10 Best State Parks in Colorado

With millions of acres of public land, Colorado is a spectacular playground for adventure enthusiasts. Natural beauty is on display almost anywhere you look. You can play on land or water, in the mountains and the forests, across the plains and rivers, any season of the year. Next time you're in the mood to get outdoors, check out the best state parks in Colorado. 

Eleven Mile State Park, Lake George, CO

Water people, grab your bathing suits and head for this 3,400 acre reservoir. At 8,600 feet, you might also need to pack along a wetsuit. Kayaking, canoeing, sailing and windsurfing get you out on the water, and with strong winds and high waves, you’re in for the ride of your life. Fishermen will meet their match trying to reel in some of the largest rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout in the state, plus northern pike. Amenities include a visitor center, boat ramps, campsites with hookups and marina. Five miles of scenic trails for the hiker and biker in the group.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, Salida, CO

Wild to mild. That’s how the Arkansas River is tagged. As the most commercially rafted river in the country, it is a whitewater rafter’s nirvana. The more than 150 miles of river are also an angler's paradise, full of brown and rainbow trout. Panning for gold, rock climbing up the walled canyons, hiking, biking, horseback riding, motorized OHV trails and both group and individual campsites, plus winter activities like ice fishing and snowshoeing make this Rec Area a year-round outdoor destination.

Navajo State Park, Arboles, CO

Did you know you can sail in Colorado? Well, you can here on this huge lake that has 150 miles of shoreline. You can also cruise the lake in a houseboat, motorboat, canoe, kayak, jet ski or paddleboard. Fishing—and catching—is abundant. Northern pike, trout, bluegill, catfish and crappie are worth dropping a line for. Lots of different way to spend the night from primitive camping to full-service hookups to staying in a log cabin. Great wildlife viewing areas for deer, elk, bald eagles and migrating birds. 

Yampa River State Forest State Park, Hayden, CO

Not one, but three parks connect to make this area a bonanza of fun. The Park’s headquarters has camping, a visitor center and nature trail. The Yampa River has 13 access points, gateways to incomparable fishing, Class I to V river boating and more camp sites. The Elkhead Reservoir is the place for swimming, boating, picnicking, more fishing and camping, plus a trail for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. A triple-threat of outdoor enjoyment.

Eldorado Canyon State Park, Eldorado Springs, CO

If you lived in Boulder, this area is so accessible it’s just like having a park in your backyard. Rock climbers flock to its preeminent cliffs, scrabbling up the more than 500 technical routes. For those who like to stay grounded, there are trails for hiking and mountain biking. It’s a day-use only park, perfect for packing a picnic basket, a camera and a sturdy pair of boots for a day of exploration. No overnight stays. Winter brings with it cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Lory State Park, Bellvue, CO

Lory rhymes with glory and this park is full of it. Glorious scenery abounds throughout the 2,500 acres. And you can see it on a bike, horse or just by walking, or running, on any of the 26 miles of trails that wind through forests, across meadows, along streams and up and out of granite-walled arroyos. Primitive and backcountry camping only. Access to Horsetooth Reservoir adds water activities to any outing.

Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle, CO

A triple waterfall, 70-feet of crashing water, is the centerpiece of this spectacular park. Get too close and you will get wet from the mist and spray. For the spelunkers, there are limestone caves, one with a 90-foot ceiling. Hiking trails take you to the top of the falls and skirt East Rifle Creek. Sit on the bank for some good trout fishing. Campsites are limited; reservations are recommended. If by chance you’re looking for a wedding venue, you couldn’t find a more beautiful spot than the Mountain Mist Amphitheater.

Sylvan Lake State Park, Eagle, CO

Surrounded by the White River National Forest, this park is defined by its name—a pastoral, pleasantly bucolic, wooded spot. Fish for rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout. Hike the park trails, watchful for wildlife and mountain birds. In the summer months, get out on the lake in a canoe, kayak, paddle boat or electric motor boat. Spend a night or weekend at the campground or, for a change of pace, in a cabin or yurt.

North Sterling, Sterling, CO

Experience the prairie here, much like the pioneers who came across these high plains on the Overland Trail did. The grasslands stretch for miles. You might even catch a glimpse of a pronghorn mule deer, or any one of the 200 plus migratory birds that stop by throughout the year. There’s a reservoir for boating, fishing and swimming. Campgrounds are extensive, more than 140 sites, many will full hookups. All have showers, restrooms and laundry facilities. Hunting is permitted only by bow or shotgun with bird shot.

