Colorado’s most popular state park is growing by 800 acres.
Effective April 1, a portion of previously designated wildlife area will be added to Lake Pueblo State Park’s 10,000-plus land acres, opening the door to hikers, mountain bikers and other users for the parcel on the north shore that had been set aside for only hunters and anglers. Where a sporting license was previously required to access the wildlife area, now a park pass will do.
In recent years of long-term planning for Lake Pueblo, “the public was vocal in letting us know they wanted this change,” park manager Joe Stadterman said in a news release. “It’s great to be able to make this happen.”
The change “opens up a whole lot more lake shore” for visitors, said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Bill Vogrin. The property has been laced with rogue singletrack over the years — mountain bikers having evidently enjoyed the rough terrain highly regarded around Lake Pueblo.
This side of the north shore offers more of the park’s signature rock outcrops and bluffs, along with more coves and inlets to discover, Vogrin said. “I think people will be excited to get back in there and find some really cool places.”
More people have been finding Lake Pueblo. The park tallied about 3 million visits in 2020, a record among Colorado’s 42 state parks. The summer marked the first time Lake Pueblo rangers were forced to gate entries due to max capacity.
“It’s pretty fortuitous we’re doing this (expansion) after what we saw last summer,” Vogrin said. “If we can get some of those crowds to spread out a little more, that’s good for everybody.”
He called on explorers to be “aware” and “respectful of each other” on the new 800 acres, which has been popular among waterfowl hunters. Hunting and fishing will continue in the area.
Access will change, though. Previously reached from an existing entrance off Nichols Road, a new road is expected to be built this summer off North Marina Road.
In terms of development, that road construction is the only plan for now. “Then we’ll see what else transpires from there,” Vogrin said.