With 42 state parks in Colorado, finding an adventure isn’t difficult

Still waters in one of the state’s many parks.



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Still waters in one of the state’s many parks.

Colorado has 42 state parks that provide all kinds of outdoor experiences — relaxing by a campfire, skidding across waves in speedboat — and every family can find something to enjoy in Colorado.

And more than 11 million visitors have discovered Colorado State Parks as a convenient and easy places to stay while exploring regional attractions, miles of multi-use trails, nature preserves and river adventures.

Plus, with so many locations close-to-home, many families need not travel far to reach a vacation destination.

MINUTES AWAY

James M. Robb — Colorado River State Park — This state park is comprised of a number of local lakes and wildlife areas in the Grand Valley such as Island Acres, Corn Lake, the Colorado River Wildlife Area, Connected Lakes and the Fruita section.

Camping and swimming beaches are available at Island Acres and at the Fruita section.

The other areas provide fishing, walking and wildlife observation. Most have shaded picnic areas with outdoor grills.

Access to the Colorado River is available at Island Acres, Fruita and Corn Lake.

LESS THAN AN HOUR AWAY

Highline Lake State Park — With its lush green lawns, sandy swimming beach, clean water and boat launch, Highline Lake State Park is one of the most popular summer retreats in the valley.

The lake is an easy drive through Loma via Colorado Highway 139 to 11.8 Road.

Popular with tent campers, the cost to camp is $18 per night plus a $7 daily parks pass fee. The campground fills quickly during the summer and advanced camping reservations are highly recommended.

A number of hiking and biking trails surround the lake, including the new Eagle Loop, which added nearly a mile to the 18 Hour Trail that circles the park.

The trail is named for the popular 18 Hour Race held there each spring.

Other trail options are the East Bluffs Loop, Greasewood Flats Loop, Mack Mesa Loop and the Blue Herons Pond Loop.

These trails also are popular with bird watchers as the lake is designated by the National Audubon Society as an important birding area. More than 200 species of birds use the lake as a migration and nesting area.

AN HOUR AWAY

Vega State Park — Some escape the summer heat by retreating to Vega State Park located on the Western edge of the Grand Mesa National Forest.

At an elevation of 8,000 feet, this high-mountain lake offers a serene location for boating, hiking, fishing and camping.

There are 109 camping spots available for both RVs with hookups or primitive tent camping. Five cabins are available to rent as well. All overnight spaces have a fire pit and picnic table.

The Group Picnic Area is a popular venue for weddings, family reunions and other large gatherings. Reservations are strongly recommended in the summer months.

Vega State Park is open year-round and hosts a variety of annual events including Cowboy Poetry on Aug. 6, Color Weekend on Sept. 24–25 and the Holiday Open House on Dec. 10–11.

Sweitzer Lake State Park — Avid water lovers haul their summer toys to Sweitzer Lake State Park near Delta to water ski, windsurf and jet ski.

This lake was built primarily for water recreation.

It is a good place to take children to fish, however the fish contain selenium and are not edible.

Hunting, horseback riding and volleyball are other popular activities at this park.

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SEE IT, DO IT

Plenty of information on all 42 parks in the Colorado State Parks system can be found at parks.state.co.us.

For entry into all the parks, a daily parks pass costing $7–$9 per vehicle or one of the various annual passes is required. A regular annual parks pass that can be used all of Colorado’s state parks is $70 per vehicle. Discounts for multiple vehicles, seniors and lifetime memberships also are available. Passes can be purchased at all state park offices, as well as at REI, Sportsman’s Warehouse, City Market and Safeway stores.

Camping reservations can be made through parks.state.co.us or by calling 800-678-2267 during weekday business hours.

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