Colorado is best known for its alluring natural wonders, with the Rocky Mountains offering fantastic views and activities. One of the best ways to explore the charm of Colorado is by visiting the state parks, especially in the warm and sunny summer months. Check out our list of the best state parks in Colorado to take your family to this summer.
Staunton State Park
Staunton State Park is the newest addition to Colorado’s state parks, opening to the public in 2013. This park, located in Pine, Colorado, is home to diverse natural beauty, from grassy meadows to granite cliffs. Visitors have the opportunity to hike, bike, fish, ride horses, hunt, picnic, and rock climb to explore everything this park has to offer. One of the most popular trails to hike is the Elk Falls trail, a moderate 12-hour trek that leads to the gorgeous Elk Falls waterfall. This park also offers walk-in campsites that are perfect for enjoying the summer nights in the mountains.
Castlewood Canyon State Park
Castlewood Canyon State Park, located in Franktown, Colorado, offers natural, historical, and living beauty. This area is known for its unique geological formations, perfect for hiking as well as rock climbing. The park is home to the historic Castlewood Canyon Dam, which burst in 1933, sending a 15-foot-high wave of water into Denver. Visitors can still see the ruins on The Dam Trail. Castlewood Canyon State Park has an abundance of wildlife, including one of the largest turkey vulture populations in the state during the summer months, making this state a perfect opportunity to birdwatch and get into photography!
Steamboat Lake State Park
Need to cool off from the summer heat? Steamboat Lake State Park is the perfect place for you! Steamboat Lake offers all sorts of water-related activities, from boating to fishing to jet skiing to paddleboarding to swimming. This is also a prime destination for every type of camping, from backcountry camping to cabins and yurts to campsites, as well as both non-electric and electric for tents and RV’s. Situated at the base of historic Hahn’s Peak, this park has so much to offer in both beauty and recreation.
Eldorado Canyon State Park
Voted as one of the Ten State Parks You Can’t Miss by Smarter Travel, Eldorado Canyon is a must-see state park located right in the backyard of Boulder, Colorado. This park is one of the top rock climbing destinations in the entire United States, with more than 500 technical climbing routes on the golden cliffs. The canyon offers hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding among their trails, which range in difficulty. South Boulder Creek offers great spots for picnicking, fly-fishing, and kayaking (with sufficient water flow). This park is very popular in the summer months, so it is wise to avoid weekends if possible, as it often reaches capacity.
State Forest State Park
State Forest State Park, located in Walden, Colorado is a 71,000-acre rugged forest filled with jagged peaks, alpine lakes, many trails, and plenty of wildlife – including being the moose capital of Colorado. Many creeks and lakes have an abundance of a variety of Trout, offering both fly and lure fishing. Camping is welcomed with five campgrounds including 160 sites (electric and non-electric) as well as the option to backcountry camp. With such an expansive space and diverse geography, this park offers so much to see and do for everyone.
See what else Colorado has to offer by checking out our other posts in the Colorado Living blog.