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Colorado State Parks

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USA Parks
Northwest Region
Steamboat Lake State Park
Picnic Table ©
It is always a great day for a picnic in the park.
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61105 RCR 129
Clark, Colorado   80428

Phone: 970-879-3922
Reservations: 970-879-3922
Email: park email button icon
One of the true jewels of Colorado, Steamboat Lake State Park has something special for everyone. Whatever your preference, well-deserved relaxation and recreation awaits you.

We are now taking reservations for all campground loops except for Bridge Island, which is still closed for hazard tree removal. We are very fortunate that our logging projects have been completed ahead of schedule, and hope that this trend continues for our remaining areas.

Hahn's Peak frames the breathtaking scenery of this premier park offering family fishing, camping, picnicking, trail and boating recreational opportunities. A full-service Marina and swim beach provide amenities for active water play. Winter comes alive with snowmobiling, ice fishing, and peaceful cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing amid snow-capped trees. Ten camper cabins down by the Marina welcome adventurers for a cozy night.
Nature of the Area
Steamboat Lake State Park Geology

The park is partially covered by Holocene alluvium on the west and north sides, which overlays Tertiary rocks of the Miocene Epoch. The principal Tertiary formation is Brown's Park Sandstone, sedimentary rock with silicic ash beds. A small area of intrusive silicic porphyry is present along the north shore.

Steamboat Lake State Park Plants

Native plant communities at Steamboat Lake are the following:? Sagebrush shrubland? Lodgepole pine forest? Northern subalpine forest? Aspen forest? Willow carr? Marsh? Wet meadow? Western slope grasslandSagebrush shrubland is the most common community type at Steamboat Lake, growing on dry slopes and ridges and on slightly moister slopes. Shrubland species include big sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, needlegrass and lupine.

In open areas of the sagebrush shrubland, mule?s ears and prairie junegrass dominate a western slope grassland community. The dominant forest trees are lodgepole pine and aspen with interspersed stands of Englemann spruce and sub-alpine fir. Herbaceous understory species include geranium, strawberry, arnica and mountain brome.

Willow carr, marsh and wet meadow plant communities exist in and around the reservoir and its tributary drainages. Willow carr is a wetland shrub community dominated by a variety of willows including wolf, booth, geyer and shining willow. Marshes consist primarily of sedges, rushes and bulrushes in areas with permanent standing water.

Wet meadows are not obviously marshy but possess traits, such as moist soil and hydrophytic vegetation, suggestive of periodic wet conditions. Common native species include tufted hairgrass, elephantella, western bistort, shrubby cinquefoil and scouring rush.

Steamboat Lake State Park Wildlife

Routt National Forest helps to preserve large tracts of contiguous habitat in the region. Mule deer and red fox commonly occur in the park. Rare sightings of black bear and mountain lion are sometimes reported. Other mammals at Steamboat Lake include American marten, long-tailed weasel, northern pocket gopher, beaver, muskrat and several species of shrews, voles, squirrels and mice. Tiger salamander, striped chorus frog and western terrestrial garter snake also are present. Because dramatic late summer drawdowns do not occur at Steamboat Lake, the reservoir exhibits characteristics similar to a natural lake with more constant shoreline conditions and water levels for resident and migrating wildlife.


Over 200 species of migratory and resident birds are known in the park including northern harrier, osprey, great blue heron, western screech owl, western bluebird, hairy and downy woodpeckers and red-winged blackbird. Located in the Pacific Flyway, the reservoir attracts many shorebirds and waterfowl. Greater sandhill cranes return to nest in the willow carrs and marshes each spring. The park staff requests that visitors keep their distance when observing the cranes.


Steamboat Lake offers excellent cold-water fishing opportunities for rainbow trout, Tasmanian and bel-aire hybrids, cutthroat trout and brown trout. Occasionally a Brook trout is reported.
All Colorado State Parks have entrance fees. All vehicles are required to have an entrance pass and some parks have walk-in fees. Visit the Colorado Park Entrance Pass web page.
 Hiking Trailyes
 Swimming Beachyes
 Bridle Trailsyes
BoatingLaunch Rampsyes
 Electric Sitesyes
Steamboat Lake State Park Camper Cabins

There are ten cozy 12?x12? camper cabins which provide simple necessities and incredible views. Similar to a wooden tent--with heat--furnishings are sparse and cooking isn?t allowed inside the units. Maximum occupancy of 4-6 people per cabin.

Cabin Amenities:? Electric heater? Beds with mattresses? A small refrigerator? And the all-important coffeepot for early-morning brews? An outdoor picnic table and fire ring (for summer)? Coin operated showers and flush toilets are available for cabin guests year around.

