Hunting Colorado’s State Parks

Ducks land against a vibrant sunset at Barr Lake. Barr Lake is just one of many state parks that offers hunting opportunities. Photo by © Jerry Neal/CPW.

Colorado’s 41 State Parks are famous for providing world-class hiking, camping, boating and fishing opportunities. But did you know that 29 state parks also offer hunting? Whether you’re interested in pursuing small game, waterfowl or hunting elk or deer, don’t overlook a state park as a potential hunting location. In addition, many parks offer overnight camping amenities, which provide a great place for families to enjoy a day’s hunt and share a relaxing evening around the glow of a campfire. With hunting seasons fast approaching, now is a great time to make plans to hunt one of these Colorado state parks.

Note: This provides a basic summary of the hunting opportunities that are available at Colorado State Parks. However, hunters must check the hunting regulations for each location before planning a hunt. Hunting is restricted to the first Tuesday after Labor Day through the first Friday before Memorial Day at all state park properties. Reservations are also required to hunt and camp at most areas. View Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Park Finder for driving directions and further information.

Hunting Opportunities at Colorado State Parks

1. Barr Lake

Location: Adams County, GMU 104
Hunting Opportunities: Waterfowl and dove hunting is available at this beautiful, Front Range reservoir. Hunters can make reservations by calling 1-800-846-9453. For more information, please visit the Barr Lake State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

2. Boyd Lake

Location: Larimer County, GMU 20
Hunting Opportunities: Limited waterfowl hunting is permitted in three designated “Red Zone” areas. View the Boyd Lake Waterfowl Hunting “Red Zone” map. For more information, please visit the Boyd Lake State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

3. Crawford

Location: Delta County, GMU 63
Hunting Opportunities: Both waterfowl and big-game hunting are available here. Hunters must stay at least 100 yards away from shoreline anglers and 150 yards away from campgrounds. For more information, please visit the Crawford State Park page on the CPW website.

4. Eldorado Canyon

Location: Boulder County, GMU 29
Hunting Opportunities: Both Small-game and big-game hunting are permitted in the Crescent Meadows section of the park, which is accessed via Gross Dam Road. Only archery and muzzleloaders are allowed. For more information, please visit the Eldorado State Park page on the CPW website.

5. Eleven Mile

Location: Park County, GMU 581
Hunting Opportunities: This South Park reservoir is famous for its exceptional fishing but also offers hunting for big game, small game and waterfowl. For more information, please visit the Eleven Mile State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

6. Elkhead Reservoir

Location: Moffat County, GMU 4
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting is allowed in designated areas around the reservoir during special hunting seasons. Big-game hunting is permitted on the north side of the park. For more information, please visit the Elkhead Reservoir State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

7. Golden Gate Canyon

Location: Gilpin and Jefferson counties, GMU 38
Hunting Opportunities: Big-game Hunting is permitted in controlled areas of the Jefferson County and Green Ranch sections of the park from the first Tuesday after Labor Day to the Friday before Memorial Day.
For more information, please visit the Golden Gate Canyon State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

8. Harvey Gap

Location: Garfield County, GMU 33
Hunting Opportunities: Waterfowl hunting is permitted on the north side of the reservoir. Hunters must stay at least 100 yards away from buildings and day-use areas. For more information, please visit the Harvey Gap State Park page on the CPW website.

9. Highline Lake

Location: Mesa County, GMU 33
Hunting Opportunities: Small game and waterfowl hunting is permitted Monday through Friday. Hunting blinds are available on a reservation system. For more information, please visit the Highline Lake State Park page on the CPW website.

10. Jackson Lake

Location: Morgan County, GMU 30
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting is available for waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel and pheasant with shotguns in designated areas. Shotguns are restricted to size “T” or smaller shot. Waterfowl can be hunted along the shore in Lakeside Campground after the campground has closed for the season. The shoreline is also open from Sandpiper Campground north to the boundary fence, providing approximately 1 mile of hunting access.  Building hunting blinds or using live or dead vegetation to construct blinds is prohibited. Hunting from boats is permitted from the first day of regular duck season through Oct. 31.  Jackson lake closes to all boating Nov. 1.  Archery deer hunting is available in all areas except open campgrounds. Reservations are not required to hunt Jackson Lake State Park lands. For more information, please visit the Jackson Lake State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

11. Lake Pueblo

Location: Pueblo County, GMU 84
Hunting Opportunites: Hunting is available for waterfowl, rabbit, dove and quail with shotguns in designated areas within the park. Shoreline hunting is also permitted in designated areas only. For more information, please visit the Lake Pueblo State Park page on the CPW website.

12.  Lathrop

Location: Huerfano County, GMU 85
Hunting Opportunities: Both waterfowl and small-game hunting are allowed with shotguns and archery equipment at Horseshoe Lake. For more information, please visit the Lathrop State Park page on the CPW website.

