Rico is a fast growing tiny town of just over 250 (up 25% since 2000) located along Colorado Highway 145 in Dolores County in Southwest Colorado. The population of Rico has undergone drastic changes (up and down) throughout its existence. Trappers occupied the area around what is now Rico in the 1830s; but Rico was not founded as a mining town until about 1878. Rico was the original county seat of Dolores County; but was replaced by Dove Creek as mining lost influence in the county. The current Rico City Hall is the old county courthouse and was completed in 1892. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For years I have carried the image in my mind and heart of Trout Lake as the most beautiful alpine lake I have ever seen ... translucent water so clear you can see the big trout swimming along her bottom, a mantle of spruce and pine and aspen and snuggled down in a towering bowl of surrounding craggy mountain peaks.
Many an hour I have been suspended upon her surface, surrounded by wonder. Fishing there is a challenge, for if you can see the fish they can see YOU as well. And yet the reward if you succeed is the food of the gods, pan-fried sunshine. And the reward if you fail is to have been surrounded by the wonders of God's Creation for many unforgettable hours.
Shockingly, when I visited in July 2013, her level had been drastically and intentionally lowered. I believe this is a temporary condition, but it is heart-breaking nonetheless. It is like seeing the love of your life ravaged by cancer, yet bravely fighting on.
Don't give up, little lake! Your beauty will be restored!
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124 S. Highway #145, P.O. Box 65, RICO, COLORADO 8
Good for: Business
The historic, now-abandoned, "Galloping Goose" narrow-gauge railway used to carry passengers as well as precious ores such as silver and gold in a bustling, vibrant lifeline weaving the Dolores River Valley into a whole-cloth community from Telluride to Rico to Dolores and many of the mining camps along the way.
Now, it is silent, but traces of the legacy remain.
The abandoned trestle at the far end of the valley where Trout Lake nestles is a wonderful site for a family picnic or just a gathering.
When you pull off the highway onto the road that encircles Trout Lake, you can enjoy a leisurely and luscious drive around the lake and around the mountain slopes, past dreamy campsites, finally emerging at the summit at the San Miguel County line, where a more formal picnic area is found.