Colorado is home to some of the most naturally beautiful areas in the country, thanks to its numerous mountains and lakes. The best places to find that beauty are undoubtedly the state parks located throughout the Centennial State.
Lathrop State Park
Colorado’s very first state park, Lathrop State Park, is an expanse of 1,594 acres in Walsenburg, overshadowed by Southern Colorado’s Spanish Peaks. Lathrop Park contains two unique lakes. The first is Horseshoe Lake, known for its large tiger muskies. Horseshoe Lake offers waterside enjoyment in a peaceful environment, as boats are limited to wakeless speeds. The second is Martin Lake, which is especially good for water recreation because of its warm temperature.
Ridgway State Park
It is difficult to get far from mountains in Colorado, and traveling to Ridgway State Park, an area described as the “Switzerland of America,” certainly doesn’t take you away from the peaks. Instead, Ridgway centers on the mountain scenery bordering a 5-mile-long reservoir. Thanks to the combination of natural beauty and man-made amenities, Ridgway Park is popular for camping, whether that be in a tent, RV or Yurt.
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown contains a unique piece of local history—the remnants of the Castlewood Dam. In 1933, the dam burst, sending a 15-foot wall of water rushing into Denver. Today, ruins of the dam and homestead stand alongside the park’s hiking trails, which range from 1/2 to 4 miles long. The park is day-use only, so camping isn’t allowed. However, guests can still climb to the Bridge Canyon Overlook gazebo or explore along the winding Cherry Creek.
State Forest State Park
Walden’s State Forest State Park is the perfect location for visitors who enjoy mountainous regions. The State Forest Park covers 71,000 acres, stretched along the west side of the Medicine Bow Mountains up into the Never Summer Range. Thanks to its large area, the park is home to many outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, four-wheeling and horseback riding, as well as activities made possible by the mountains, such as snowshoeing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Guests can even witness the park’s population of 600 moose.
Mueller State Park
Of all the outdoor activities that can be done at Colorado’s state parks, wildlife watching is the largest attraction for Mueller State Park in Divide. This is due to the park’s 5,000 acres of spring-fed meadows and ponds, which support a wealth of wild creatures. Visitors are likely to see some of the park’s populations of elk, black bears or mule deer, as well as some of its many small mammal and bird species. The only caveat is that the park asks visitors to not bring dogs on the hiking trails or into the backcountry, as they can scare off wildlife.
These are not the only parks available in the Centennial State—Colorado has 42 total state parks, and many local parks available for visitors and residents to enjoy.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.