The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is one of the most distinctive state parks in Colorado because it features five individual park sections that follow the flow of the Colorado River from east to west. The sections, often called the string of pearls, offer guests and recreation seekers different opportunities, making each segment unique and exciting to visit. The five parts of the park that run from east to west are Island Acres, Corn Lake, Colorado River Wildlife Area, Connected Lakes, and Fruita; the sections begin in Palisade and follow the river to the park's end in Fruita, Colorado.
The park’s main headquarters is located in Corn Lake, and it is open daily, except on national holidays. The hours change seasonally and are often extended during holiday weekends and peak hunting season. For the most current park information, visitors and guests should contact or visit the Corn Lake office. The park also has two satellite offices, which also operate on seasonal hours. These offices are located within the two camping areas, Island Acres, and Fruita, so campers have access to a member of the park staff where they are most needed. The three park offices also provide boat registration, off-highway vehicle registration, snowmobile registration, and hunting and fishing licenses. A retail store and the Visitor Center is located at the Fruita section.
Maps of the park are available for download on the park’s website, or guests may pick up a map when they enter the park. Because there are so many things to see and do at the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park, your time as a guest here will both rewarding and relaxing.
The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is located in the Grand Junction area of the state of Colorado. The park runs from Palisade to Fruita, following the flow of the Colorado River.
Each of the five park sections has an entrance station, and guests are required to purchase a daily vehicle pass upon entry each day. If you plan on visiting more than one part of the park, keep your valid daily pass visible, so you don’t have to pay another fee on the same day. Guests can purchase a daily or yearly pass at the entrance station.
The parks are located along Interstate 70. To access the Island Acres section of the park, and the Island Aces campground, use exit 47 from Interstate 70. To access the Fruita section of the park, and the Fruita campground, use exit 19 from Interstate 70.
The Island Acres Section Campground is located in the eastern portion of the park. It is a pet-friendly campground with many waterfront RV sites. The campground operates year-round, but many of the facilities that use water, like the coin-operated showers and the laundry, are closed for winterization. RVers may choose from full-hookup spaces with 50-amp electricity, water, and sewer, or an electric site with 30-amp electricity and water hookups. The driveways are paved and are either back in or pull through spaces. Many of the driveways in this campground are long, but the max allowed RV or trailer is 70 feet in length. Each site has a tent pad, fire pit, grill, and picnic table. The campground has restrooms, coin showers, a dump station, and extra parking.
The Fruita Section Campground is located in the western portion of the park. The Fruita Section Campground is a pet-friendly campground offering RVers the many comforts of home. The campground is a reservation-only facility, and it operates year-round. During the winter, some of the areas that use water, like the coin showers and the laundry, are winterized for the season. RVers may choose from full-hookup spaces with 50-amp electricity, water, and sewer, or an electric site with 30-amp electricity and water hookups. The driveways are paved and are either back in or pull through spaces. Many of the driveways in this campground are long, but the max allowed RV or trailer is 50 feet in length. Each campsite has a tent pad, fire pit, grill, and picnic table, and many of the sites offer waterfront views. The campground has restrooms, coin showers, a dump station, and extra parking.
Each of the park sections has a multi-use trail for guests who like to get outside and hike or ride bikes. Bring your water and hiking or biking gear and experience the sounds of the Colorado River along your route. The Island Acres area has a .75-mile, self-guided interpretive trail that follows the Colorado River. Hikers can follow the natural surfaced path and learn about the geology of the area along their walk. The Corn Lake section of trail is one and a half miles, and it connects to the Wildlife Area’s Riverfront trail, which is approximately three miles long. Both sections allow hiking and biking. The Connected Lakes trail is four miles of varied surface paths that range from paved to hard-packed pathways. For hikers and bikers who prefer concrete trails, head to the Fruita section of the park. Fruita has the newest parts of the Riverfront trail as well as a one-mile gravel trail that runs along the perimeter of Red Rock Lake.
Whether you prefer to skim the shoreline and swim, or you like to cruise the waterways, there are plenty of recreational water opportunities located within the different sections of the park. Swimmers should visit the Swimmin’ Hole at Island Acres for a day of cooling off and fun. If you have a boat with an electric trolling motor or a boat without an engine, you can visit almost all of the park’s waterways except the swimming area, the Wildlife Area, and the Beswick Parcel in Pear Park. Boaters who prefer to float the Colorado River can launch their craft at Corn Lake, Connected Lakes, and Fruita. If you don’t have a boat, but you want to participate in some water activities, there are numerous river outfitters nearby that offer guided floats as well as gear and equipment rentals.
Part of what makes the outdoor areas within the different sections of the park enjoyable is the ability to sit near the Colorado River. Many visitors come to the park to picnic, even if they are passing through the area and just stopping for lunch. All of the park’s sections, except for the Colorado River Wildlife Area, have tables and charcoal grills. Most of the picnic areas are first-come, first-served and are located near shade or water. There are also group picnic areas available for reservation in the Island Acres and the Fruita sections of the park. For more information, consult a map, visit the park’s website, or contact a member of the park staff.
Anglers who love to fish year-round will enjoy the fishing within the park’s boundaries. Anglers may fish from the river or some of the ponds located in the different sections of the park. Whatever kind of fish you like to catch, you may find both cold and warm water species nearby. Depending on where you fish, be sure to check the Colorado Department of Fish and Wildlife’s guidelines for fishing as the area is home to several endangered species. Park maps give detailed information on boat launches, fishing piers, and other fishable areas. Don’t forget your fishing license. The state of Colorado requires that all anglers age 16 and older have and possess a valid license. You may purchase a permit at the park’s main headquarters, or from either of the satellite offices.
Guests who enjoy the solitude and silence of the early morning, or the fading colors of a sunset, will appreciate the wildlife viewing opportunities within the park. Many different animals pass through the different park sections, and visitors who are quiet and patient might catch a glimpse of a cotton-tailed rabbit, skink, mule deer, or a beaver. The more prominent watchable wildlife is the park’s birds. The area is host to migratory birds as well as other bird species. Bring your binoculars and your bird guides and see if you can spot dove, quail, songbirds, osprey, bald eagles, golden eagles, waterfowl, and shorebirds. Ask a member of the park staff where the best wildlife viewing areas are located, and see what you can spot out on your search.
Winter in Colorado is just as exciting as the summer. When the weather turns cold, and the snow begins to fly, people who love to be outside in the snow come to the state parks to enjoy the silence and the serenity of nature. The James M. Robb Colorado River State Park doesn't slow down during the winter. Although the facilities may be winterized, outdoor opportunities are still abundant. When the conditions are right, the park is open for ice skating and ice fishing. The trials, both paved and natural surface, are available for hiking, biking, or walking. Bundle up and see the Colorado River differently than you ever imagined!