Mancos State Park, Mancos, CO

Plan to stay here for a while because it’s a great jumping off point for a bucketload of outdoor adventures. Nestled in the forest of the San Juan Mountains near the pristine water of the Jackson Gulch Reservoir, there is plenty to do year-round. Explore on foot, bike or horseback on a network of trails that eventually connect to the Colorado Trail. Canoe, kayak or fish for yellow perch or rainbow trout at the lake. It’s near some must-see sites—Mesa Verde National Park, Anasazi Heritage Center and the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Campgrounds have water and vault toilets; no hookups. Tent sites are primitive. But the two yurts are heated and comfortable.

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715 South Forest Street, Denver, CO
The mission of Four Mile Historic Park is to educate, preserve, and interpret the western rural heritage of Colorado to a diverse public. Read More
4218 Fremont County Road 3A, Canon City, CO
The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is a one-of-a-kind place for your family and friends to make memories that will last a lifetime! More than 360 acre... Read More
1000 Highway 36, Estes Park, CO
History : When Congress passed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act in 1915, the legislators focused on Rocky's scenic and natural wonders. Still,... Read More
2989 S Hwy 83, Franktown, CO
FRIENDS of Castlewood Canyon State Park is a nonprofit corporation that provides private support for the interpretive and educational activities o... Read More
53rd and Chambers Road, Denver, CO
The park development preserves and enhances the best of the precious natural areas including the lake, the shore-line and walking trails, while als... Read More
3280 Redstone Park Circle, Highlands Ranch, CO
Amenities:Creekside Shelter - accommodates 100+ peopleFishing Pier, Gazebo and Pumphouse Shelters - accommodate up to 40 people/ea.PlaygroundDrinki... Read More
1526 County Rd 982, Arboles, CO
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Navajo State Park is Colorado's Answer to Lake Powell. Navajo Reservoir Extends for 20 miles South into New... Read More
61105 RCR 129, Clark, CO
One of the true jewels of Colorado, Steamboat Lake State Park has something special for everyone. Whatever your preference, well-deserved relaxatio... Read More
30703 Co. Rd. 24, Hasty, CO
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sometimes called a sapphire on the plains, John Martin is a peaceful paradise in which ... Read More
11500 N Roxborough Park Road, Littleton, CO
Float your boat in the lake, bicycle or hike on a trail that provides scenic views of the neighboring foothills and Platte River valley, camp, ride... Read More
25500 County Road 14, Oak Creek, CO
Stagecoach State Park sets the stage for great recreation in the lush Yampa Valley by Steamboat Springs. Vistas and views are backdrops to the 820-... Read More
26363 County Road 3, Orchard, CO
This park is an "Oasis in the Plains," for swimming, boating, fishing and waterskiing. But that's not all...Jackson Lake is ranked one of the "Top ... Read More
640 Pueblo Reservoir Road, Pueblo, CO
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Lake Pueblo, rated a fishin... Read More
28555 Highway 550, Ridgway, CO
Mountain scenery mingles with magnificent campgrounds at Ridgway State Park.  Modern, universally-accessible recreation areas and the five-mil... Read More
5775 Hwy 325, Rifle, CO
The clean, clear waters of Rifle Gap State Park’s 350-acre reservoir provide some of the best boating, fishing, swimming, water-skiing and wi... Read More
Harvey Gap Road (County Road 237), Silt, CO
Harvey Gap State Park is a favorite spot for anglers in the winter and summer.Anglers catch catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie... Read More
708 Lodgepole Drive, Bellvue, CO
Hit the trail at Lory State Park and enjoy mountain biking, hiking, picnicking and horseback riding amid some fabulous foothills scenery just minut... Read More
13401 Picadilly Road, Brighton, CO
Bicyclists of all ages and abilities, nature hikers and horseback riders enjoy the level 8.8-mile multi-use trail that circles the lake, ... Read More
61105 County Road 129, Clark, CO
Nestled in the mountains north of Steamboat Springs, this peaceful park sits in a quiet lakeside setting.  Overlooking Farwell Mountain, ... Read More
410 JL Ranch Heights, Colorado Springs, CO
Come visit “The Trail’s End” visitor center for boundless resources, educational exhibits, souvenir and refreshment shopping, or ... Read More
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