Located on the gently rolling prairie grasslands on the western edge of the Great Plains of Sterling, Colorado, North Sterling State Park serves as the ideal destination for your next RV vacation. The park is a nature lover’s delight bordered by majestic bluffs and towering canyons. This 5,700-acre state park features a reservoir with 2,880 acres of surface area.
The park is a gateway to fun and relaxation with its adventurous outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, boating, biking, hunting, picnicking, and swimming. North Sterling State Park has approximately seven miles of well-elevated hiking trails. Biking and horseback riding are also allowed on these trails. The South Shoreline Trail is the longest with a length of about four miles. This trail is suitable for a quiet prairie ride along the reservoir's shoreline.
The reservoir is a boater's paradise that offers coves and inlets for boaters to explore during the spring and summer months. For anglers, the reservoir is known for catches of walleye, wiper, catfish, and crappie. North Sterling State Park has 38 picnic sites spread across the park, with each site outfitted with picnic tables. There are several picnic tables with shade shelters in other locations within the park as well. For swimmers, there is a swim beach with amenities like flush restrooms, a playground, and a public picnic pavilion.
Winter activities at the park include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing. The park has equipment rental services for life jackets, field guides, and family activity backpacks. There are also educational programs for schools, classes, clubs, and other organized groups. With so much to do here, it's the ideal eastern Colorado RV destination.
North Sterling State Park is located in Logan County, 30 minutes north of Sterling, Colorado. There are two entrances to the park. Elks Entrance leads to Elks Campground, Elks Boat Ramp, and the Visitor Center. The South Entrance leads you to the other two campgrounds as well as the South Boat Ramp, picnic areas, and hiking trails. You will be provided with a park map at both of these entrances so that you have a good understanding of the park’s layout. The map will also show additional day-use areas.
While you are in town, stop by the Overland Trail Recreation Area 16 miles to the southeast where you can enjoy several trails for hiking and biking as well as fishing in the pond. You can also visit the Prewitt Reservoir State Wildlife Area about 30 miles south of the park. They have boating, fishing, and hunting as well as wildlife viewing and hiking. If you aren’t into the water as much, check out the Pawnee National Grassland about a half-hour to the west where you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, biking, and hunting.
Local roads within the park are well paved to ensure that there is a smooth flow of traffic. These wide roads will take you anywhere you want to go within the park whether in your campervan or rig. There are no driving restrictions within the park so you can drive around the park with ease.
There are well-designed parking spots within the park for both campers and cars. Parking on the grass and off the roadway is not permitted. You can park your motorhome at the Balanced Rock Parking Area that is located north of the dam. Parking is also allowed at the campgrounds for those staying the night. Only one camping unit is allowed per campsite.
The pet-friendly Elks Campground in the northern section of the park is open year-round and has 50 spacious 30-amp electric sites. All campsites have a picnic table, shade shelter, and a campfire ring for your convenience so you can cook outdoors, make s’ mores, and eat together as a group. There is a service building for all campgrounds with modern restrooms, hot showers, and a laundry facility for you to use during your stay. The park also has two RV dump stations located at each end of the park for paid campsite users.
While the campground is open all year long, you will not find fresh running water from October until April to prevent freezing. There are all sorts of fun activities you can enjoy at the campground, including a picnic area near the ranger station. Several of the sites are right on the lake, so if you want to camp on the waterfront, you can choose from sites 5-7, 30, 42, and 43. You can even play a round of horseshoes at the court located within walking distance of your site. Reservations are required and can be made up to six months in advance.
All 43 campsites at Chimney View Campground are large and pet-friendly but have no utilities. Length limits for RVs range from 71 to 100 feet in length, so you can pretty much fit any motorhome at this campground. You don’t have to worry about running your generator to cook if you don’t want to since the park provides a campfire ring with a grill. And there is a shaded picnic table so you can eat without trying to balance your food on your lap in your camp chair. This campground is only open from May through September. You need to reserve your spot and can do so up to six months in advance.
In the center of the campground, you can find a comfort station with showers, a laundry, modern restrooms with running water, and meeting rooms. The amphitheater is also nearby where they hold programs during the summer months. The trail on the northern end of the camp takes you to the beach. As the name suggests, Chimney View offers scenic views since it sits atop a ridge. It can be windy, too, due to the elevation, so be prepared with stakes or things to weight down your belongings, so they don’t blow away.
