Nestled in a narrow canyon in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Paonia State Park is ideal for water and nature lovers. The focal point is Paonia Reservoir. It attracts water skiers and others looking for boating in a true alpine environment.
The park itself, is fairly primitive. It’s secluded in a remarkable section of Colorado, 33 miles west of Crested Butte, via Kebler Pass, open only in summer. Water is not available anywhere, so remember to bring some. A picnic area near the stream has grills and tables.
Paonia State Park sits in a skinny canyon along the edge of Paonia Reservoir. There is boat access to the river and two campgrounds with thirteen sites total. Spruce Campground is in a small wooded area near the creek, while the other campground, Hawsapple, is closer to the boat ramp and Paonia Reservoir.
The main draw is definitely the 337-acre Paonia Reservoir. The park itself covers 1,507 acres. Boating and fishing are the main attractions. Water skiing is very popular during the warm summer months. The park is fairly primitive and there is no drinking water available.
There are no official hiking trails at the Park, although the surrounding Ragged Wilderness Area offers maintained trails. Horseback Riders and cross-country skiers can still access the park along the shore of the lake. Nothing is groomed. Pets are welcome in the park.
Activities at Paonia Reservoir
Boating: Water skiing, boat fishing and general recreation are main boating activities. 337 acre reservoir. Motor boats, sailboards and other personal watercraft permitted. More boating can be found about forty minutes south at Crawford State Park.
Camping: Yes, 2 campgrounds, 13 sites, basic camping facilities, no electric.
- Spruce Campground – Located in a wooded area next to a stream.
- Hawsapple Campground – Closer to the boat ramp, located just above the stream.
- All campsites have picnic table, fire ring and nearby vault toilets. No drinking water available at the park.
- Read about the camping near Paonia, Hotchkiss and Crawford.
- Lake is known for outstanding northern pike fishing. It’s best from late June through August. Ice fishing is not permitted.
- Stream has good trout fishing.
Picnicking: – Picnic tables can be found in the park.
Wildlife: Paonia offers the quiet & seclusion needed for wildlife watching.
Address: 30684 County Rd 12, Somerset, CO
Season: Year round, 24 hours a day
Fees: Yes, vehicle entry fee for day
Map: Paonia Directions (PDF)