Colorado state parks have some of the most unique and varying landscapes in the country. In these parks, you will find mountains, meadows, lakes, ponds, granite cliffs, waterfalls, sandstone caves, and raging rivers. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing, camping, hiking, and panning for gold. Some even offer plenty of opportunities to get outside in the winter. Venture out in the cold weather to ice fish, snowboard, cross-country ski, sled, or snowshoe. Some parks even offer camping year-round while others are day use only.
Located just southeast of Denver, Castlewood Canyon State Park is the perfect place for a daytime escape. It features various hiking trails ranging from a half-mile to four miles as well as opportunities for rock climbing for all skill levels. Cherry Creek winds through the canyon providing a great place to stop and take some pictures during hikes. One of the most interesting things to see here is the ruins of the Castlewood Dam which burst in 1933. Guests also enjoy birding, horseback riding, and picnicking.
Pearl Lake State Park is located in northern Colorado, close to the Wyoming border. The lake is situated north of Steamboat Springs and overlooks Farwell Mountain, providing some amazing views for visitors. A hiking trail leads along the lake and then deep into the surrounding forest. Guests enjoy fishing, paddle boarding, and boating as well as winter activities, including ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing. There are plenty of camping options, too, including backwoods sites, yurts, and cabins.
Rifle Falls State Park is located in the western part of the state just north of Rifle and Glenwood Springs. This is such a unique park that photographers and even movie crews visit from around the country to capture the gorgeous scenery on film. The 70-foot triple waterfall is one of the main attractions though the limestone caves beneath the falls draw in spelunkers and other curious visitors. There are plenty of ways to experience the park in the winter, too, including cross-country skiing. Multiple campsites are available and are open all winter long.
About 30 miles northeast of Denver, Barr Lake State Park offers something for everyone, no matter how they enjoy the outdoors. A level 8.8 mile trail circles the lake and is used by bicyclists, hikers, and horseback riders alike and a 3D archery range with various targets, including dinosaurs. The lake is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing plus it is home to a wildlife refuge that features pelicans, eagles, blue herons, osprey, and more. In the winter, visitors can go ice fishing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing to keep the fun going all year round.
Boyd Lake State Park has something for everyone. It is located just south of Fort Collins near the mountains of the Continental Divide and features a large lake with 1,700 surface acres of water. The lake is open for all types of watercraft, including fishing boats, sailboats, jet skis, and canoes, and is popular for ice skating in the winter. Guests also take advantage of a swim beach, paved bike trail, picnic areas, volleyball courts, and hiking trails. There are close to 150 paved campsites with electricity for overnight guests that can accommodate tents, campers, trailers, and motor homes. Camping is open throughout the winter, too.
The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a great place to visit for both thrill-seekers and people who just want to relax. Located west of Pueblo on the Arkansas River, this 152-mile stretch is one of the most popular destinations for white water rafting and kayaking in the country. Visitors also enjoy multiple mountain bike trails, fishing, picnicking, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and even panning for gold. Limited camping sites are available for staying overnight. They are perfect for people who enjoy roughing it in the great outdoors.
West of Steamboat Springs is Yampa River State Park which is comprised of three distinct areas. One is a 134-mile stretch of the beautiful Yampa River which features 13 access points for white water rafting, river boating, fishing, and six different camping areas. Park headquarters is located near Hayden on Highway 40 and provides access to 50 more campsites as we as a nature trail. The Elkhead Reservoir is the third component of the park and hosts swimming, fishing, boating, and camping as well as trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Staunton State Park lies southwest of Denver and first opened to the public in 2013. It features a varied topography with 8,100 feet high meadows, 10,000 feet high granite cliffs, and a lot of activities for visitors. Trails are available for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding and rock climbing there are plenty of places for rock climbing. Fishing is also popular at Davis Ponds, Elk Falls Pond, and the small streams weaving through the park. There are 25 campsites available for guests wishing to stay overnight.
Mueller State Park is about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs. It is a popular area for watching wildlife and home to black bear, elk, mule deer, and hawks. With over 5,000 acres of forests, meadows, ponds, and granite peaks in the park, it is a rewarding spot for photographers during any season. There are plenty of opportunities for recreation, too, including 44 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding plus sledding, tubing, and snowshoeing in the winter. Log cabins and yurts are available to rent, and there are year-round camping spots available.
Roxborough State Park, located just 15 miles sound of Littleton, is a large, 4,000-acre park. It features stunning red rock formations and has been designated an Important Birding Area by the Audubon Society. Be sure to take a camera when exploring the park's 14 miles of hiking trails to document the stunning red rock formations and sandstone spires and ridges. This day-use park is even beautiful in the winter. Visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing along the trails.