Where is State Forest State Park
Located in both Jackson and Larmier county, State Forest State Park resides entirely within the state of Colorado. The closest city to State Forest State Park is Walden, Colorado. The park lies within the Medicine Bow Range of the Rocky Mountains. Facilities and amenities present in the state park include a visitor center, a large campground, and a very extensive hiking trail system. State Forest State Park is located 119 miles and about a three-hour drive northwest of Fort Collins, 159 miles and about a three-hour drive north of Denver, and 104 miles and about a two hour and thirty-minute drive southwest of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The state park is also located near several other popular outdoor parks. These parks include the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest to the north and Rocky Mountain National Park to the south.
How Large is State Forest State Park
State Forest US State Park covers a total area of about 70,800 acres. The park’s geography mainly consists of acres of forest made up of lodgepole pines, Douglas firs, Colorado blue spruces, aspens, and other species. Other geographic features include alpine lakes and jagged mountain peaks. Popular activities practiced throughout the park’s 70,000 acres include birding, boating, camping, kayaking, fishing, hiking, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. The park’s campground includes over 150 sites suited for recreational vehicles and tent campers alike. State Forest State Park also offers visitors the opportunity to reserve several cottages and cabins that are located throughout the park.
State Forest State Park Weather
The weather at State Forest State Park varies frequently throughout the year. In the summer, temperatures in the park average between 40- and 65-degrees Fahrenheit. In winter, these temperatures cool considerably and average between 10- and 30-degrees Fahrenheit. The warmest temperatures of the year arrive at the park in June, July, and August, and the coldest temperatures find the park in December and January. On average, State Forest State Park receives around 75 days of rain per year. These 120 days of rain accumulate to a yearly average of around 30 inches. State Forest State Park also experiences snowfall throughout every year. Snowfall in the park normally occurs throughout the entire year except for July and August and averages around 155 inches per year.
When did State Forest Become a State Park
State Forest State Park first became a state park in 1970. The park was established to protect the fragile alpine environments that reside within the park. State Forest State Park is managed and maintained by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department. The most recent challenge to present itself within the park is the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic. The beetle is invasive in the area and is currently reshaping the park’s floral landscape. In addition to protecting the forests and other ecosystems present in the park, State Forest State Park also protects several wildlife species including bighorn sheep, black bears, mule deer, elk, and moose.
Things to do in State Forest State Park
State Forest State Park provides visitors with a variety of opportunities to explore the Colorado alpine wilderness. The park’s most popular adventures and experiences are listed below by our State Park Visitors Guide.
Explore the Visitor Center
The Moose Visitor Center at State Forest State Park is the perfect place for first time visitors of the park to start their park adventure. The visitor center contains brochures, park map, and other handouts that visitors can utilize during their trip. Visitors exploring the visitor center will also find several displays and exhibits that provide educational information regarding the park’s ecology, geography, history, and culture.
Participate in an Interpretive Program
Visitors looking to learn more about the State Forest State Park, or a particular topic associated with the park should look to join and participate in an interpretive program. These programs are hosted by educated park staff and discuss a variety of topics related to the park’s ecology, geology, and geography.
Fishing in State Forest State Park
Visitors looking to cast a line or two in State Forest State Park should bring all of their rods, reels, and freshwater tackle. The park contains several alpine lakes and the North Michigan Reservoir. These bodies of water contain healthy populations of brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. All anglers are required to obtain a Colorado state fishing license prior to casting a line in the park. All Colorado fishing regulations are also valid within the park.
Hike one of the Park’s Trails
State Forest State Park contains over 90 miles of hiking trails. These trails traverse a variety of ecosystems found in the park and encompass a variety of difficulties and lengths. Visitors interested in hiking in State Forest State Park should talk to park staff working in the visitor center. These employees can provide trail maps, recommendations and additional trail information regarding length and difficulty.
