Secluded near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison on Colorado’s western slope, Crawford is a beautiful state park to escape to. Fishing, boating, and hiking are among some of the activities found in this inspiring location.
Crawford State Park is hidden away in the middle of Colorado’s Rockies, probably some five hours from Denver. There are several sections of the park along Highway 92, each with water access. The lake is large and enjoyed by motorboats, jet skis, water skiers, sailboats.
There are two main campgrounds located lakeside, available for a nightly fee. The entrance to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an enjoyable 10-mile drive from the park. The North Rim has a 13 site campground tucked away in a heavy pine forest near the canyon’s edge. It’s first-come, first-serve, open spring to fall.
The town of Crawford has a tiny downtown strip with few places to eat and stay. Hotchkiss is also close by and offers more dining, shopping, and lodging. The biggest town in the area is Delta, 33 miles to the east.
Biking and Hiking: There are 1.3 miles of disconnected trails, from the swim beach south to Iron Creek Campground along Highway 92. There is also 0.3 miles trail in the Iron Creek interior and hikers can explore the half-mile Indian Fire Nature Trail on the west side.
Birding: Hundreds of bird species are located in the park.
Boating: There is a capacity of 60 boats (20 water skiing, 40 slow trollers fishing) allowed on the lake. Sailboats take up more capacity. Jet skiing and water skiing popular from mid-May through August.
Camping: There are two campgrounds at the park: Iron Creek (45 sites) and Clear Fork (21 sites). Some sites offer electrical hookups and winter camping is available. Reserve here.
Read about the camping near Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Crawford.
Cross-County Skiing: Allowed, conditions permitting.
Fishing: Crawford State Park is known for perch, crappie. channel catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, and rainbow trout. Ice fishing is allowed anywhere on the lake when the ice is 6+ inches.
Hunting: Waterfowl hunting is allowed in the fall seasons. Hunters must be 100 yards from anyone fishing and 150 yards away from the campground. Big game hunting allowed during the season under the above conditions.
Picnicking: There are several picnic areas throughout the park, each with a grill or fire ring. Groups of up to 100 people can be at Peninsula day-use area, which is located near swim beach, outdoor shower, and comfort station. Register at the park office.
Sailboarding: Allowed, but not common. Late May and June get the most wind but the water is cold.
Sledding and Snowshoeing: The Peninsula is the only good area for sledding while the entire park is open for snowshoeing, conditions permitting.
Swimming: Only permitted in the Peninsula day-use area at swim beach from late spring through the summer season.
Winter Recreation: Camping permitted in Clear Fork Campground. While there are vault toilets, there is no water or flush facilities. Recreation includes cross country skiing, ice fishing, ice skating, and snowshoeing.
The North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is only ten miles from the park. And both Paonia Reservoir and Sweitzer Lake are only about 45 minutes away from additional lake-centered state parks.
Address: 40468 Highway 92, Crawford, CO
Pets: Yes, on leash
Fees: Entrance (per day)