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How to Explore Denver's Chatfield State Park in Every Season


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Located 30 minutes southwest of the Denver metro area, Chatfield State Park presents a beautiful world of outdoor recreation for all ages! This Colorado park is located in Littleton and provides a lake for boating, miles of trails of hiking and biking, horseback riding, and a dog park for your furry friends!

Whether you are a Denver native looking for a weekend getaway or a visitor on a road trip through town, this Colorado state park has something for you! There are many options for camping as well if you want to stay the night and disconnect for a few days.

About Chatfield State Park

Winter sunset scene of a frozen mountain lake at southwest of Denver-Littleton in Colorado, USA.

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Chatfield is nestled alongside the lower foothills of the Front Range, just a half-hour from downtown Denver. At an elevation of 5,450 feet, the Chatfield Reservoir begins at Plum Creek and the South Platte River. The geographical area of the park presents gentle rolling plains mixed with sections of gravel, sand, silt, clay, and sandstones. The park itself offers almost 4,000 acres with 26 miles of trails. What is now the park is actually Native land of the Cheyenne, Núu-agha-t?v?-p?? (Ute), and O?héthi ?akówi? Indigenous tribes.

Boating & Water Sports

Boaters, swimmers, and water lovers flock to Chatfield Reservoir for fun in the sun when the weather permits. Popular activities at the park include boating, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, fishing, or just wading at the swim beach. Bring your paddleboard, kayak, or canoe to launch into the water, or bring your motorboat and use one of the two boat ramps. As far as the ramps go, the North Boat Ramp is located on the northeast side of the reservoir and has eight launch lanes and four courtesy docks, while the South Boat Ramp has two launch lanes and one courtesy dock.

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The on-site marina provides boat rentals, slip rentals, boat storage, and the Seagull's restaurant. For more information, you can call the marina at 303-791-5555 or go to 303-791-5555. The reservoir is closed to boating from December 1 to March 1. Sometimes in warmer months, boating hits capacity, and the rangers will regulate a one-in, one-out policy for boaters.

Trails at Chatfield State Park

With the snow covered Rocky Mountains and green trees in the background, sail and motor boats remain docked at the marina at Chatfield Reservoir State Park in Colorado.

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With 26 miles of trails to enjoy, there is a natural exploration path for everyone here! You can use the walking trails around the reservoir, pedal your bike on dirt paths, or rent a horse at Chatfield Livery for an equestrian ride. The park also offers corrals for leaving your horse overnight when you are camping. The Chatfield Dam Trail features 2.7-miles of primarily paved trail, accessible at the Dam Overlook parking lot.

Camping at Chatfield

Camping at Chatfield is made simple, with 197 campsites available for rent. Campers will enjoy electrical hookups (and some full-service sites with water and electric full hookups and sewer capabilities) at all four campgrounds in the park. All sites sit within walking distance to the lake and provide picnic tables, grills, and access to facilities with flush toilets, laundry facilities, centrally located water, a fire ring, and a sanitary dump station. There are also 10 group campsites available. Please call Aspira at 1-800-244-5613 or go to www.cpwshop.com for reservations.

Colorado Winter Sports

Ice fishing is a wonderful way to enjoy the park in the winter months. Make sure to take safety precautions before going out onto a frozen lake, pond, or river. Several "ice rescue stations" around Chatfield are marked with red poles and a tire and rope. Snowmobiling is prohibited at the park, but you can partake in snowshoeing on all trails with appropriate snow conditions.

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Biking, Flying & Picnicking

A Summer sunset view of a quiet picnic area at top of Chatfield Dam, Chatfield State Park, Denver-Littleton, Colorado, USA.

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Piloting model airplanes is a unique activity available at Chatfield State Park. The Model Airplane field has paved runways, frequency posts, and field regulations for radio-controlled aircraft in an area south of the campgrounds. No model rockets are permitted.

Use one of the on-site picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills scattered throughout the park. There are both individual and group sites that are usable on a first-come, first-serve basis. To observe the abundant wildlife that lives in the park, head to the Wildlife Viewing Area or one of the many natural areas where you can see coyotes, mule deer, white-tailed deer, songbirds, waterfowl, and birds of prey year-round. Follow the guidelines that include never approaching or feeding wildlife and keeping a safe distance.

Important Information to Visit

You need a Colorado State Park Pass to enter the park, ranging from $10 for a daily vehicle pass to $80 for an annual pass. To use the dog off-leash area, you can purchase a daily pass for $3 or a yearly pass for $25.

Managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the park office is located inside the park on the east side, toward the middle of the reservoir, between the Heronry Picnic Area and the campground. The phone number is 303-791-7275 for more information.

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READ MORE: 5 Family-Friendly Day Trips Around Denver, Colorado

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