Navajo State Park is located on the shores of Navajo Lake in southern Colorado. Hikers, bikers, and watersports enthusiasts travel from around the country to Navajo, which is known for its warm waters and its gorgeous high-desert scenery. The lake's massive 15,000-acre surface, spanning the Colorado[-New Mexico state line, provides ample room for everyone, even when the park gets busy. The area’s milder temperatures allow boaters and campers to enjoy year-round outdoor activities and camping opportunities at Navajo State Park.
Navajo State Park neighbors some of Colorado’s most popular attractions. Many of these places are just a short drive away. Wooded landscape surrounds the steep canyons and the flat-topped mesas that hug the blue waters of the Navajo Reservoir. The park rests near the southern portion of the San Juan National Forest, an area known for its high desert mesas and canyons, as well as its jagged peaks, thick forests, and beautiful alpine meadows.
Visitors can spend the day on the reservoir and then head to the town of Pagosa Springs to soak weary muscles in the healing geothermal hot springs. If national parks are part of your travel plans, both Great Sand Dunes National Park and Mesa Verde National Park are only a few short hours from the park.
Whatever your adventure choices might be, Navajo State Park is the ideal destination for RVers. The park sports several RV campgrounds located right along the lakeshore, and lots of sites are available with electric or even full (electric, water, and sewer) hookups.
Navajo State Park, located right on the Colorado-New Mexico border, sits just off of CO-151. This major road is paved and well-maintained. Depending on which direction you're coming from, you may have to contend with some mountain driving on your way to Navajo.
To the south, you'll find a high but relatively flat desert, with few steep or winding sections of road. Coming from the north, though, you'll most likely have a few steep stretches drive as you travel across the foothills of the mighty San Juan Mountains. This part of the country, though, is frequently crossed by RVs and trailers large and small. Just take things slow, and you shouldn't have any problems, no matter what sort of rig you're driving!
As with any driving in the high country, snow and wintry conditions can cause driving hazards as early as October and as late as May. Be sure to check the local forecasts before traveling.
Sites across Navajo's several campgrounds are a mix of pull-through and back-in. Most sites are quite large and should pose few problems during parking. What's within walking distance will depend on which campground you end up at - though basic campground amenities (restrooms, showers, etc.) should be easily accessible from each of the three main RV campgrounds.
The Tiffany Campground is the park’s original campground. This primitive campground has no hookups, and many of the gravel spaces sit waterfront. This campground offers both back-in and pull-through sites from 20 to 55 feet in length, and each space has a fire pit, a picnic table, and a grill. The Camper’s Services Building has flush toilets and pay showers. Also located in this campground are pit toilets, potable water hydrants, and dumpsters.
The campground is open year-round for self-contained units. All of the facilities in this campground are winterized except for the vault toilets. The park asks that guests silence any noisy equipment, including generators, between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
The Carracas Campground is a pet-friendly, year-round campground offering electric-only RV sites. This campground is located just to the south of the marina and offers campers pull-through and back-in spaces ranging from 45 to 55 feet in length.
Each gravel space has 30- and 50-amp electrical service, a fire pit, a picnic table, and a grill. The Camper’s Services building is located within the campground and has flush toilets and pay showers for registered guests, and a seasonally operating laundry facility. Some amenities may close during the winter to preserve energy. Generators are permitted except during quiet hours.
The Rosa Campground is a pet-friendly, year-round facility offering full-service RV sites. This campground is located near the Visitor Center and offers campers pull-through and back-in spaces ranging from 45 to 55 feet in length. Many of the sites sit waterfront, offering stunning lake views. Each gravel space has 30- and 50-amp electric service, water, and sewer hookups, a fire pit, a picnic table, and a grill.
The Camper’s Services building is located within the campground and has flush toilets and pay showers for registered guests. There's a seasonally-operating laundry facility too. Some amenities may close during the winter to preserve energy. The park asks that guests silence any noisy equipment, including generators, between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
RVers with smaller rigs can enjoy year-round camping at Windsurf Beach, which is located on the western shore of the Navajo Reservoir but is about a mile north of the park's main campgrounds. Each pet-friendly site offers a picnic table, grill, and access to a vault toilet.
Windsurf Beach is a primitive campground with no hookups. Visitors with RVs and trailers, though, can use the dump station near the Carracas Campground. Windsurf Beach allows first-come, first-serve camping, but reservations are recommended in the spring, summer, fall, and winter holidays.
Arboles Point is the park's most far-flung campground. It sits on a small peninsula jutting into the reservoir's northeastern side. RVers with smaller rigs can camp from mid-April through November at Arboles Point, which sports just four sites. Each pet-friendly site offers a picnic table, grill, and access to a vault toilet. There are no hookups available at this primitive campground.
