Situated in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, Sylvan Lake State Park invites nature lovers and RV camping enthusiasts from near and far to enjoy a splendid vacation among stunning views of a mountain-surrounded lake, fragrant wildflowers, diverse species of flora and fauna, lakeside picnic spots, cozy camping cabins, and well-developed campgrounds. Surrounded by the White River National Forest, this park is comprised of over 1,500 acres of countless scenic spots ideal for nature photography. The park’s aspen groves, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, and Juniper forests will calm the senses and fill the eyes of visitors with wonder.
The park is named after the 42-acre Sylvan Lake which is surrounded by panoramic, sky-high mountains. The lake is popular among locals for activities such as fishing, boating, and picnicking. Sylvan Lake State Park offers numerous recreation opportunities for visitors and RV campers to ensure there is never a dull moment during their stop-over at the park. A few of these activities include hiking, biking, picnicking, hunting, horseback riding, and geocaching. The park is open year-round for campers and day visitors alike. RV campers can claim a campsite in any of the park’s two campgrounds, which collectively offer 46 campsites. The park is also equipped with several cabins and yurts to ensure that they can accommodate all of their visitors' camping needs.
Sylvan Lake State Park is situated in Colorado’s Eagle County. The park is 30 to 40 minutes away from downtown Eagle if traveling by car or RV. The park’s location is on the famous Brush Creek Road, about 20 miles south of Interstate-70. Visitors will want to use caution when driving in and around the park, especially if they are in a big rig since the roads can be winding and mountainous. Obey all posted speed limits both in and out of the park and keep a sharp eye out for wildlife and other park guests. Visitors should take extra care during the winter months when heavy snow may cause poor road conditions.
Elk Run Campground comprises 34 of the park’s 46 campsites. The campsites offer excellent views of the Sylvan Lake and are situated down the Bush Creek Valley. While none of the sites have hookups, clean drinking water and vault toilets are available year-round. Sixteen of the 34 sites are pull through, and the remaining are back-in only. Elk Run campground can accommodate rigs up to 120 feet long. During the summer season, coin-operated showers and flush toilets are available. Reservations can be made year-round, but visitors should plan ahead if they intend on visiting between May through September, the park's peak season. Six people are allowed per campsite and the campground is pet-friendly, however, pets must be leashed. Quiet time is between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM.
The aptly named Fisherman's Paradise Campground is best known for its choice location directly along the shore of the park's scenic Sylvan Lake. While visitors will have to give up some privacy at the relatively small campsites, it's worth it for those who are most focused on water-based activities. There are no hookups available; however, there is a dump station and two vault toilets in the campground. Each of the 12 sites is back-in only and can accommodate rigs up to 40 feet long. Site 46 is ADA compliant. Quiet time is between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM every night and park authorities ask that visitors turn their generators off between those times. Reservations are available year-round, but visitors should plan ahead if they want to get there during peak season as these limited sites tend to fill up quickly. Pets are allowed, but must be leashed at all times while inside of Sylvan Lake State Park.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to make reservations as the park is busy year-round. However, any sites that have not previously been reserved are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Campers who intend to utilize this option rather than make a reservation will want to show up early to claim a site as they are rarely left unreserved.
Visitors who need a break from the RV may be interested in reserving one of the park's three yurts for a few nights. Each yurt can accommodate up to six people and comes with heat, a cupboard for storage, and a fire ring and grill. Visitors are encouraged to bring any bedding and supplies they would normally bring for camping, such as sleeping bags and food.
For visitors who are looking for a more luxurious camping experience, the park has nine cabins. The smaller cabins come with beds, heat, fire rings, tables, and cupboards. There is one large cabin that comes with a sink, multiple bunk beds, a refrigerator, a bathroom with a shower and a futon in the living room. There is no electricity in any of the cabins, so visitors should come prepared with lanterns and flashlights for night time. The smaller cabins sleep up to six people, and the large cabin can sleep up to 12.
During the peak season, groups up to 60 people can reserve the group campsite located in the northwest corner of Elk Run Campground. The campground has all the same amenities as Elk Run campground and has its own vault toilets. The site can be reserved up to six months in advance. The campground can accommodate up to eight rigs, 20 tents, and a maximum of 20 vehicles. As with the rest of the campground, quiet hours must be observed from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.
The park’s 42-acre water body, Sylvan Lake, is an incredible destination for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Non-motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, and boats with electric trolling motors are permitted on the lake water and, the park has boating equipment that is available for visitors to rent. Anglers should be aware that fishing is only allowed during peak season. The lake is stocked with several varieties of trout including rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and brown. There are also opportunities for mountain stream fishing along the East and West Brush Creek.
Sylvan Lake’s picturesque hiking trails offer visitors a chance to explore the park’s many natural wonders and beautiful features. The 1.5-mile Sylvan Lake Trail and nearly six-mile West Brush Creek Trail are two of the most popular trails in the park and are perfect options for hiking, sight-seeing, and nature photography. Visitors will have an opportunity to discover the park's diverse plants and animals including voles, red foxes, marmots, and rabbits. Visitors should be sure to take precautions as the park is in bear country.
While there is no equestrian camping available at Sylvan Lake State Park, visitors can still enjoy a ride on horseback while exploring some of the park's scenic trails. The park’s West Brush Creek Trail, as well as the McKenzie Gulch Trail, allow horses and facilitate equestrian activities. Be aware that these trails are multi-use, so be cautious and courteous while riding. Share the trail and be sure to pick up any litter along the way.
Whether RV camping with a group of friends or on vacation with members of the family, Sylvan Lake State Park’s delightful picnic spots will double the joy of any camping adventure. The park offers 12 picnic sites on Sylvan Lake where visitors can treat their eyes to the gorgeous views of the mountain-surrounded lake. Additional picnic spots can be found along the West Brush Creek where guests get a chance to picnic within the shade of large oak trees.
For visitors who need a break from the outdoors, Sylvan Lake State Park offers exciting and informative environmental education programs. All of these programs are held at the park's Visitor Center and many of them are accessible during any time of the day. The programs provide visitors with an insight into various aspects of the environment. These interpretive displays are entertaining enough to capture the attention of children and adults alike. Park guests will want to be sure to pass by for fascinating insight into the natural world surrounding Sylvan Lake State Park.
Visitors planning to RV camp at Sylvan Lake State Park during the winter months won't have to worry at all about having nothing to do. Visitors can sled down the snow-covered hills, ride snowmobiles across the White River National Forest, or venture out snowshoeing through the forest. They can also go ice-skating, ice-fishing, and cross-country skiing. The park entertains visitors with a wide range of winter-specific activities to make sure their trip is just as memorable in chilly winter weather as it would have been on any warm summer's day.