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, which 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, so remember to bring some. A picnic area near the stream has grills and tables.
The 1,507-acre 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, where boating and fishing are common attractions. Water skiing is also popular during the summer.
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. It should be noted that nothing is groomed in the park and pets are welcome.
Activities at Paonia Reservoir
Boating: Water skiing, boat fishing, and general recreation are the main water activities on the 337-acre reservoir. Motorboats, sailboards, and other personal watercraft are permitted. More boating can be found about forty minutes south at Crawford State Park.
Camping: There are 2 campgrounds with 13 non-electric, basic camping sites. All campsites have picnic tables, fire rings, and nearby vault toilets. There is no drinking water in the park, so make sure to pack wisely. There is a nightly fee to camp at both sites.
- Spruce Campground – Located in a wooded area next to a stream.
- Hawsapple Campground – Closer to the boat ramp, located just above the stream.
Read about the camping near Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Crawford.
Fishing: The reservoir is known for outstanding northern pike fishing as well as trout. It’s best from late June through August and ice fishing is not permitted.
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
Fees: Vehicle (daily)
Map: Paonia Directions (PDF)