Nestled on the teal-hued, fish-filled waters of Trinidad Lake, Trinidad Lake State Park is a must-see for any angling enthusiasts motoring around Colorado in a big rig. Located a short drive off I-25 and a stone's throw from the Colorado/New Mexico border, this 2,700-acre slice of serenity provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Wake up to the sunrise twinkling on the lake, illuminating the snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance, and fall asleep to the sounds of Colorado's woodland wildlife. Fishing is the main draw to this park, which is renowned as one of the best in the state for ice fishing in the winter. Hiking, boating, and shooting at the archery range are popular summer activities, while Colorado's famous winter snow offers snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and ice anglers the chance to break in their gear.
Unlike most Colorado state parks, potentially dangerous wildlife like bears and moose probably won't be an issue at Trinidad Lake State Park. The most dangerous animal you're likely to encounter is a coyote, but always practice caution and keep a snake bite kit handy when exploring Colorado's backcountry -- you never know what you might encounter!
Trinidad Lake State Park's roads are paved and convenient to CO-12, which leads right into the historic town of Trinidad. Though the park's visitor center houses a small store with camping necessities and hiking gear, luxuries like fast food dining and small business shopping are just minutes away. I-25 runs right through the heart of Trinidad, making Trinidad Lake State Park an excellent stopover for RV campers passing through the area.
Multiple paved parking areas can be found throughout Trinidad Lake State Park, so day-use visitors shouldn't have any problems snagging a spot. Apart from the two campgrounds, parking lots are available at the park's visitor center and near the Levsa and Reilly Canyons Trailhead. A parking pass is required for all day-use and overnight visitors to the park and must be displayed in the vehicle window at all times.
A total of 73 campsites are available at Trinidad Lake State Park for campers. Campsites 1-63 can be found in the Carpios Ridge Campground, which offers RV campers the widest choice of amenities and conveniences. Four sites are pull-through; the longest pull-through pad is 114 feet long, so those traveling in really big rigs will want to reserve this site well in advance. However, all sites have different maximum lengths, so be sure to confirm your size requirements when booking your site.
Twenty sites are paved and most are level. Full utility hookups are provided at select sites. Visitors can choose from a variety of other conveniences when making their reservation, from lakeview and shade options to ADA accessibility. More information on the amenities available at each site can be found on Colorado's official state park website.
While Carpios Ridge Campground is technically open all year round, only 26 sites are available for winter campers. The remaining sites are closed. The camper services building, which houses the restroom, shower, and laundry facilities, is closed from October to May, but winter campers may use the restroom facilities just outside the campground.
Trinidad Lake State Park's remaining ten campsites can be found at the South Shore Campground. This campground is an excellent option for overnight guests looking to enjoy stunning lake and mountain vistas right from the shore. While this campground is RV-friendly, it does not provide drinking water, flush toilets, or hookups of any kind -- amenities include fire rings, picnic tables, and nearby vault toilets and water spigots. Campers who require their creature comforts can find them at the camper services building at Carpios Ridge.
However, what South Shore lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in scenery! South Shore Campground is ideal for adventurers wanting close proximity to fishing and hiking opportunities. The South Shore Hiking Trail is a short distance away from the campground, and the park's fishing access road runs just above the campground loop.
This campground is closed in the winter, so RV campers looking for a winter getaway to Trinidad Lake State Park will need to book one of the winter sites at Carpios Ridge Campground.
In addition to the two main camping areas at Trinidad Lake State Park, a group campground is available for groups and organizations with up to eight camping rigs. Electric hookups are available at three sites, but water and sewer aren't available. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. While Piedmont Group Campground is slightly secluded from the other camping areas, it's still fairly convenient to the camper services building with showers and flush restrooms.
Piedmont Campground also features a lighted group picnic pavilion, making it a prime picnicking spot. Grills, fire rings, and picnic tables are provided, so all campers need to bring is the food!
Please note that groups must contact the park directly to reserve the site; online reservations are not permitted for Piedmont Group Campground.
Trinidad Lake State Park's namesake lake is a popular haunt for angling enthusiasts from every corner of Colorado. Bass, trout, and catfish are common catches from this stocked lake, but the serene waters are home to an abundance of species. Fishing is prohibited near the boat launch, but otherwise, feel free to cast your line from wherever you like! Looking to up the angling ante? Visit the park during one of its annual fishing tournaments to try your luck at breaking a record! Just don't forget to grab a fishing license from the park's visitor center first.
One of Trinidad Lake State Park's newest attractions, the archery range offers six stalls for amateur archers to practice their aim. Those who know their way around a bow can aim for 3D targets in lane six. Access to the archery range is included with the parks pass. Note that visitors under the age of 16 must be supervised by an adult when using the range.
Trinidad Lake State Park has its own seasonal boat launch where watercraft of all kinds can launch out into the lake. Canoers, kayakers, motorized boaters, jet skiers, and water skiers are all permitted to explore the lake. All boats are subject to inspection for any invasive species both before launching and after returning. The boat launch closes in December and reopens in spring.
The fish in Trinidad Lake don't stop biting all year long, not even when Old Man Winter arrives! Ice fishing is permitted as long as weather conditions are safe enough, and is actually pretty popular with folks who frequent the park. Don't expect to catch any catfish, but trout, bass, and walleye should be in plentiful supply.
Once Trinidad Lake State Park is sufficiently blanketed in snow, its ten-mile hiking trail network is open to snowshoers as long as weather conditions aren't too rough. Unfortunately, information on snowshoeing activities at Trinidad Lake is fairly sparse, so campers and visitors should consider consulting with a park ranger if planning to enjoy this activity.
Hidden throughout Trindad Lake State Park's 2,700 acres is seven geocaches just waiting for curious campers to hunt them down! Any kids in your camping party will love this modern scavenger hunt. You can grab a geocache map from the park's visitor center, or simply use your phone's GPS capabilities. In this remote area, though, it's better to have a paper map in case cell phone reception cuts out.