Colorado State Parks

A Large Number Of The Colorado State Parks Are Located In The Stunning Rocky Mountains

There are currently forty one state parks in Colorado, including two which are under construction. Another, Bonny Lake State Park had its lake drained and is now part of the South Republican River State Wildlife Area.

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It was as long ago as 1937 that Colorado appointed a Land Board to create a system of state parks.

However, it wasn`t until 1959, twenty two years later, that Cherry Creek State Park in Arapahoe County became the first Colorado State Park.

Since then the number of parks has increased rapidly, especially during the 1960`s when seventeen new parks were added.

A Scene Typical Of The Colorado Landscape

Colorado is a mountainous state which includes much of the southern part of the Rocky Mountains. Although the western portion of the Great Plains is also in Colorado, the average elevation across the state is an incredible 6,800 feet.

In fact, Colorado is the only state in the U.S. that lies entirely above an elevation of one thousand meters. (3,281 feet) The highest point in the state is Mount Elbert which is 14,440 feet above sea level.

Mount Elbert, The Highest Point In Colorado

The name for the state came from early Spanish explorers who saw a river running red with silt carried down from the mountains. They called it the "Rio Colorado" and the state was named after this "red colored river."

The state is renowned for its dramatic landscape which includes rivers, deserts, canyons, high plains, mountains and forests. Of course the Colorado State Parks incorporate many of these features.

The state parks in Colorado range in size from the tiny 48 acres of Rifle Falls State Park, where the centerpiece is a beautiful seventy feet high waterfall, to the huge 70,000 acre State Forest State Park where vast tracts of forested wilderness attract thousands of visitors.

The Frozen Waterfall At Rifle Falls State Park

There are a number of extremly popular Colorado State Parks, among them is the stunning Eldorado Canyon State Park. It is a superb rock-climbing destination but was also made famous by Ivy Baldwin a female tightrope walker who walked on a wire between the canyon walls 580 feet above the creek running below.

The gold-medal fishing location of Lathrop State Park is also very popular and attracts over a million visitors a year.

Another of the state parks in Colorado came to the attention of a wide audience in 1993. This was Cherry Creek State Park which hosted a Papal Mass by Pope John Paul 11. It is estimated that a crowd of over 500,000 were in attendance.

Well over half the Colorado State Parks are situated around lakes or reservoirs where visitors are able to enjoy all the normal watersports activities. Examples of these Colorado Parks are Sylvan Lake State Park, Steamboat Lake State Park and Boyd Lake State Park.

Footbridge Over The Colorado River

Naturally the Colorado River plays a part in the parks system. The James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park has five separate sections of land which give access onto this great river.

Here is a list of all the state parks in Colorado -
  • Barr Lake State Park
  • Boyd Lake State Park
  • Castlewood Canyon State Park
  • Chatfield State Park
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park
  • Crawford State Park
  • Eldorado Canyon State Park
  • Eleven Mile State Park
  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park
  • Harvey Gap State Park
  • Highline Lake State Park
  • Jackson Lake State Park
  • James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park
  • Lake Pueblo State Park
  • Lathrop State Park
  • Lone Mesa State Park
  • Lory State Park
  • Mancos State Park
  • Mueller State Park
  • Navajo State Park
  • North Sterling State Park
  • Paonia State Park
  • Pearl Lake State Park
  • Ridgway State Park
  • Rifle Falls State Park
  • Rifle Gap State Park
  • Roxborough State Park
  • San Luis State Park
  • Spinney Mountain State Park
  • St. Vrain State Park
  • Stagecoach State Park
  • State Forest State Park
  • Staunton State Park
  • Steamboat Lake State Park
  • Sweitzer Lake State Park
  • Sylvan Lake State Park
  • Trinidad Lake State Park
  • Vega State Park
  • Yampa River State Park

Here is a map showing the position of all the Colorado State Parks. Note that Lone Mesa State Park and Staunton State Park are still under construction and are not shown.

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