From the Eastern Plains to the Rocky Mountain peaks, Colorado state parks offer something for everyone. Whether you are fishing, star gazing, or climbing mountain after mountain after mountain, there’s no shortage of things to do outside in the Centennial State.
Colorado state parks are a huge reason for it’s a reputation as one of the country’s premier outdoor recreation destinations. There are over 42 of them, and they are located in all four corners of the state and everywhere in-between. Every Coloradan has their favorite park, but the truth is that each one offers something unique.
Here are 10 of our favorites and why we love them.
- Sylvan Lake State Park, Eagle: For a peaceful, wooded retreat, nothing beats Sylvan Lake. Visitors come to fish, camp in yurts, hike, paddle, and swim in this scenic alpine setting.
- Mueller State Park, Divide: Explore spring-fed meadows filled with colorful wildflowers below the iconic Pikes Peak or hike the 5,100 acres of mountainous terrain.
- Eldorado Canyon State Park: Known for it’s stunning sandstone cliffs and outstanding rock climbing, this canyon is located just outside of Boulder, making it an extremely accessible state park that will give you the feeling that you are out in the middle of nowhere.
- Cherry Creek State Park, Aurora: Located close to the Denver metropolis, Cherry Creek features 35 miles of multi-use trails, including 15 paved miles. It also offers camping, swimming in the Cherry Creek Reservoir, and other urban and recreational amenities.
- Chatfield State Park, Littleton: Whether you are riding the trails on horseback or sailing on the South Platte River, Chatfield offers endless opportunities for adventure.
- Roxborough State Park, Roxborough: If you’re looking for an iconic Colorado landscape, the million-year-old sandstone monoliths of Roxborough State Park are just the ticket. The elevations at this park vary wildly, so you can expect to see a diverse arrangement of flora and fauna at this park.
- Lone Mesa State Park, Dolores: Located in the southwest corner of the state, this striking landmark is located on 12,000 acres of state land.
- North Sterling State Park, Sterling: Watching the sun set over the Cottonwood Cove Swim Beach is just one of the many highlights of this 3,000-acre reserve on the Eastern Plains. Other activities include fishing, jet and water skiing, and wildlife viewing.
- Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle: The crowning gem of this state park is the 70-foot waterfall that crashes over moss-covered rocks. There are some great trails and fishing spots located along this riparian habitat, as well.
- Ridgway State Park, Ridgway: The jagged San Juans are a picture-perfect backdrop to recreation located along the lush Uncompahgre River Valley.