Mancos State Park is secluded in a picturesque mountain wilderness, twenty miles northeast of Cortez. Jackson Gulch Lake is the highlight of the park and is 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 while 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 boats including canoes, kayaks, and sailboats.
There are two reasonably priced campgrounds in forested areas. The first one has water and is close to the dam, making it better for fishing. Meanwhile, the West campground is on the opposite end of the lake. All have fire-pits, tables, and space for a tent.
Activities at Jackson Gulch Reservoir
Biking: Single-track biking is permitted on most trails. Trails within the park often connect with the National Forest system as well as the Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail. Closed mid-October until Spring when lake deices.
Boating: There is a 217-acre lake that allows wake-less boating as well as the use of hand-powered crafts, canoes, kayaks, and sailboats. The boat ramp is closed mid-October until the ice thaws.
Cabins & Yurts: Nightly rentals with a gas heater and electricity are open year-round. Pets are permitted at an additional fee.
Camping: There are 32 campsites spread across 2 campgrounds. All sites are drive-up with a fire ring, picnic table, and space for a tent. There is drinking water, vault toilets, but no electrical hookups or shower facilities. Reservations can be made in advance.
Read about the camping near Mancos and Mesa Verde.
Equipment Rentals: 1 Canoe, 1 Kayak, 2 Pedal Boats are available for rent during summer for Half-day and Full-day (more than 4 hours).
Fishing: The lake is stocked with rainbow trout a few times over the year. Yellow perch is also common.
Hiking: A 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 the nearby San Juan National Forest.
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
Fees: Vehicle (daily)