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It’s absolutely no secret that Colorado has some of the most scenic landscapes in the United States. In general, most individuals usually spend their time in nature at National Parks or Monuments. However, there are several Colorado State parks that will truly make you fall in love with nature and amplify an individual’s love for exploring. Here is a complete guide to all of the Colorado State Parks and our favor feature at each of them

James M. Robb Colorado River State Park

Source: Daniel Smith/Wikipedia

Named after a civic leader and champion of state parks, James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is broken into five distinct sections, which is known as the “string of pearls.”

These “pearls” stretch from Fruita in the west to Island Acres in the east with Connected Lakes, Colorado River Wildlife Area, and Corn Lake in between.

Biking, birding, fishing, boating, camping, swimming, and whitewater rafting are just some of the activities one might enjoy at this state park.

Check out the Connected Lakes trail for a groomed, six-mile path which meanders around three lakes!

Castlewood Canyon State Park

Castlewood home
Source: Chris Waits/Flickr

Featuring a natural amphitheater as well as a charming gazebo, this state park is frequently used for weddings and outdoor ceremonies and is home to the ruins of the Castlewood Dam, which burst in 1933.

A fun fact about Castlewood Canyon: in the summer months, it is home to one of the largest populations of turkey vultures in the state!

Aside from hiking and horseback riding, Castlewood Canyon State Park also has natural rock climbing for all skill levels.

Hike the Rimrock Trail for roughly two miles of excellent views!

Eleven Mile State Park

Eleven Mile Canyon
Source: Jasen Miller/Flickr

While this park offers fantastic birdwatching, miles of hiking or biking trails, and boating fun, it’s known for its unparalleled fishing.

The reservoir contains perch, kokanee, and rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout, to name a few.

Enjoy backcountry camping at one of the designated sites, picnicking, or boat rental from the marina in the summer months, and ice fishing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing in the winter ones!

A journey down the Coyote Ridge Interpretive Trail is a 1.4 mile path through multiple micro-ecosystems with gorgeous views!

Trinidad Lake State Park

Cretaceous–Paleogene (K–Pg) boundary
Source: Jeffrey Beall/Flickr

Whether you are interested in biking, hiking, boating, or unwinding at the archery range, Trinidad Lake State Park has something to offer for everyone.

Stay at one of the 73 designated camping sites for a weekend of fishing or as a base camp for other nearby adventures.

There is great fishing at Trinidad Lake, with opportunities to catch walleye, channel catfish, bluegill, crappie, and brown and rainbow trout. And if you forget a lifejacket, don’t worry—they have a loaner stand set up!

Check out the 1-mile Levsa Canyon Self-Guided Trail for views of the lake and its wooded coves as well as the mountains!

Stagecoach State Park

Stagecoach State Park
Source: Jeffrey Beall/Flickr

An all-season attraction, this state park boasts an 820-acre reservoir which is renowned for its fishing.

Enjoy hiking or biking the eight miles of trails, excellent birdwatching, boating of all kinds, or camping at one of the 92 campsites!

It is possible to rent a kayak, paddle boat, canoe, pontoon boat, or stand up paddle board at the marina, as well as accessing several activities’ worth of equipment for free, including snowshoes, horseshoes, ice fishing rods and tackle, fat tire bikes, and GPS units.

Climb the short-but-sweet Pinnacle Peak Trail for a complete panoramic view of the valley below!

Barr Lake State Park

Source: mark byzewski/Flickr

With over 350 species of birds known to frequent its surrounding habitat, Barr Lake State Park attracts birders and fishermen alike.

Bluegill, walleye, rainbow trout, and channel catfish are just some of the fish present in the pond one might hope to snag! Enjoy the free archery range, low-wake boating, horseback riding, or picnicking at one of the numerous picnic tables located throughout the park.

Cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and snowshoeing are all permitted when conditions allow.

Wander along the 8.8-mile Perimeter Trail on foot, horseback, or bike for spectacular wildlife watching and the full view of the lake.

Cherry Creek State Park

American White Pelicans
Source: Jim & Robin Kunze/Flickr

Located just outside of Denver, this natural prairie habitat features an 880-surface acre reservoir which attracts fishing enthusiasts and boaters alike!

