This peaceful paradise on the plains, John Martin State Reservoir State Park is the site of the first state park in Southeast Colorado. Located in the Lower Arkansas River Valley, the John Martin Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in the state with a surface area up to 10,000 acres and is known for its excellent fishing and watersports. Located 100 miles from Pueblo, John Martin Reservoir State Park is an excellent choice for an RV visit at any time during the year. The campsites have fantastic views and the sites near Lake Hasty are nestled under large trees, offering shade to visitors year-round.
Camping is available year-round at John Martin Reservoir State Park and is close to many historical landmarks and offers plenty of activities for nature and recreation lovers. The park is also home to the John Martin Dam, which is the namesake of the park, a 118-foot high and two-mile long dam managed by the US Army Corp of Engineers.
Once settled into your campsite you can explore the trails and view the ancient native rock carvings and spot some of the local wildlife. For the birders, John Martin Reservoir is home to over 370 species of birds so be sure to pack your binoculars in your RV. Anglers will relish in the many species of fish in both the reservoir and the stocked Lake Hasty, with fishing available both from shore and by boat. Biking, boating, and swimming are other popular activities for all visitors.
RV Rentals in John Martin Reservoir State Park
Transportation in John Martin Reservoir State Park
John Martin Reservoir State Park is easy to access by either vehicle or RV. Located just 105 miles from Pueblo, take highway 50 east to County Road 24/School Street and go south. The park is located two miles from the highway. A series of paved and gravel roads run through the park and allow for easy access to the various facilities of the park from the visitor’s center to the camping areas and picnic areas to the boat ramps. The roads near and within the park are easy to navigate for even large RVs.
There are several parking lots throughout the park to allow for easy access to the many park facilities. You will find parking near the boat ramps, trailhead, visitor center, and at Lake Hasty. Of course, for those staying, overnight parking is available on your site. It is easy to get around the park on foot or by bike. Bikes are allowed in many areas of the park and the hiking trails are easily accessible.
Campgrounds and parking in John Martin Reservoir State Park
Campsites in John Martin Reservoir State Park
Lake Hasty Campground
The Lake Hasty Campground features 109 family-friendly campsites, offering back-in and pull-through spots for tents, trailers, and RVs. There are 51 campsites that are accessible year-round, while potable water and a dump station are available on-site. Amenities of this campground include a full-service camper station, flush toilets, pay showers, a laundry room, and a seasonal fish cleaning station. Each site is on a gravel pad featuring electrical hookups, a fire ring, and picnic table.
Children will love the playground and the trees provide plenty of shade. You will also be close to trails, picnic areas, boat ramps, fishing areas, and a beach for swimming. The Lake Hasty campground is located right on the shore of the lake, offering easy access to many aquatic activities. Some of the sites here are nice and spacious, offering room for RVs or trailers over 100 feet long. This campground is ADA accessible. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
The Point Campground
For those looking for a more primitive camping option, the Point Campground is a great choice. The Point Campground features 104 basic, pet-friendly campsites that all overlook the reservoir. While potable water is available, electricity is not. Amenities include vault toilets on each loop and a fire ring and picnic table on each site. You will also be close to picnic areas, fishing areas, and a beach for swimming. Another bonus of this campground is that sites are large and roomy. Some can even hold RVs or trailers up to 153 feet long. You’ll love relaxing at your campsite with beautiful views of the reservoir. The Point Campground is closed in the winter. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance.
There are no first-come, first-served campgrounds at this park. Reservations are required.
Seasonal activities in John Martin Reservoir State Park
Swimming is a popular activity for RVers at the park, however, swimming is only allowed in posted areas. No lifeguards are on duty at any time and lifejackets are required for all swimmers. From Memorial Day through Labor Day you’ll want to head on over to the sunny shores of the beach at Lake Hasty to jump in and beat the heat in its stunning blue waters.
The John Martin Reservoir is one of the largest reservoirs in Colorado and is a well-known spot for all watersport enthusiasts. The reservoir is open to all types of boating including waterskiing and jet skiing, while Lake Hasty is limited to vessels which can be hand launched only, such as sailboats and those with electric motors. All boaters must follow Colorado boating statutes and regulations and vessels must be inspected for invasive species prior to being launched. Boating closes from November through March each year.
A four-mile trail, called the Red Shin Hiking Trail, runs through the short prairie grasses and the wetlands around Lake Hasty. Beginning just below the dam the Red Shin Hiking Trail passes the Santa Fe Trail, which is another excellent shorter hike, on the north side of the reservoir. This trail will not only expose hikers to nature, but you will also experience a history lesson as you pass historic canals, native rock art, and carvings. The Red Shin Trail is also home to many species of wildlife including deer, antelope, rabbits, snakes, and lizards. Trails are pet-friendly, however, be sure to abide by the park rules and keep your pet on a six-foot leash. When you're ready to hit the trail simply park your rig by the trailhead and get started.
Biking is permitted throughout John Martin Reservoir State Park and can be enjoyed year-round with the mild winters of Colorado under the clear blue skies. The are no specific trails designated for bicycles at John Martin Reservoir State Park and bicycles are not allowed on hiking trails when posted. However, if you’re packing your bike in your rig you can enjoy a relaxing ride on the paved roads.
John Martin Reservoir State Park is a birders paradise! Over the past decade, John Martin Reservoir has been one of the most important nesting sites in Colorado for Piping Plovers and Least Terns. Also, a heron hookery exists on site in the west end of the park. Over 370 species of birds visit the park at some point during the year, so you are sure to catch a glimpse of many unique and interesting species during your visit. Make sure you pack your binoculars in your camper and don’t forget your camera. Species in the park include sandpipers, eagles, owls, hawks, herons, pelicans, swans, wrens, flycatchers, and many more. A birding checklist is available online.
The John Martin Reservoir is a popular spot for warm water fishing. Anglers will delight in catching bass, drum, crappie, walleye, catfish, bluegill, and saugeye. Lake Hasty, located below the dam, is a stocked lake and a popular spot for fishing from shore or by boat. Species in the lake include Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout.