Towing a boat behind your RV? Well then Jackson Lake is the state park for you. Situated on a large 2,700-acre reservoir, Jackson Lake State Park is known for its boating and water sports. This family-friendly park has seven excellent waterfront campgrounds with 260 campsites and lots of space to park your RV and play. Enjoy swimming in the warm water or splashing on the beautiful sandy shoreline. After your swim, relax with a picnic lunch at one of the 60 picnic sites available in the park.
Located in Orchard, Colorado, close to Denver, this 440-acre State Park is the perfect summer or winter RV destination. In addition to water sports, Jackson Lake has an Off-Highway Vehicle trail where you can take your dirt bike out for a spin. It is a popular place to hunt or fish or you can simply photograph the abundant wildlife. In the winter, you can ice skate on the frozen lake or try your hand at ice fishing. With excellent facilities, lots of recreational activities, and hundreds of spacious campsites, Jackson Lake State Park is an ideal RV campground.
RV Rentals in Jackson Lake State Park
Transportation in Jackson Lake State Park
Located in the northeastern corner of Colorado, Jackson Lake State Park is close to Fort Collins, Denver, and Boulder. The park is near to Orchard, Colorado and is 13 miles north of Wiggins, Colorado, off of I-76. While the park is off the beaten path, the route is well signed and you can follow the paved County Road Y.5 into the park. The park has two entrance stations at the west and south gates of the park, with the main entrance bring at the west gate. These entrance stations are staffed on weekends from late April until Labor Day weekend and on some weekdays. If you plan to arrive in the off-season or on a weekday, be prepared to pay with cash or check at the self-serve station located at the west entrance. Every vehicle entering the park must pay a fee in addition to the camping fees.
Each campsite is permitted to have one vehicle and trailer parked onsite, but an additional vehicle or motorcycle is allowed if space permits. If you are towing a vehicle behind your motorhome, you are required to get a towed vehicle pass for this vehicle. This pass is free of charge and you obtain it by showing your camping permit or proof of reservation at the entrance station, park office, or visitor’s center. There is additional parking in the Pelican Campground and day use parking in the Cove Campground by the west swim beach.
Many of the roads throughout the park are unpaved, so drive with caution as you may encounter deep ruts on some roads. The dump station is easy to access from the main road, just beyond the West Entrance station.
If you brought your bicycle, feel free to ride around the park but be sure to stay on designated trails and park roads. There are over three miles of biking trails located throughout the park. You can explore the park on foot by following the nearly two-mile hiking and nature trail that runs north from the Visitor Center to the Northview Campground. Bring some bug spray with you on the hike, as mosquitoes can be bothersome on the trails. While there is an OHV trail in the park, dirt bikes, and other OHVs are not permitted for use throughout the park on any road or in campgrounds. They must be hauled to the trail and only ridden on the designated track.
Campgrounds and parking in Jackson Lake State Park
Campsites in Jackson Lake State Park
This campground offers 20-30 amp electrical hookups for all of its 26 sites. It shared facilities with the Fox Hills campground but offers flush toilets as well as pay-per-use laundry and shower facilities. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center. The park can be busy during the peak season so reservations are recommended and can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival. As per the State Park policies, you must observe quiet hours at night. The length of the site varies, but vehicles up to 40 feet long can be accommodated.
Fox Hills Campground
The 87 sites at Fox Hills Campground are all non-electric. The campground does have flush toilets and pay-per-use laundry and shower facilities. The park fills up during weekends so reservations are recommended and can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center. The sites are Fox Hill and typically meant for tent-only, but some can hold RVs up to 50 feet long.
The Northview Campground has both 20 and 30 amp sites, however there are no sewer or water hookups. It is a small campground with 10 campsites that are a bit farther from the lake than the other campgrounds, however there is a 200-yard path to get to the lake. The sites are quite level and can hold RVs up to 40 feet in length. There are no flush toilets at this campground but the vault toilets are well-maintained. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center.
The park fills up during weekends so reservations are recommended and can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival.
Pelican Campground is named after the bird which can be occasionally spotted here by an astute observer. The campground has 20, 30 and 50 amp sites with a foot trail down to the marina as well as access to the Prairie Wetlands nature trail. There is a pond in this campground, which makes an excellent spot for wildlife photography. There is also a spot to set up a volleyball net if you want to have a game with friends. All the sites at this campground rise away from the lake, so most campsites still have a lakefront view even if they are not directly beside the reservoir. The site offers pay-per-use showers and flush toilets. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center.
The park fills up during weekends so reservations are recommended, especially if you are staying longer than one night. Reservations can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival. This campground is open to tents and RVs up to 45 feet in length.
The sites at Lakeside Campground fill up fast so be sure to reserve your RV site in advance, especially on weekends or for multi-day visits. Reservations can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival. This is best campground with those with large RVs since vehicles up to 60 feet long are permitted.
This is beachfront camping at its finest, as you can pull your trailer close to the waterline. There are 62 sites at this campground with 20, 30, and 50 amp electrical hookups, although four of the sites are non-electric and reserved for tents. There are no sewer or water hookups, but there are nine water stations available throughout the campground. Lakeside has the park’s one accessible campsite. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center.
The campground has both flush toilet and vault toilet facilities as well as a centrally located pay-per-use shower station and dumpster. Running through Lakeside is a food trail to the Shoreline Marina and to the Visitor’s Center. You can also play a game of horseshoes at the local horseshoe pits. Be careful using the three sets of stairs down to the waterfront, as they are mossy and can be slick.
Open from April until September, the Cove Campground has 16 campsites, all with 20 and 30 amp electrical hookups, although four of the sites are tent-only. Be prepared as all the sites in Cove require backing in, however they are quite spacious. The site lengths range from 16 to 45 feet. This campground is equipped with flush toilets and pay-per-use showers. The campsites have some natural or man-made shade as well as picnic tables and fire rings.
The Cove Campground is located close to the west swim beach and there is a foot trail you can follow to the visitor’s center. The Prairie Wetlands nature trail also winds its way through this campground. Cove is also home to an amphitheater, where you can enjoy informative interpretive programs on the weekends during the summer months.
While this is a big park, it can fill up during weekends so reservations are recommended if you want to get your favorite site. Reservations can be made six months in advance but must be made at least three days ahead of arrival.
As per the State Park policies, quiet hours must be observed at night. The park has one dump station that is centrally located between the west gate entrance and the visitor center. RVs up to 45 feet long are permitted.
If you missed the three day reservation cut-off, you can try to get a site on a first-come, first-served basis at the Sandpiper Campground.
This is a small campground so it fills up quickly, but some sites may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are recommended during the peak season, especially on weekends.
There are first-come, first-served sites available at Pelican Campground, although reservations are recommended, especially for extended stays and on weekends.
While reservations are recommended, some sites may still be available on a first-come, first-served if you missed the three day reservation deadline.
Sites at Cove Campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but reservations are recommended. If you decide to take a last minute trip, try to get a first-come, first-served site as all reservations must be made a minimum of three days in advance. The campground tends to fill up quickly on weekends during the peak season
Fox Hills Campground
All of the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis but reservations are recommended during the peak season and weekends.
Seasonal activities in Jackson Lake State Park
Just because you didn’t bring a boat, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Jackson Lake. With its sandy beach and warm water, this lake is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. If you are travelling with kids in your RV, Jackson Lake is great for families. The shoreline slopes gently, so there is lots of warm, shallow water with a sandy bottom for kids to enjoy. Be sure to swim only in the two designated areas, off of Lakeside Campground and Dunes Campground. These areas are wake-free so swimmers won’t be disturbed by watercraft. There is also a picnic area for you to enjoy by the beach. Please do not bring your pets to the beach and make sure all children are accompanied by an adult.
The Jackson Lake reservoir is a favorite of Colorado anglers. This large lake is home to rainbow trout, walleye, catfish, yellow perch, white crappie, and wiper fish, to name just a few. You can fish from a boat, your own or one rented from the Shoreline Marina, or off the north side of the boat ramp. You can also fish from the jetty on the dike at the south side of the marina, although this area is closed to fishing at night. Please do not fish from any of the swimming areas and note that you need a fishing license if you are over age 16, which you can buy online, over the phone, or at the Park Office.
Ice fishing is also popular during the off season, which runs from November until mid-February. If you go RV camping in the winter, you may be able to catch many trout at this time of year. Check the Jackson Lake State Park website or visit the Park Office for ice conditions before venturing out.
Playing Water Sports
Jackson Lake State Park is a favorite recreation destination for water sports. There is room for everyone to play on this wide open 2,700-acre reservoir. If you are RV camping with your boat, tow it to the four-lane boat ramp, located on the west side of the lake in Pelican Campground. Boating is not permitted after November, until all of the ice is off the lake in the spring.
For the adventurous, Jackson Lake allows water skiing on all areas of the lake, but you must stay 150 feet away from the designated swimming area. If you ski, make sure there is an observer in the boat and ski counterclockwise around the reservoir. You can also sail board and jet ski on the lake. You must be over the age of 16 to jet ski, but if you are RV camping with youth aged 14-15, there is a Boating Safety course offered at the park which qualifies them to operate watercraft.
If you towed your RV and didn’t have room to bring a boat, don’t worry! You can rent boats, jet skis, and other equipment from the Shoreline Marina. The Marina is located on the west side of the lake and also sells ice, bait, and snacks.
Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trails
If you brought your dirt bike on your RV vacation, then be sure to check out Jackson Lake’s OHV trail. This nearly two-mile track is perfect for beginners but is sure to be fun for the whole family. It is located on the south side of the park and is open year round. All OHVs must have valid registration and no large vehicles, such as a dune buggy, are permitted. The track is open from 8 a.m. until the sun goes down.
When summer is over, pack up your RV with camouflage gear then head to Jackson Lake State park to do some hunting. The park is a popular hunting destination for waterfowl, doves, pheasants and rabbits. A permit is required for hunting, which can be purchased online or at the Park Office. Hunting season is open from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the Friday before Memorial Day. There are some hunting restrictions, as you can only hunt with bows and arrows or shotguns with birdshot. Check the State Park website for a copy of their hunting brochure for specific regulations and for a map of designated hunting areas.
Wildlife Viewing and Photography
For the wildlife enthusiast or avid photographer, Jackson Lake State Park offers an abundance of wildlife to observe. Keep your camera close as you walk the nature trail or go out on the lake. Birds are especially plentiful at Jackson Lake, including pelicans, hawks, bald eagles, waterfowl, and many other shore birds. If you are lucky, you can sometimes spot a long-billed curlew or a whooping crane. The park is quieter in the off-season and it is home to long-eared owls who live in the shrubs along the lake. In the winter, you may find ferruginous or rough-legged hawks. If you are patient, you may be able to capture a photo of a deer, coyote, turkey, rabbit, or even a fox.