Where is Mueller State Park
Park Address: 21045 CO-67, Divide, CO 80814
Located in the town of Divide, Colorado, Mueller State Park is a recreation haven along the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range. Nearby towns include Woodland Park and Lake George, which both draw a number of visitors each year.
One of Colorado’s most impressive drives, Pikes Peak and the Continental Divide separate Mueller State Park from the nearest city, Colorado Springs. So, while Colorado Springs is only 25 miles east of the park, the drive takes roughly 45 minutes. Luckily, visitors traveling to Mueller State Park are treated to spectacular views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range along the way!
How Big is Mueller State Park
Mueller US State Park occupies 5,121 acres of land. The majority of the park is alpine forest, made up of Colorado’s beloved aspen trees and conifers. However, the park’s location just beyond the Ute Pass, over the Continental Divide, means there are countless opportunities to capture mountainscapes and white-capped peaks outside the park. Most notably the granite walls of Pikes Peak overlook much of the forest in Mueller State Park.
While there aren’t any sizable lakes for fishing or boating, several ponds make great hiking destinations, and the dense alpine forest is home to black bears, elk, coyotes, lynx and more.
Mueller State Park Weather
The weather in Mueller State Park changes drastically from season-to-season. Over a year, the temperature in Mueller varies from a freezing 15℉ to a pleasant 85℉. In the height of summer, the average high temperature is 75℉, while December, January and February daytime temperatures hover around 40℉. For most visitors to Mueller State Park, this makes last spring to early autumn the preferable time of year to visit.
Travel in winter is also considerably more difficult. The annual snowfall in nearby Woodland Park, Colorado is often above 85 inches per year. This is considerably more than the U.S. average of 23 inches. Yet, even during the winter, visitors are likely to have a bright, sunny day to enjoy the outdoors. Colorado is one of the sunniest places in the U.S., with many parts of the state average 300 days of sunshine per year.
When did Mueller become a State Park
In the early 1900’s a homesteader named W.E. Mueller purchased several of the ranches located outside Divide, Colorado. Just 30 years prior, there were very few permanent settlements in the area, which was primarily home to bison, black bears, and the Ute Native American Tribe. That all changed in the 1890’s when gold was discovered in this part of the Front Range, and nearly 50,000 people arrived to try and strike it rich.
The Mueller family would own the extensive ranch until the 1980’s, when the land was first used as a game preserve and subsequently purchased by the Colorado State Parks and Division of Wildlife. Mueller State Park opened to the public in 1991.
Things to do in Mueller State Park
There are 42 gorgeous state parks in Colorado, but Mueller State Park is the second most visited park for good reason. Mueller offers outdoor enthusiasts much to do, amidst Colorado’s characteristically beautiful mountainscapes.
Hiking - Mueller State Park has over 44 miles of designated trails for hiking. The park has 37 different trails that start or branch off from a number of trailheads. This intense network of trails provides opportunity for hikers to choose any distance or difficulty of hike. However, List of Parks advises it is crucial to keep in mind that the average elevation in Mueller State Park is 9,600 ft, making it a challenging hiking destination for visitors from sea-level.
Horseback Riding - Nearly 36 miles of the state park’s trails can be utilized for horseback riding, and Mueller even allows equestrians to corral their horses on park property. Two campsites are designated specifically for use by horse owners, with an additional $10 fee per night for horses kept in the corrals.
Biking - Mountain biking is widely popular on the shared-use trails throughout Mueller State Park. As the park doesn’t allow ATV and other 4-wheel vehicles, biking is the fastest option on wheels and allowed on 36 miles of trail in the park.
Snowshoeing - Changing seasons in Colorado allows for varied use on the hiking trails in Mueller State Park. As bikers and hikers are unable to traverse the building, snow drifts snowshoeing becomes an extremely popular activity for locals and visitors to the area.
Cross-country Skiing - During the winter months all 44 miles of trail in Mueller State Park are open to cross-country skiers. However, it is crucial that skiers come prepared. The park does not groom or maintain the trails in winter and skiers are likewise responsible for their own navigation by map and/or compass.