Visitors with RVs and trailers, though, can use the dump station near the Carracas Campground. Arboles Point allows first-come, first-serve camping, but reservations are recommended in the spring, summer, fall, and winter holidays. The park asks that guests silence any noisy equipment, including generators, between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
Mixed in with the standard RV sites at the Tiffany Campground, Navajo State Park also sports three charming cabins that are available for overnight rentals. Though humble on the outside, these cabins are well-furnished, boasting several modern amenities. These include their own restrooms with showers, electric stoves, fridges, dishwashers, microwaves, cooking implements, heating, AC, basic furniture, and enough beds to sleep six. Linens are not furnished, however, so visitors need to bring their own.
Outside, you'll find a fire ring with a grill, a picnic table, and several deck chairs. Enjoy an evening meal and take in the marvelous views of the Navajo Reservoir as the sun sets over the water. Two of the three cabins allow pets, with a small additional deposit. Parking space is ample, though it cannot accommodate any large rigs or trailers (20 feet is the length limit).
Bring your hiking and biking gear and head out to one of the park’s five, year-round, multi-use trails. The park’s trails are all leashed-dog friendly and offer guests many different views of the lake and the San Juan River Valley.
Because many of the trails are along the waterfront, guests should use sunscreen and insect repellent to protect skin from the high-altitude sun and the bugs that like to hang out near the lake's shallows. The trails inside the park have varying surfaces, some more bike-friendly than others. Outside of the park’s boundaries lie miles of multi-use trails, some perfect for horseback riding. If you bring your horse, you can ride along the Piedra and San Juan Rivers off County Road 500.
And if you venture just a bit outside the park, high-country trails await. The massive San Juan National Forest sits just to the north of Navajo, while Carson National Forest is just to the south. Each boasts dozens of miles of hiking trails. The former is known for its world-class hiking and backpacking, especially in and around the 400,000-acre Weminuche Wilderness.
Whether you choose to cast from a scenic spot along the shore or head out in the boat, you'll have the opportunity to catch shallow water fish, including bluegill, catfish, crappie, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.
The reservoir's deeper waters are host to several varieties of salmon, such as Kokanee salmon. Access the park’s boat ramp just past the boat inspection area, located in between the Carracas Campground and the Rosa Campground. If you prefer shoreline fishing, park next to the ANS Deacon Station near the marina dry storage area. People over the age of 16 will need a fishing license to fish in Colorado waters. If you plan to cross state lines and fish in the New Mexico sections of the lake, pick up a New Mexico fishing license at the Visitor Center.
During the summer months, the park hosts several environmental educational programs meant to teach guests about nature and wildlife within the park’s boundaries. If you are visiting during a time where these events are not scheduled, though, it doesn't mean you won’t have the opportunity to view some of the park’s diverse wildlife populations.
The Sambrito Wetlands and the Watchable Wildlife Viewing Area are great places to see some of the rich fauna that's native to southwest Colorado. Visitors may see animals such as jackrabbits, raccoons, birds, deer, elk, fox, beavers, prairie dogs, river otters, and muskrats. Pick up a park map or inquire about the viewing areas at the Visitor Center.
The Visitor Center at Navajo State Park is more than just a place to gather information and speak with park rangers. At the Visitor Center, park guests can spend time learning about the history and ecology of the park.
The facility has exhibits that showcase Ancestral Puebloan artifacts as well as local flora and fauna. If books and gift items interest you, the gift shop contains Navajo State Park apparel and other small gift items for the guest who always needs a travel souvenir. As with many state parks, the Visitor Center is the hub of park services, and the rangers here are available to give guests current park information as well as answer any questions you might have about your stay.
Navajo Reservoir is undoubtedly the park's main draw. Watersports enthusiasts come here year-round to boat and play on its waters, which are quite a bit warmer than those of other lakes and reservoirs in the region.
Visitors interested in renting boats can rent pontoon boats, fishing boats, ski boats, and stand up paddle boats by the half day or full day. If you own your own watercraft, you can launch your boat from the park’s boat ramp. Boaters should be aware of and adhere to the state laws for both Colorado and New Mexico since the lake spans both states. Stop by the marina or call ahead to reserve your boat for a day of fun and sun on the water!
Because the reservoir is the hub for most of the park’s recreation, Navajo State Park's full-service marina is a point of interest for many park guests. The aptly named Two Rivers Marina is located just south of where the Piedra and the San Juan Rivers meet.
The marina has a small store that sells cold drinks, gasoline, ice, fishing tackle, and boating supplies. There is a clean restroom for boaters and shoppers to use, as well as a rental facility where visitors who don’t have boats can rent varying types of watercraft. Even if you don’t plan on spending time on the water, you should be sure to check out the marina!