Some cabins feature a large window with a lovely mountain or Steamboat Lake view.

In the summer, camper cabins are drive-in. In the winter, they're walk-in only with a maximum walk of 100 yards. Don?t forget to bring bedding!
Steamboat Lake State Park Campsites

Most of the 188 campsites have either oustanding views or are shaded by aspen or evergreen trees. Some sites are near the shoreline.

The Dutch Hill campground includes is near the Marina, the Marina convenience store, swim beach, dump station and Camper Services Building with coin operated showers and laundry. The following loops are included: Wheeler loop has all-electric sites with 50amp outlets that are per night, Bridge Island sites are all non-electric, and are per night.

The Sunrise Vista campground has an amphitheater and is linked to the Dutch Hill/Marina area by a 1/4 mile foot trail. The following loops are included: Arnica, Harebell and Rosecrown and non-electric sites, and are $14 / night; Larkspur, Lupine, and Yarrow are electric sites with 50amp outlets and are per night.

Campsite reservations can be made for Memorial Day weekend through mid-September. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made from six months to three days in advance. Snow conditions generally permit summer camping facilities to be open from the latter part of May through mid-October. Check the park map for camping locations.

For 2009, campsites where logging has been completed may be reserved May 22nd through September 14th. Due to the popularity of the park, reservations are strongly recommended.
Boating at Steamboat Lake State Park

The Steamboat Lake Marina offers boat and dock rentals, fuel, snacks, camping supplies and firewood. Campers can leave their boats along the shore near their campsite or rent dock space from the Marina. A boat trailer storage area, located west of the Marina, is available for visitors staying at the park.

Boat ramps are located at Placer Cove and the Dutch Hill area. The Sage Flats boat ramp may be used to launch small boats only. Colorado boating statutes and regulations are available at the park office.

Poverty Bar Trail: New in 2005, this trail highlights the rich gold mining history of the area while connecting to the Routt National Forest.

Permitted uses: Foot, bike and horses

Miles paved: 0

Miles non-paved: 1.1

Total distance : 1.1

Usage : Low

Degree of difficulty : Easy

Elevation: 8,200

ADA accessible: No

Comments: Interpretive sign and bench.

Pets ? yes, on leash only. Tombstone Nature Trail: is listed in national publications as one of the best short trails in Colorado! This 1.1-mile loop trail at Placer Cove Day Use Area provides views of Steamboat Lake and highlights features of the area's natural and cultural history.

Permitted uses: Foot

Miles paved: 0

Miles non-paved: 1.1

Total distance: 1.1

Usage: Medium

Degree of difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Elevation: 8,200

ADA accessible: No

Comments: Self-guided interpretive trail.

Pets: Yes, on leash only.

Willow Creek Trail: Links the Dutch Hill/Marina area to the Sunrise Vista Campground and continues on to the Visitor Center providing 2 1/2 miles of hiking. From the Visitor Center, the trail continues on 1.3 miles to the Sage Flats Day Use Area.

Permitted uses: Foot and bike

Miles paved: 0

Miles non-paved: 3.8

Total distance: 3.8

Usage: Medium

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Elevation: 8,100

ADA accessible: Yes

Comments: This is a great family trail. A good easy to moderate trail for hikers and bikers of all ability. Excellent choice as a jogging or exercise path.

Pets: Yes, on a leash only.

Steamboat Lake Ski Touring Center (Winter Trail)

Permitted uses: Cross-country and skate skiers

Kilometers groomed: 6.8

Usage: Low

Degree of difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Elevation: 8,200

ADA accessible: No

Comments: One of the most scenic classic and skate ski opportunities in the state. In addition to the ski trails, a marked 1.5 mile snowshoe trail offers fantastic views of the Steamboat Lake area.Pets: Yes, on leash only.

Steamboat Lake Multiple Use Access Trail (Winter)

Permitted uses: Skis, snowshoe and snowmobile

Miles groomed: 5

Usage: Low

Degree of difficulty: Easy

Elevation: 8,100

ADA accessible: No

Comments: Trail provides excellent access to the 146 miles of groomed trails in the Routt National Forest. Parking is provided at the Marina parking lot. Please be aware of and respect the non-motorized trail area between parking lot and Visitor Center.

Pets: Yes, on leash only.

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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
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BBs / Inns
Experience one of Wyoming's most gracious and elegant historic country Inns. Enjoy gourmet dining with your loved one away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Casual, comfortable and a step back in time to a more leisured era. Be pampered in our 12 ensuite guest rooms year round.
67.5 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

From Steamboat Springs go west two miles on U.S. 40 to County Road 129. Turn north and drive 26 miles.

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Colorado State Parks