13. Lone Mesa

Location: Dolores County, GMU 711
Hunting Opportunities: A limited number of Special Use Permits are available for big-game hunting (elk, deer and bear) on more than 12,000 acres. For more information, please visit the Lone Mesa State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

14. Lory

Location: Larimer County, GMU 19
Hunting Opportunities: Both big-and small-game hunting are allowed on weekdays in specific areas. Spring turkey hunting is also permitted but is restricted to Monday and Tuesday only. All hunters must register and report all harvests to the park Visitor Center. For more information, please visit the Lory State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

15. Mueller

Location: Teller County, GMU 581
Hunting Opportunities: Approximately 800 acres on the western edge of the park are open to hunting during established seasons. Hunters should contact a park ranger to pick up maps and information prior to their hunt. Hunting with Firearms and bows is permitted in the park. Hunters must access the hunting areas with unloaded weapons via three trailheads (Black Bear, Rock Pond, Lost Pond). No vehicle access is permitted to the hunting area. For more information, please visit the Mueller State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

16. Navajo

Location: Archuleta County, GMU 771
Hunting Opportunities: Deer, elk and bird hunting is allowed. For more information, please visit the Navajo State Park page on the CPW website.

17. North Sterling

Location: Logan County, GMU 89
Hunting Opportunities: Small game, waterfowl, and archery deer hunting is permitted. Deer hunting is restricted to the south end of the park. Hunters must remain at least 150 feet from developed structures.
For more information, please visit the North Sterling State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

18. Pearl Lake

Location: Routt County, GMU 14
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting is not permitted on state park property. However, Pearl lake backs to the Routt National Forest where big game, small game, waterfowl hunting is permitted. Dusky (blue) grouse hunting is also popular in this area on the adjacent USFS property. Many hunters use the Pearl Lake camground as a base camp to access other nearby hunting areas during the regular big-game seasons.

19. Paonia

Location: Gunnison County, GMU 521
Hunting Opportunities: Big-game hunting is allowed during the regular seasons. For more information, please visit the Paonia State Park page on the CPW website.

20. Ridgway

Location: Ouray County, GMUs 62,65
Hunting Opportunities: Big-game, small-game and waterfowl hunting is permitted during specified seasons. All hunters must check in with ranger staff at the visitor center prior to hunting. For more information, please visit the Ridgway State Park page on the CPW website.

21. Rifle Gap

Location: Garfield County, GMU 33
Hunting Opportunities: Both waterfowl and big-game hunting are permitted. Water levels fluctuate from year to year, which impacts waterfowl hunting. The best big-game opportunities are on the west side of the park where there is access to BLM land and additional state land. Hunters must remain at least 150 feet from developed structures. For more information, please visit the Rifle Gap State Park page on the CPW website.

22. Spinney Mountain

Location: Park County, GMU 58
Hunting Opportunities: This North Park reservoir offers waterfowl, small-game and big-game hunting. For more information, please visit the Rifle Gap State Park hunting page on the CPW website.

23. Stagecoach

Location: Routt County, GMU 15
Hunting Opportunities: Both waterfowl and small-game hunting are permitted during the regular hunting seasons. Waterfowl and small-game hunting is available in the western portion of the park. Waterfowl hunters must ensure they are at least 100 ft from trails and other developed areas. Hunting is not allowed on the eastern portion of the reservoir, the ponds at the new wetland area or tailwater area. Signs are posted throughout the park showing designated areas. For more information, please visit the Stagecoach State Park page on the CPW website.

24. State Forest

Location: Jackson County, GMUs 6, 171
Hunting Opportunities: Big-game hunting is allowed during designated hunting seasons with special permits. For more information, please visit the State Forest State Park page on the CPW website.

25. Steamboat Lake

Location: Routt County, GMUs 4, 14, 214
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting for waterfowl, small game and big game is permitted. Hunters must remain outside of the developed campgrounds and trails. Waterfowl hunting is popular at the Rainbow Ridge and Meadow Point areas. Big-game hunters harvest deer from this area every year. 
For more information, please visit the Steamboat Lake State Park page on the CPW website.

26. Sweitzer Lake

Location: Delta County, GMU 64
Hunting Opportunities: Waterfowl hunting is allowed on weekends, Wednesdays and legal holidays. For more information, please visit the Sweitzer Lake State Park page on the CPW website.

27. Sylvan Lake

Location: Eagle County, GMU 44
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting is allowed in undeveloped areas of the park during all legal seasons. The park primarily offers opportunities for turkey, bear, deer and elk. The Sylvan Lake campground is also a popular base camp during big-game seasons with convenient access to the White River National Forest. For more information, please visit the Sylvan Lake State Park page on the CPW website.

28. Trinidad Lake

Location: Las Animas County, GMUs 85, 851
Hunting opportunities: Hunting is allowed for any species of game that is in season. Hunting is restricted to archery equipment and shotguns with birdshot. The most common game species hunted at the park include elk, doves, rabbits and waterfowl. A park map is available at the visitor center that shows legal hunting areas. For more information, please visit the Trinidad Lake State Park page on the CPW website.

29. Vega

Location: Mesa County, GMU 421
Hunting Opportunities: Hunting is restricted to archery and shotguns loaded with birdshot during designated hunting seasons. Vega’s cabins also provide a convenient base camp for hunting in nearby national forest lands. For more information, please visit the Vega State Park page on the CPW website.

Colorado State Recreation Lands Brochure

To find additional public land hunting and fishing opportunities in Colorado, please see the Colorado Recreational Lands Brochure.​ The regulations brochure provides information on access rules and regulations for Colorado’s State Wildlife Areas (SWAs), State Trust Lands (STLs), and State Parks as well as valuable information on CPW’s hunting reservation system.


Article by Jerry Neal. Neal is the senior videographer and a media specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

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