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Steamboat Lake one of most popular state parks

If a recent survey of Colorado State Park rangers is any indication, Steamboat Lake is a must-see for visitors to Northwest Colorado.

The state’s rangers chose Steamboat Lake as their favorite destination — and they’re not alone. Steamboat Lake State Park is regularly one of the most-visited parks in a state full of wondrous recreational areas.

“It’s beautiful here,” Steamboat Lake park naturalist Jenny Todd said. “It’s just amazing.”



Steamboat Lake is a 27-mile drive north of Steamboat Springs on Routt County Road 129. The 1,550-acre park sits at the base of magnificent Hahn’s Peak and is only miles from the Continental Divide.

From camping to fishing, boating and hiking, the state park offers something for everyone. Water skiing and other boating activities are permitted on the 1,053-acre lake, which has a full-service marina. Parts of the lake are wakeless and boaters are subject to state boating statutes and regulations. A swim beach is at the park’s Dutch Hill area.



A $5 daily vehicle pass is required for entrance to the park; $55 season passes are available and can be used at any Colorado state park.

The park offers visitors 238 campsites that accommodate tents, campers and trailers. Many of the campsites sit within stands of aspen and lodgepole pine trees, and some are near the shoreline. A camper services building provides showers, toilets and laundry facilities. Visitors also can rent cabins or yurts. Nightly campsite rates range from $12 to $18.

Because of the park’s popularity, particularly during the summer months, campsite reservations are recommended in advance of your visit to Steamboat Lake. Reservations can be made online at http://www.coloradoparks.org or by calling (303) 470-1144. Information also can be obtained by calling the park at (970) 879-3922.

Guided hikes and other nature programs are offered throughout summer. The programs are free with a daily vehicle permit needed to enter the park. Special evening programs are scheduled every Saturday night in the park’s amphitheater.

Just a few miles south of Steamboat Lake is the Pearl Lake State Park, offering visitors a quieter and more secluded escape. Many campsites are available at the 169-acre park, which features good fishing opportunities and more than 100 miles of trails. Pearl Lake is a wakeless lake.

In addition to the state parks, numerous outfitters and guest ranches in the area provide a plethora of recreational opportunities, from horseback riding to pack trips and all-terrain vehicle tours. Steamboat Lake Outfitters, Dutch Creek Guest Ranch, Elk River Guest Ranch and the Glen Eden Resort are just a few of the possibilities. n


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