Colorado is a nature lover’s paradise, and there’s hardly a better way to enjoy some time outside than at one of our many state parks. There are 41 state parks in Colorado, and several of the best ones are located right in our backyards along the Western Slope.
The next time you’re looking for an adventure outside, give one of these special natural spaces a try.
1800 11.8 Road
If you love spending time on the water, Highline Lake is a great year-round choice. Biking, hiking, boating, and bird watching are a few of the activities visitors can enjoy here, and that short list just scratches the surface.
15247 North 6/10 Road Unit A
Just over an hour’s drive from Grand Junction is another state park with excellent water access. Vega State Park’s high alpine lake is near the edge of Grand Mesa National Forest, and the meadow it calls home is ideal for seeing the aspen change, watching wildlife, boating, camping, and more.
Just remember — there’s no swimming allowed on Vega Reservoir.
5775 Highway 325
The Rifle area is beloved by outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties, and a visit to Rifle Falls State Park will show you why. Visitors love picnicking near the triple waterfall and exploring the limestone caves underneath the falls.
Because the park is so popular, it gets especially busy during the peak summer season. Plan on arriving early to snag a parking spot, or try visiting during the “slow” season.
5775 Highway 325
If you’d rather go boating, SUPing, fishing, water-skiing, or windsurfing, Rifle Gap is right up your alley. The park has a 350-acre reservoir to enjoy, and the best part? There’s no ban on swimming here.
61105 RCR 129
Like many other state parks along the Western Slope, water fun is the name of the game here. You may want to save swimming for an extra hot day, though — the water stays chilly all year!
A quick 15 minutes away from Steamboat Lake, you’ll find Pearl Lake State Park. It’s a quiet place on the lake with some excellent lakeside and ridgeline camping spots. The park even has two yurts — during the winter you’ll have to hike, ski, snowshoe, or snowmobile to reach them.
1526 County Rd 982
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is Navajo State Park, “Colorado’s Answer to Lake Powell.” The namesake reservoir reaches 20 miles into New Mexico and provides water for agriculture on the Navajo Reservation.
You can enjoy all manner of water activities here, including renting a houseboat and cruising the reservoir.
Whether you visit Steamboat State Park in the north, Navajo State Park in the south, or something in between, one thing’s for certain: There’s no wrong choice when it comes to choosing a state park on the Western Slope.