Good Camping News From Colorado Parks and Wildlife

While most outdoor lovers have been doing their best to keep others safe while social distancing, getting outside hasn’t been a problem but camping at state parks has been unavailable. It’s nice to see the announcement that Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has been working with Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and environment (CDPHE) to follow guidelines and make plans for re-opening. As you’ll see, in the press release below, CPW is working on a county by county basis as need be to keep the COVID-19 virus from spreading.

If you’re looking to get out and camp at one of the state’s campgrounds, review the schedule below and start making your plans.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife Begins to Reopen State Parks and Campgrounds

Colorado Parks and Wildlife begins to reopen state park campgrounds May 12. CPW is collaborating with local partners to ensure a safe and organized welcome back to visitors.

DENVER — Per Governor Polis, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is beginning to reopen campgrounds at Colorado state parks after COVID-19 closures that had been in effect since March 26. Campgrounds will begin to reopen May 12, launching a phased reopening that will occur across the park system in coordination with park managers and local officials. 

Cabins, yurts, tipis, group facilities, and other reservable day-use facilities remain closed until further notice. Please review our best practices for camping as we begin opening to overnight visitors with continued COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Opening dates for campgrounds at Colorado state parks:

Tuesday, May 12

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Fremont County campgrounds only)
  • Chatfield State Park
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Eleven Mile State Park
  • Elkhead Reservoir State Park
  • Highline State Park
  • Jackson Lake State Park
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Island Acres 
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Fruita
  • Mancos State Park
  • Mueller State Park
  • North Sterling State Park
  • Rifle Falls State Park
  • Rifle Gap State Park
  • Staunton State Park
  • Vega State Park

Wednesday, May 13

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park*
  • Crawford State Park

Thursday, May 14

  • Boyd Lake State Park
  • St. Vrain State Park
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park

Friday, May 15

  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park*
  • Lake Pueblo State Park
  • Lory State Park
  • Navajo State Park
  • Ridgway State Park

The following parks continue to coordinate with local officials for reopening plans. Dates will be announced as they become available:

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Chaffee County campgrounds)
  • Lathrop State Park
  • Paonia State Park
  • Pearl Lake State Park
  • Stagecoach State Park
  • State Forest State Park
  • Steamboat Lake State Park
  • Sylvan Lake State Park
  • Trinidad Lake State Park
  • Yampa River State Park

* Items marked with asterisks are tentative opening dates as we work with our county partners to reopen.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife reservation system, found at www.cpwshop.com, will have the most up-to-date information regarding availability at each park for making campsite reservations. As CPW manages this reopening process, along with managing other updates related to COVID-19, call wait times when calling CPW’s vendor, Aspira, or the CPW call center may be extensive. To avoid having to wait on hold, please visit the CPW website or cpwshop.com for information.

Use CPWShop.com to find reservable sites

Customers who wish to search for campsites available to reserve should visit www.cpwshop.com and click on “Visit a Park.” Here, customers can search for a park name or location, type of site, and/or date and search for available campgrounds. 

If a customer enters specific dates and the number of nights requested, all parks with available campsites will have the option to “book sites.” If no sites are available, visitors will see an option to view the “next available date.” 

If a specific date is not entered, customers may “search campgrounds” to view a list of all parks. They can then “check availability” at specific parks, or enter their preferred dates to see any available sites for those dates.

Other state park recreation opportunities

People may still visit state parks for day-use recreation if they are not planning to camp. As of today, non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails, boat ramps, marinas, and shorelines remain open. 

Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing, maintain at least six feet between other visitors and wear face coverings where six feet of distance cannot be maintained. CPW managers have the discretion to close areas that do not allow for social distancing. CPW encourages people to take local county and state stay-at-home orders seriously, and limit travel to local destinations for recreating. Anyone demonstrating signs of illness, such as coughing, fever or shortness of breath should stay home. 

All visitor centers and park offices remain closed, and reopening plans will be posted on the CPW website when available. Restrooms remain open, and visitors are advised to bring soap for handwashing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available.

Most importantly, CPW recommends that everyone follow precautionary guidance issued by the CDC, CDPHE, public local health agencies, and the Colorado Governor’s Office when recreating in the outdoors.

Keep up to date with Colorado Parks and Wildlife

CPW is continually monitoring COVID-19 and its impact on our customers and is committed to keeping the public informed on how the agency is responding. Visitors to all CPW parks, wildlife areas and offices are asked to follow the state’s most recent guidance on social gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Visit the CPW website for the most up-to-date information on how CPW is supporting the state’s COVID-19 efforts, as well as our social media platforms: FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, keynote speaker, and a range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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