Colorado state parks to begin reopening campgrounds after months-long closure

Posted at 3:42 PM, May 11, 2020

DENVER – Colorado state parks will begin to reopen to campers Tuesday, May 12, Governor Jared Polis announced Monday. Campsites will be open to reservations only and bookings can only be made online.

Colorado's more than 4,000 campgrounds inside state parks were closed after the COVID-19-related stay-at-home order was implemented in March. However, certain restrictions are being eased under the state's "safer at home" guideline, including the phasing in of available campsites in coordination with counties.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said it will begin working immediately with counties that are open and willing to receive visitors. CPW said this will be a phased approach to reopening campgrounds with county coordination, some parks may have limited opportunity and others may remain closed for a few more days based on local needs.

Here's which state parks will open when:

Tuesday, May 12

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Fremont County campgrounds only)
  • Chatfield State Park
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Eleven Mile State Park
  • Elkhead Reservoir State Park
  • Highline State Park
  • Jackson Lake State Park
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Island Acres
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Fruita
  • Mancos State Park
  • Mueller State Park
  • North Sterling State Park
  • Rifle Falls State Park
  • Rifle Gap State Park
  • Staunton State Park
  • Vega State Park

Wednesday, May 13

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park*
  • Crawford State Park

Thursday, May 14

  • Boyd Lake State Park
  • St. Vrain State Park
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park

Friday, May 15

  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park*
  • Lake Pueblo State Park
  • Lory State Park
  • Navajo State Park
  • Ridgway State Park

The following parks continue to coordinate with local officials for reopening plans. Dates will be announced as they become available:

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Chaffee County campgrounds)
  • Lathrop State Park
  • Paonia State Park
  • Pearl Lake State Park
  • Stagecoach State Park
  • State Forest State Park
  • Steamboat Lake State Park
  • Sylvan Lake State Park
  • Trinidad Lake State Park
  • Yampa River State Park

READ MORE: Camping and the coronavirus: CPW recommends keeping your plans flexible

While some state parks are once again welcoming back campers, national parks remain closed to overnight guests. A timeline on when they will begin to reopen is not known. Polis said he would discuss the matter during his trip to Washington Wednesday, where he will meet with President Donald Trump to discuss additional resources.

Other camping accommodations remain closed. The state's 58 cabins and yurts located in state parks will reopen at a later time.

Polis cautioned campers to respect the host counties of where they will be camping in by fueling up and purchasing supplies in their local area, and not in communities near their campground.

The CPW provided the following guidelines:

  • Feeling sick? Stay home. Don’t go if you or anyone in your household feels sick or are having any COVID-19 related symptoms. If you or anyone in your party starts to feel sick while you are camping, go home.
  • Wash your hands. If you use a public restroom, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Bring hand sanitizer. Bring hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and use it often. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Give some space. Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others not in your household group. Do not congregate near bathrooms or water sources.
  • Wear a face covering. If you must stop at a gas station or store, wear a cloth face covering at all times.
  • Don’t be caught off guard. Bring a cloth face covering every time you leave your campsite, and wear it when there’s a chance that you may encounter others, such as out on the trail or in the woods.
  • No touching. Without thinking about it, we touch our own face a lot. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent potential spread of the virus.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
  • Keep a clean campsite. Place trash in plastic trash bags and properly dispose of your trash in available trash containers. If trash service isn’t provided at your campsite, bring it home with you.
  • Keep pets in your immediate control. Dogs must remain leashed at all times and maintain at least 6 feet from other people and animals. Avoid contact with other campers’ pets.
  • Have patience and be kind to others. Remember, we’re all in this together and tensions are high. Keep your distance, be courteous, and perhaps send a wave to your neighbors when you pass their campsite