Lathrop State Park rests in the shadows of Southern Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range’s Spanish Peaks. The mountains, known for the fiery hue the sunrises and sunsets create across the horizon, provide a luminous backdrop for recreation in and around the 1,594-acre state park.
Lathrop State Park, Colorado’s first state park, is located in Walsenburg, Colorado. The park is open year-round with limited seasonal operations. Visitors, no matter the time of year they arrive, will have plenty of activities for any age group to enjoy. Before venturing out into the park, stop by the large visitor center to learn about the southern Colorado region, pay for park passes, buy hunting or fishing licenses, or procure boat and snowmobile registrations. The large and accessible visitor center also serves as a gift and bookstore, as well as a place to pick up ice, firewood, bait, and even ice cream!
If you want to visit The Great Sand Dunes National Park, make Lathrop State Park the place you stop and sleep for the night along your way. The Great Sand Dunes is less than two hours away, but accommodations near the dunes are limited. Stay someplace comfortable and full of activities, and make your trip to the dunes a quick day trip!
RV Rentals in Lathrop State Park
Transportation in Lathrop State Park
Lathrop State Park is 167 miles southwest of Denver and 97 miles southwest of Colorado Springs. Exit Interstate 25 and head west toward Walsenburg on Highway 160. The park is located three miles west of Walsenburg on the north side of the road.
Once you are inside the park, you will find a large, RV accessible parking lot near the visitor center. Park, take a map and make yourself comfortable with the park's layout. Many of the roads inside the park are one-way streets. The streets are clearly labeled, but they don’t always follow and standard-traffic flow, so pay attention to signs at junctions and turn offs to avoid taking a wrong turn.
All Colorado State Parks have a daily parking fee. The cost of the pass is an addition to camping and recreation fees. Visitors who frequent Colorado State Parks can purchase a yearly pass online or buy daily passes at the park’s entrance.
Campgrounds and parking in Lathrop State Park
Campsites in Lathrop State Park
The Yucca Campground is a pet-friendly, primitive-style, reservation-only campground that accommodates smaller-sized RVs and trailers. This seasonally-operated campground offers back-in gravel sites that range in size from 25 to 50 feet in length. Each site has a fire ring and a picnic table. There is no electric service in this campground, but visitors have access to community hydrants, vault toilets, and a dump station. Generators are allowed, but please silence them during quiet hours from 10 pm to 6 am.
The Pinon Campground is a four-looped, reservation-only campground that operates seasonally. During the winter months, one of the loops remains open for visitors, but the rest of the campground is closed until regular peak-season park operations resume. The campground is a pet-friendly campground that offers paved, pull through and back in sites ranging from 25 to 75 feet in length. Some of the sites have tent pads, and all of the sites have fire rings and picnic tables. When reserving your space, you can check to see which sites offer shade from the natural vegetation. All of the spaces are electric-only offering 20/30/50 amp hookups. The campground has a centrally-located playground, community hydrants, restrooms with pay showers, and a dump station.
Seasonal activities in Lathrop State Park
Water enthusiasts will enjoy the warm lake water of Martin and Horseshoe Lake. Because the park sits between the foothills and the plains, the lakes often reach temperature averages of 75 degrees in the summer. Martin Lake has a designated swimming area with covered picnic tables, grills, and a ski beach. Guests can water ski, fish, power boat, sailboat, or windsurf on Martin Lake. Horseshoe Lake allows sailing, wakeless boating, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. No pets are permitted at the ski and swim beach. Check with the park for more information about lake activities. Swimming is allowed seasonally, and Horseshoe Lake closes during Waterfowl-hunting season.
The whole family can enjoy a day of fishing at Lathrop State Park. Children under the age of 16 can learn to fish at the fishing pond because it is stocked with small, easy to catch fish. The park often offers fishing clinics for children, making fishing an even more fun family activity. People over the age of 16 will need a fishing license to fish in Martin and Horseshoe Lakes. Stop by the visitor center to purchase a permit before heading to the waters to catch wipers, crappie, channel catfish, bass, walleye, bluegill, and rainbow trout.
Lathrop State Park and the Walsenburg Golf Course share the same entrance. The golf course is within walking distance of the Pinon Campground, which makes golfing and camping twice the fun! People visiting the park can golf 9 or 18 holes, rent a golf cart, and enjoy a meal at the full-service restaurant and bar. The golf course is open year-round, but the hours and availability change seasonally or when the course operates on a limited availability because of tournaments. Contact the golf course office for current information.
Hiking and Biking
Lathrop State Park has two main trails. Hikers can take the Hogback Trail, a moderately difficult two-mile unpaved trail that offers views of the peaks and a self-guided informational walk about the park’s plant and animal life. Bicycles are prohibited on the Hogback Trail, so people who wish to bike should take the Cuerno Verde Trail. The Cuerno Verde Trail is an easy, three-mile paved trail that loops around Martin Lake. This trail allows bikes and foot traffic and is located just a short walk away from the campgrounds.
Geocaching is a fun game where people use a handheld GPS device to locate caches or containers in locations all over the world. Cachers will love hunting for hidden treasures in Lathrop State Park because there are thirteen official geocaches located within the park’s boundaries. All of the locations are easy to access and located along different points of interest. The park does not rent GPS units, so be sure to bring your own!
Bring your RV and stay close to your hunting location. Small game and waterfowl hunting are allowed during the hunting seasons after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Licensed hunters can hunt in the park’s posted-hunting areas using bows and shotguns, but hunters must supply their own hunting equipment. The visitor center sells hunting licenses. Contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife for more information.