Your Guide to Birding

in Hinsdale County

County Map Hinsdale County
Author(s):  James D. Beatty, Nathan Pieplow, Andrew Spencer
County Seat: Lake City
Size: 1,115 square miles
Low Elevation: 7,592 ft. - Piedra River on the Archuleta border
High Elevation: 14,309 ft. - Uncompahgre Peak
Best Birds: Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Checklist: Hinsdale County Checklist
Introduction: This is the least populated county in the state and one of the least visited by birders. During the tourist season there are more Texans here than Coloradans. Hinsdale County is dominated by the high San Juan Mountains, and only in the southern end of the county are there extensive stands of ponderosa pines. The best birding spots are several good lakes in the southeast portion of the county. Unfortunately, the county ends in the north before it reaches extensive sagebrush habitat.

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Birding Sites

American Basin
Habitat: Alpine Tundra, Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow, Stream
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Brown Lakes State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Mixed Conifer Forest
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Cebolla State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Mixed Conifer Forest, Stream, Streamside Willow, Cliff Face, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Engineer Pass Road
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra
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Lake City
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Urban/Suburban, Spruce-Fir Forest, Ponderosa Forest, Streamside Willow, Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Lake Fork of the Gunnison State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow
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North Clear Creek Campground
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willows, Mountain Meadow
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North Clear Creek Falls
Habitat: Stream, Streamside Willows
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Piedra Road (Hinsdale section)
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Streamside Willow, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Rio Grande Reservoir and Road Canyon Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Mixed Conifer Forest
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Rito Hondo State Wildlife Area and Continental Reservoir
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Spruce-Fir Forest, Sagebrush
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Slumgullion Pass
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow
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West Fork Road (FR 860)
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Stream, Streamside Willow, Mountain Meadow
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Williams Creek Reservoir
Habitat: Lake, Ponderosa Forest, Streamside Willow, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest
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eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Unusual Birds (eBird) in Hinsdale County


CBRC Accepted Records from Hinsdale County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Red Crossbill2007-046 7/4/2008
Baltimore Oriole2014-054 05/24/2014