Podcast: Highline Lake State Park

An oasis in the desert, Highline Lake is the recreation epicenter for the Grand Valley with two lakes, lush grass, trails and trees.
Highline Lake
Highline Lake State Park

In this episode of the Colorado Outdoors Podcast, Mark Johnson is Joined by Highline Lake State Park manager Alan Martinez. Mark and Alan discuss everything from the early days of the park to adventure racing. Alan explains how the increasing demands on park resources have led to a number of changes that are focused on protecting our natural resources and making sure that all types of visitors are having an enjoyable park experience.

Highline Lake State Park

Water, sunshine, and fun make Highline Lake a mecca for water lovers in the Grand Valley. Jet and water skiers, paddle boarders, swimmers, and boaters of all kinds can enjoy the warm waters. The lake is open to boating beginning in March and often reaches boat capacity on summer weekends, so arrive early. The swim beach is open annually from May through September.

The lakes provide great warm-water fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and crappie and are stocked each spring and fall with rainbow trout. Bookclif Campground, open year-round, offers 36 sites accommodating both tents and RVs. Reservations are required for camping. The retail store sells books, fishing bait, ice, firewood, and camping supplies.

For a quieter day, the much smaller Mack Mesa Lake offers bird watching, fishing, and boating for both hand-propelled and electric craft. The Highline Lake Trail is a 3.5 mile loop with many out-and-back legs providing over 9 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and good wildlife watching opportunities. There are numerous regional trails within minutes of the park.

Thousands of birds migrate through in spring and fall, and the National Audubon Society has designated the park an Important Bird Area. Birdwatchers will find more than 200 species, including bald and golden eagles, herons, pelicans, egrets, cranes, and a variety of other birds.


Podcast hosted by Mark Johnson. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a nationally recognized leader in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management.

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