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fishing at jackson lake state park

Fishing at Jackson Lake State Park. Photo: Facebook

Jackson Lake State Park is a Colorado State Park located in Orchard, and is around 45 miles east of the city of Greeley. The park offers boating, fishing, biking, and swimming with scenic views of Jackson Lake.


There are a number of activities available to Jackson Lake State Park patrons.

Here is a sampling of the many things to do at Jackson Lake park:

Boating At Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park is open to boaters. All vehicles must be registered and inspected, and follow all state and local guidelines before taking to the water. Keep in mind that all boats must be inspected for invasive water species before entering the lake, in order to keep Jackson Lake pristine for years to come. Keep in mind the boat ramp is closed during the colder months, so be sure to plan accordingly.

Swimming At Jackson Lake State Park

While Jackson Lake State Park does not have a dedicated swim beach, swimming is permitted in various marked zones through the park. Be sure to plan accordingly and to swim at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards available in the park. All children should be supervised by an adult, especially when near bodies of water.

Hiking At Jackson Lake State Park

While Jackson Lake State Park is not usually considered a hiking destination, there are two lovely trails that make their way through the park. These are self-guided walks that allow visitors to experience the beauty of the park and camping areas up close, without the strain of more intense walking trails. Anyone looking to explore the park fully can also enjoy strolls along the shoreline, or walk along the roads that crisscross the park.

Here are the two major trails at Jackson Lake State Park:

  • Wetland Nature Trail – This self-guided nature trail allows you to take in the beauty of the wetlands while meandering your way to the north of Cove Campground. This trail is especially popular among birders hoping to see species of waterfowl. Length: 1/4 mile Degree of Difficulty: easy
  • Visitor Center Trail – This unnamed trail goes between the Visitor Center and the Northview Campground. While not known for its steep inclines, this trail can be a bit of a haul if you are not prepared, so be aware of your own limitations before committing to walk the whole distance. Length: 1.5 miles Degree of Difficulty: easy to moderate

Biking At Jackson Lake State Park

Biking is allowed on the pre-marked trails throughout the park, as well as on the park roadways. While there is not an abundance of biking opportunities throughout Jackson Lake State Park, bikers will enjoy the gorgeous views of the waterfront, as well as a casual loop around the park itself. Keep in mind specific restrictions exist for motorized bikes, as well as OHV (off-highway vehicles), and always be prepared to share the road with pedestrians and vehicles as needed.

Fishing At Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake is a prime fishing location. The lake is regularly socked with walleye, saugeye, catfish, rainbow trout, small-mouth bass, and more. The park provides a weekly fishing report with in-depth data on catches, conditions, and more, making planning ahead for your next fishing trip easier than ever. Keep in mind that all state and local fishing guidelines and licenses apply and that visitors should be aware of bag limits before fishing at the park.

Birding At Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park is a must-visit destination for birders across the country. The variety of wildlife that make their home within the park boarders, as well as the close proximity to waterfowl habitats, make this an ideal stop for anyone hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite birds. With seasonal visitors like Swainson’s hawks, and nesting birds like the horned lark, as well as striking specimens like the whooping cranes and long-billed curlews, this park is a birder’s paradise.

Picnicking At Jackson Lake State Park

As with many state parks, picnic locations at Jackson Lake State Park are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, with tables situated throughout the park, and a group picnic area open for reservation for larger groups, sharing a meal in the great outdoors is easier than ever. The Centennial Group Picnic Area can host up to 100 guests, and is adjacent to the Dunes Group Campground, making it ideal for company trips, weddings, family reunions, and more.

OHV Riding at Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park allows OHV (off-highway vehicle) use on specific OHV tracks. All OHV must have their trailer at the Cottonwood parking lot, and all vehicles must have a park pass. Keep in mind that OHV are only allowed on the track, and cannot be used on the various trails throughout the park.

Hunting and Winter Activities At Jackson Lake State Park

Hunting is welcome at Jackson Lake State Park starting the Tuesday after Labor Day and ending the Thursday before Memorial Day. Small game and waterfowl hunting are permitted given the proper licensing, and hunters are to remain in the specified areas of the park while hunting. Check out the park website for more information.

Both ice fishing and ice staking are available once the lake freezes over, though caution should always be exercised when approaching frozen lakes, and it is best to follow all safety guidelines.

Pets At Jackson Lake State Park

Dogs are welcome in the park so long as they are kept on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times, and all waste is picked up and properly disposed of. Unfortunately, horses are not allowed in the park.

Camping At Jackson Lake State Park

Jackson Lake State Park has 251 campsites, with options for trailers, tents, and traditional campers. Amenities vary from campsite to campsite, but coin-operated showers, laundry, toilets, electric hookups, and drinking water are all accessible depending on the season.

Keep in mind that all campsites need to be reserved beforehand through the website. However, there is a group camping facility available at the Dunes Campground, which can host events for families, friends, and businesses. No matter your camping style, you’re sure to find a gorgeous campsite for your needs at Jackson Lake State Park.

Park Location

Jackson Lake State Park
26363 County Road 3
Orchard CO 80649
Phone: 970.645.2551



Below is an interesting YouTube video showing a number of attractions at Jackson Lake State Park: