestic mountains including five peaks over 14,000 feet, the byways are some of the most beautiful drives in the country.

In addition to enjoying truly beautiful scenery, visitors to Lake San Cristobal can fish from the shore or by boat for trout. There’s a boat ramp on the lake and in the winter there is ice fishing. There are also developed campsites around the lake for visitors wanting to extend their stay overnight.

The lake is surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest. Created in 1905 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the forest is a great place to see wildlife including elk, moose, and migratory waterfowl or to hike one of the many “14ers.” Trails lead up Redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies Peaks all of which are over 14,000 feet high. Lucky visitors to Gunnison National Forest may find Anasazi ruins and archeological study is still going on.

Lake City in Hinsdale County is the nearest city. Founded in 1874 when Enos Hotchkiss found gold, the city started as one of the many mining camps. Surrounded by ghost towns, today Lake City is a well preserved town with interesting turn of the century architecture.

With its rich history, interesting geological formations, and majestic scenery, Lake San Cristobal is a great place to enjoy from a boat, car, or mountaintop.

Things to Do at Lake San Cristobal

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest
  • Ruins

Fish Species Found at Lake San Cristobal

  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake San Cristobal

If you’re considering a Lake San Cristobal lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake San Cristobal Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake San Cristobal lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake San Cristobal Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 350 acres

Maximum Depth: 60 feet

Lake Area-Population: 375

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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