Colorado Parks and Wildlife celebrates Colorado Day on the first Monday in August with free entrance into all state parks. We gathered together some of our most breathtaking parks to showcase the beauty and splendor of this great state. You can’t go wrong with any of the 42 state parks Colorado has to offer, but if you’re looking to take advantage of the free entrance fee this holiday and can’t decide where to go, we figured we’d narrow it down for you. Lace up those hiking boots, put on some sunscreen, and venture out to explore what these Colorado state parks have in store for you.
Rugged mountains, alpine lakes, spectacular scenery and countless outdoor recreation opportunities make the 71,000 acres of State Forest State Park a high-country jewel.
In the summer, visitors can hike, ride horses, bike and four-wheel through all kinds of terrain. Other recreation opportunities include geocaching and hunting. There are four campgrounds, designated dispersed campsites, and backcountry camping as well as cabins and yurts. Anglers will find outstanding fishing along the Canadian and Michigan rivers, on the North Michigan Reservoir and Ranger Lakes, and on many other alpine lakes in the park.
Oh, and did we mention moose? With a population of around 600, moose are out and about for year-round viewing.
With a 3-mile long reservoir set amid fragrant sagebrush and great views of the Flat Top Mountains, Stagecoach offers wonderful outdoor recreation in the lush Yampa Valley.
Anglers will find good cold-water fishing in the lake, which is known for its fast-growing and hard-fighting rainbow trout, as well as northern pike and a few brown trout. Two hundred bird species await birdwatchers, including white-faced ibis, American white pelicans, mountain bluebirds and both dusky and sharp-tailed grouse. Mule deer, elk, cottontails and many other mammals are common. Waterfowl and small game hunting are allowed in some areas.
Stagecoach has eight miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Boaters, jet and water skiers, sailors and canoeists will find good recreation, with both wakeless and wake-permitting areas, as well as rentals and a full service marina.
One of the true jewels of Colorado, Steamboat Lake State Park has something special for everyone. Whatever your preference, well-deserved relaxation and recreation awaits you.
Hahn's Peak frames the breathtaking scenery of this premier park offering family fishing, camping, picnicking, trail and boating recreational opportunities. A full-service Marina and swim beach provide amenities for active water play.
At 8,100 feet elevation, the park beckons hikers and mountain bikers with over seven miles of trails connecting to even more in the surrounding Routt National Forest. Wildlife watchers may glimpse sandhill cranes, bald eagles, osprey, elk, deer, bears, coyotes, foxes and a variety of small mammals and birds.
Imagine fishing, water skiing or camping on a 400-acre reservoir against the backdrop of stunning mountain peaks and you’ll have an idea of the scene at Crawford, located just 12 miles from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. At 6,600 feet elevation, the mild climate offers outdoor recreation four seasons of the year.
Anglers will find rainbow trout, perch, crappie, largemouth bass, catfish and northern pike in the lake’s waters. Boating opportunities include jet and water skiing, sailing, canoeing and swimming.
Piñon-juniper woodlands with mountain mahogany, Gambel oak and other shrubs dominate the uplands, with areas of sagebrush, desert shrubs and grasses. Wetlands and riparian areas around the reservoir attract a variety of wildlife and songbirds. Wildlife watchers will often find beavers, chipmunks, rabbits and mule deer at the shoreline late in the evening.
Vega is Spanish for “meadow,” and this park earns its name! Here, visitors can enjoy many lush montane meadows filled with wildflowers. Set at 8,000 feet on the northeast edge of Grand Mesa, Vega is a great year-round destination for enjoying the Colorado outdoors.
The meadows and surrounding slopes of aspen and mountain shrubs beckon hikers, bikers, horseback riders and bird and wildlife watchers. The park provides easy access to hundreds of miles of trails in Grand Mesa National Forest.
The 900-acre reservoir offers good trout fishing and opportunities for sailing, canoeing, jet and water skiing and other water sports. In summer, osprey nest atop a platform at the edge of the lake and hunt dramatically above the water.
Visit the Parks Page to learn more about these and the remaining 36 Colorado state parks.