Mancos State Park is secluded in a picturesque mountain wilderness, twenty miles northeast of Cortez. Jackson Gulch Lake is the highlight of the park. It’s an outstanding place to fish year round and open to wakeless boating.
Camping in the park makes a great base for exploring the area’s attractions like Mesa Verde, Durango and Cortez. The town of Mancos lies about 15 minutes south of town. The area’s biggest attraction, Mesa Verde, is located only twenty minutes southwest of the park.
Mancos State Park offers year round recreation and retreat in the mountains of Southwest Colorado. It’s centered around a picturesque lake in the woods above Mancos. The lake is open to wakeless boating including canoes, kayaks and sailboats. Fishing is popular year round, with ice fishing in the winter.
There are two campgrounds. Both are in forested areas. The first one is close to dam and probably better fishing. The West campground is on the opposite end of the lake. All are nice and reasonably priced. There is water in the first campground. All have fire-pits, tables, and space for a tent.
Activities at Jackson Gulch Reservoir
Biking: Permitted on most trails; single-track. Trails within the park often connect with National Forest trails, as well as the Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail. Closed mid-October until Spring when lake deices.
Boating: 217 acre lake; Wake-less boating – use of hand-powered crafts is permitted: canoes, kayaks, sailboats, etc.
Cabins & Yurts: Nightly rentals with pet fee, open year round. with gas heater and electricity.
Camping: Yes, 32 sites; 2 campgrounds; All sites are drive-up with a fire ring, picnic table and space for tent. There is drinking water, vault toilets, but no electrical hookups or shower facilities. Reservations
Read about the camping near Mancos and Mesa Verde.
Equipment Rental: 1 Canoe, 1 Kayak, 2 Pedal Boats are available for rent during summer for Half-day and Full-day (more than 4 hours).
Fishing: Lake is stocked with rainbow trout a few times over the year. Yellow perch is also common.
Hiking: 5.5 mile system of trails.
Horseback Riding: Permitted on most trails, which often connect with larger national forest trails.
Hunting: Not permitted in the park. The nearby San Juan National Forest offers excellent turkey, deer and elk hunting, among others. Another State Park in the area, Lone Mesa, offers select elk, deer and bear hunting by limited drawing.
OHV Riding: Cannot be used inside the park. There are several trails within nearby San Juan National Forest.
Swimming: Not permitted in lake.
Winter Recreation: There are lots of cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails within the park. The two heated yurts are open in the winter and the campground is plowed. Some sledding spots exist around the boat ramp. Ice fishing is available on the lake.
Hesperus Ski Area offers tubing and downhill skiing, fifteen minutes away.
Address: 42545 Road N, Mancos, CO
Season: Year round, 24 hours a day
Fees: Yes, vehicle entry fee per day or annual pass