Right inside the southern entrance, Inlet Grove Campground has 46 large campsites with 50-amp electrical hookups and can accommodate campers and motorhomes from 48 up to 98 feet in length. Be sure to check the length limit when reserving your spot so you can get the size you need. You can cook outdoors as well as indoors with the campfire ring and grill provided. There is also a spacious picnic table with shade where you can eat together as a family.
Water spigots, restrooms, laundry facilities, and showers are centrally located throughout the campground. The campground is closed from October until April. Pets are allowed at all campsites but not on the swim and ski beaches. You should not carry firewood in your RV but buy local firewood near your destined campground. Sites 119, 121, 123, 125-127, 129, and 131 are waterfront campsites if you want to camp on the lake. Reservations are needed, and you can make them up to six months previously.
The park offers an archery range from sunup to sundown every day. There are 18 targets at 11 stations with three sight-in targets at 40, 30, and 20 yards. The range is also ADA accessible so everyone can enjoy the activity. You’ll find the range just east of Balanced Rock north of the canal outlet. You will need a Colorado daily park pass, but there are no fees to use the range. However, those 16 and under have to be supervised by someone 18 or over — target tips and field tips only.
North Sterling State Park offers hunting for white-tailed deer, small game, and waterfowl in designated areas. Hunting is only permitted in established seasons on hunting areas open along the shoreline. In the fall and early wintertime, you can test your hunting skills here at the park. When hunting for deer, only bow and arrows are allowed, but you may use shotguns with birdshot for waterfowl, birds, and small game. You can pick up a map at the park office or the south entrance showing the designated hunting areas.
North Sterling State Park has about seven miles worth of non-motorized hiking trails for you to enjoy peace, quiet, and wildlife. The trails are well elevated to ensure that you have better views of the park’s features. The trails allow you access to hunting and fishing spots. Horse riding and biking are permitted on the trails. The Overlook Loop Trail is about two miles long and will give you a scenic view of the reservoir and the sunset. It is excellent for families with children. The Swim Beach Trail provides shoreline fishing access.
The park offers six miles of trails for cross-country skiing as well as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. South Shoreline is the longest trail, which is 3.6 miles long and has an elevation gain of 39 feet. The 1.1-mile Old Dam Trail is also fantastic for skiing with a 20-foot elevation gain. The Overlook Loop Trail is 0.7 miles with an elevation gain of 40 feet and begins at the Inlet Grove Campground. No matter which trail you choose, make sure to dress in layers because it gets below freezing most days here in the winter.
North Sterling State Park is a great place to bring your boat and head down to the reservoir. North Sterling Reservoir is a boater’s paradise with 2,880 acres of pristine water for you to explore. There are two boat ramps for you to launch the fun. These ramps are open to motorboats, jet skis, and help to launch activities like water skiing, paddleboarding, and sailboarding. Pontoon and other rentals are available by calling the park office. You are advised to ensure that your vessel has the required safety items on board. Before entering the water, stop by the Visitor Center for a boat inspection. Boating is closed in the winter season and resumes in early April.
Fishing at North Sterling State Park is open throughout the year. The park is home to smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill, carp, crappie, and rainbow trout. The reservoir has several access points. It is a magnificent warm-water fishery, featuring wiper, catfish, and walleye as well. Remember to carry your fishing gear in your campervan so that you may have a chance to catch this amazing natural life. The Visitor Center offers ice and firewood. Worms, frozen shrimp, and frozen mussels are in stock for sale when possible—call ahead to be sure.
There are more than three dozen picnic areas available for day-use throughout North Sterling State Park. All picnic tables in the park have shade shelters to keep you comfortable while you eat. Picnic areas with pedestal grills are available at the Sunset Cove, Cottonwood Cove, and the South Boat Ramp picnic areas. There are two picnic pavilions provided for group picnicking. The Marina Point Group Picnic Pavilion can accommodate groups of up to 75. Group picnicking reservations can be made by calling the park office. There is a playground close to the picnic areas to keep the kids busy.
Go ahead and pack your swimsuits and sunscreen in the camper before heading to North Sterling State Park. They have a huge swimming beach with a pavilion, restrooms, and picnic tables. There is also a playground for the kiddos to enjoy. The Cottonwood Cove Swim Beach is a great place to enjoy during the late spring and summer from Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day. Please note that there are no lifeguards, so you will be swimming at your own risk.