Sledding - Four areas of Mueller State Park are available as sledding hills each winter. Elk Meadow, Preacher’s Hallow, Peak View Hill, and School Pond are all located a short walk from parking or picnic areas, and both sled and tube sledding are allowed.
Wildlife Viewing - Mueller State Park is home to some of Colorado’s most famous wildlife. Due to the dense aspen groves and conifer trees in the state park, black bears, bighorn sheep, elk, lynx, coyotes, and other wildlife roam freely, but protected, in Mueller State Park. A few of the most popular trails for seeing wildlife in the park include, Lost Pond Loop, Cheeseman Ranch Trail, Cahill Pond Trail, and Outlook Ridge and Lost Pond Loop.
Hunting - A small part of Mueller State Park’s western territory is designed for controlled and limited hunting. It is crucial that hunters know both the allowed location and timeframe for hunting within the park and have a valid hunting license in the State of Colorado.
When to go to Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park is open all year for various park activities and outdoor exploration, including daily operation of its Visitors Center. Therefore, the best time to visit Mueller is highly dependent on what you plan to do in the park. Visitors looking to snowshoe, or cross-country ski will be drawn to the snowy landscapes from November to March, while bikers and campers probably find summer a preferable season.
Must-Have things to bring to Mueller State Park
Like many of Colorado’s State Parks, Mueller is big and sprawling. It is important that every visitor arrive prepared to encounter mountainous terrain and wildlife. The following are things our National Park Visitors Guide highly recommends for any visit to Mueller State Park.
Water - Whether you are biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, or enjoying Mueller State Park’s 44 miles or trail by horseback, every visitor should come prepared with adequate water. In particular, visitors from lower elevation should carry extra water in bottles or hydration packs to help prevent altitude sickness.
Rain Gear - While Colorado enjoys 300+ days of sunshine, the weather changes quickly in the Rocky Mountains. Every visitor should prepare for afternoon rainstorms by carrying a raincoat or poncho on hikes and bike rides.
Park Map - The terrain throughout Mueller State Park varies from open meadows to dense alpine forest, but each turn and trail can look similar after hours of exploration. Especially for visitors heading out to the backcountry, it is crucial to have a park map and navigation tools available. The Visitors Center has free maps available.
Cash/Card - Entrance and day-use of Mueller State Park costs visitors $9 per vehicle or $80 for an annual pass. The park now accepts both cash or card for entry, at either the park entrance or self-service kiosks located just inside the park boundaries.
Where to stay in Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park is one of the Colorado State Parks offering both cabin and camping options for overnight stays. There are 134 campsites available for tent and RV use, however RV options are limited. Of these 134 sites, 22 require guests to park vehicles at the trailhead and hike into the backcountry, and only two sites are handicap accessible. Therefore, it is important to check the location and features of your campsite to ensure it meets your needs.
The Mueller State Park campgrounds are open all year, with designated rates and amenities based on season. Currently, reservations are required prior to your arrival at the park and camp passes will not be issued from the Visitors Center.
There are three overnight cabins available in Mueller State Park. These cabins require advance reservation and two-night minimum per stay. Each cabin is equipped with electricity and heating and reservations include bed linens, towels, running water, and parking.
Food Nearby Mueller State Park
The town of Divide, Colorado has a few food options available for visitors to Mueller State Park, including McGinty’s Wood Oven Pub and Mike’s Corner BBQ. There are more food options and variety located in nearby Woodland Park, roughly 15 minutes from the state park entrance.
In Woodland Park, visitors to Mueller State Park can find a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner establishments to satisfy any appetite. A few highlights include, Joanie’s Deli, The Southern Lily, and Aj’s Stone Oven American Pizza.
Airports near Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park is definitely a place to feel “away from it all,” but luckily the trip to visit the park isn’t difficult or lengthy. Out-of-state visitors are most likely to start their vacation landing at Denver International Airport, a two-hour drive from the park entrance.
While Denver International Airport, or DIA, is the fifth busiest airport in the United States, there is a different option. The Colorado Springs Municipal Airport is a civil-military airport located east of Colorado Springs (30 miles from Mueller State Park) and has inbound flights from most major airlines, including Delta, American Airlines, United, and Frontier.