Enjoy 12 miles of multi-use trails, water ski, fly a model airplane, hop into a sailing class, or rent a jet ski or a boat for a full day of fun! In the wintertime, the park will see sledders, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and snow-tubers.

Cherry Creek Trail is a nearly five-mile paved path which is open to hikers, runners, bikers, and horseback riders. 

Navajo State Park

Known for its 15,000-surface acre reservoir which dips 20 miles into New Mexico, Navajo State Park attracts over 300,000 visitors per year.

Whether you are hoping to cruise the lake on a boat or a jet ski, fish for bass, trout, or catfish, or camp at one of the 118 campsites, there’s something for every aquatic enthusiast at this state park.

During winter is the best time to spy bald eagles at the park, and many park-goers come to open water fish or cross-country ski during this time as well.

Wander the 6,000 foot long Windsurf Beach Trail for access to a primitive campground as well as a stunning overlook of the lake!

Ridgway State Park

Lovely day for a sail
Source: Jacob Torrey/Flickr

Fifteen miles outside of Ouray, “the Switzerland of America,” this state park featuring a five-mile-long reservoir attracts campers, wildlife watchers, picnickers, and casual bikers.

With over 140 species of migratory and resident birds at the reservoir, it is a must-see for bird enthusiasts. Camping or several cabins are available by reservation only.

Check out Enchanted Mesa Trail in the spring as the cactus and yuccas bloom for a beautiful view of the San Juan Mountains and reservoir!

Mueller State Park

Source: Chad Routh/Flickr

Known for its abundant wildlife, this state park spans more than 5,000 acres of wooded ridges, hunks of Pikes Peak Granite, and meadows brought on by natural springs.

Hike, horseback ride, or bike the miles of trails, snag one of the equestrian campsites or even rent one of the three available cabins or yurts! If you come in the winter, plan to sled, snowshoe, or cross-country ski, and don’t forget to check out the geocache!

Travel the 3.2-mile Trail #27 Osborn Homestead Loop for a glimpse of one of the park’s old homesteads dating from the early 1900s!

Crawford State Park

Just outside of gorgeous Gunnison, this picturesque state park offers 60 designated camp sites as well as opportunities to boat, water ski, jet ski, bike, picnic, fish, or swim during the summer months. In colder months, one can find happy park-goers winter camping, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing.

Hike 4 miles in on the beautiful East Shore Trail to access several lakeside campgrounds!

Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park
Source: Ernie Geiger/Flickr

Situated close to southwest Denver, this roughly 4,000-acre park features pronounced red rock formations which jut at an angle well into the air. Dubbed by the Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, Roxborough is an excellent place for birdwatching and even offers guided nature walks for all experience levels. Hike the 14 miles of trails, search for wildlife, and then tuck in for an outdoor picnic!

Enjoy the moderate, roughly 2-mile hike along the South Rim Trail for a beautiful view of the mountains and valley below.

State Forest State Park

Colorado State Forest Building Complex
Source: Jeffrey Beall/Flickr

This massive park spans 71,000 acres from the north end of the Never Summer Range and along the west side of Medicine Bow Mountains.

Known for the year-round moose which wander through in numbers over 600, North Park is considered the moose-viewing capital of Colorado.

Enjoy scores of miles of biking or hiking trails, backcountry camping, campground camping at one of 160 sites, or cabin rental, fishing, geocaching, horseback riding, or picnicking. In winter, expect to see snowshoers, cross-country skiers, sledders, and snowmobilers.

For a higher chance at glimpsing a moose, hike the 6.5-mile Gould Loop Trail!

Boyd Lake State Park

Known for its lake beneath the mountains of the Continental Divide, this park offers all kinds of aquatic play within its 1,700 watery acres. To boot, it even has a sandy beach and pavilion for swimmers!

Check out the marina for the general store and boat rentals, enjoy fishing the lake, play some volleyball at one of the sand courts, or sniff out one of several geocaches in the park.

This is a spectacular spot for a sunny picnic! Boyd Lake State Park offers 140 campsites with electrical hookups which can accommodate tents, motor homes, and trailers up to 40 feet long.

Walk or bike along the pleasant lakeside trail which can be used by cross-country skiers in winter!

As you begin planning your next adventure to one of these amazing parks, be sure to prepare for your exploration with all of the proper items and be aware of conditions such as weather.

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