Winter Activities in the Park
Visitors arriving at State Forest State Park in the winter are sure to find a variety of seasonal activities that allow them to experience the park. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing are popular activities offered by the park in the winter.
Hunting in State Forest State Park
Several different types of hunting are allowed across the land of State Forest State Park. Game management zones 6 and 171 are located within the park. These zones feature big game hunts and smaller game hunts are available throughout the park. All state hunting regulations apply while hunting within State Forest State Park. Visitors planning to hunt in the park should have all of their licenses and permits available for viewing.
Wildlife Viewing and Birding
State Forest State Park provides a home to an impressive list of avian and wildlife species. Visitors interested in the park’s wildlife can possibly spot black bears, elk, moose, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and a variety of avian species. Park staff working in the visitor center can supply more information regarding wildlife sightings and species behavior.
Camping in State Forest State Park
The campground at State Forest State Park contains 150 sights suited for recreational vehicles and tent campers. The park also contains several cabins that visitors can stay in. Visitors looking to reserve a campsite or cabin within the park can make reservations online through the park’s website and reservation portal.
When to Visit State Forest State Park
State Forest State Park is open throughout the entire year. However, visitors arriving at the park in particular seasons may not be able to experience certain activities or adventures. Summer is the best time for hikers, fisherman, and other general outdoor recreation-patrons to visit the park. Spring is the best time to spot wildlife in the park. Winters in State Forest State Park are perfect for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing.
Must Have Items to Bring to State Forest State Park
Every trip outdoors requires packing and planning. A trip to State Forest State Park is no exception. List of Parks suggests the following items should be considered by every visitor traveling to State Forest State Park.
Water and High Energy Snacks
Water and energy replenishing snacks are essential items to bring on every outdoor recreation trip. Hikers and other visitors who plan to exert extended energy in State Forest State Park should bring additional supplies of water and snacks. Beef jerky, trail mix, and protein bars are some of the best snacks hikers can bring to replenish their energy levels.
Sunscreen and Sunglass
In the summer, visitors to State Forest State Park should be prepared for the Colorado sun. Sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses will provide visitors with necessary protection. Bringing a hat along with you may also be a great idea to help escape the summer sun.
Sturdy Hiking Boots
The 90 miles of trails at State Forest State Park feature several different geographic features and levels of terrain. The best way to be prepared for all the trails the park has to offer is to arrive at State Forest State Park wearing a sturdy pair of hiking boots.
Layers of Clothing
Temperatures in State Forest State Park can drop considerably very quickly. Campers and individuals looking to visit the park in winter should bring additional layers of clothing with them to the park. These layers will help visitors remain comfortable in all temperatures.
Field Guides and Park Maps
Wildlife enthusiasts visiting State Forest State Park may want to purchase and bring along a Colorado specific wildlife field guide to make identification easier. The visitor center can also supply hikers with trail maps and species checklists, as well as answer any additional questions about the park’s wildlife.
Where to Stay near State Forest State Park
Visitors looking to stay within State Forest State Park should make a reservation for one of the park’s campsites. These reservations can be made on the park’s website and through the park’s reservation portal. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel or other lodging establishment in the area should first search for options in Walden or Cowdrey. Visitors looking for additional options or wanting to stay in a larger town should make the drive to Fort Collins or Denver.
Food Near State Forest State Park
The closest food to State Forest State Park can be found in Walden or Cowdrey. However, visitors looking for additional options or a larger culinary scene may want to explore Fort Collins or Denver. Fort Collins is about 119 miles and a three-hour drive east of State Forest State Park. Denver is about 159 miles and a three-hour drive south of the park. Each of these cities contain countless restaurants and bars.
Airports Near State Forest State Park
The closest international airport to State Forest State Park is located in Denver. The Denver International Airport is 162 miles and about a three-hour drive south of the park. Other airports near State Forest State Park include the Cheyenne Regional Airport and the Grand Junction Regional Airport. Of these three options, the Denver International Airport provides the most access to the largest variety of connecting flights.