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horseback riding at state forest state park

Horseback riding at State Forest State Park. Photo: Park Facebook page

State Forest State Park is a Colorado State Park located in Walden, and is approximately 76 miles west from the city of Fort Collins. The park offers boating, fishing, biking, and birding with breathtaking views of North Michigan Reservoir.


There are a number of things to do available to State Forest State Park patrons.

Here is a sampling of the many things to do at State Forest park:

Boating At State Forest State Park

The Michigan Reservoir has had too low water levels for boating recently. As such, the boating options in State Forest State Park have been limited. However, starting in Spring 2022 the reservoir is set to refill, meaning that visitors can launch boats on the lake once filled.

State Forest State Park is home to two floating boat ramps, which can be used once the reservoir returns to normal levels. What watercraft are allowed within the reservoir may be subject to change once the water levels return to normal, so check out the State Forest State Park website for more information as the summer approaches.

Fishing At State Forest State Park

Both Michigan Reservoir and Ranger Lakes are open to fishing when the water levels allow, and bait fishing is allowed in both. However, only fly and artificial lure fishing are allowed in alpine lakes. The lakes are home to brook, brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout.

There is also ice fishing available in the park, when the reservoir is full, allowing you to catch plenty of fish throughout the colder months. With several lakes to fish on, and a statewide trout bag limit of four fish per day, State Forest State Park is an incredible fishing location for anglers of all skill levels.

Hiking At State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park offers a wide range of hiking trails, with trails coming in at under a mile all the way to 20-mile hiking trails made to test the limits of even the most seasoned backwoodsman. Those visiting the park can travel along trails looping along the outside of the reservoir, or follow a more isolated forest trail to get a glimpse of the splendor of the great outdoors.

Keep in mind that the hiking trails may have different rules regarding bikers and dogs and that all visitors should work together to preserve the trails, meaning leaving nothing behind. For more information on the individual trails within the park, visitors can pick up a hiking booklet at one of the many kiosks throughout the park, or check out the State Forest State Park website.

Biking At State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park is home to many miles of biking trails, allowing mountain bikers of all skill levels to take to the trails and explore this beautiful park. Keep in mind that State Forest State Park has specific rules for electric bike use within the park and that some trails may be too steep for the average biker to surmount.

It is always a good idea to research the trails you intend to ride before arriving at the park, as knowing the supplies you need to pack and the length of the trail can greatly improve your experience.

Geocaching At State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park is home to 11 different geocaching locations, allowing visitors to take part in the world’s largest scavenger hunt. GPS units are available for rent in the park, and the various cache coordinates can be found on the state park website. If you’re looking for a great way to explore this state park while honing your GPS skills, geocaching is an amazing activity that is sure to please.

Birding At State Forest State Park

Birding at State Forest State Park is an amazing place for birding. With countless migratory and native species making their home in the park, and countless trails crisscrossing their natural habitats, birders of all skill levels are sure to spot plenty of gorgeous birds during their visit to the park. The park is home to Steller’s jays, gray jays, mountain and black-capped chickadees, as well as finches and nuthatches. To find out more about the birds spotted throughout the park, as well as ideal birding weather conditions, check out the state park website.

Winter Activities At State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park is connected to over 100 miles of backcountry trails that are ideal for cross-country skiing, as well as snowmobiling and snowshoeing. The various lakes in the park are open to ice fishing once they freeze over.

Winter campsites, as well as yurts and cabins, allow visitors to enjoy the park no matter the season. To find out more about the various winter activities in the park, as well as to check out some of the snowmobiling routes, check out the state park website.

Pets At State Forest 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 their waste is properly disposed of. Camping with your dog is also welcome in the various cabins for an added fee. However, keep in mind that dogs are not allowed in the Moose Visitor Center unless they are registered service or emotional support animals.

Camping At State Forest State Park

State Forest State Park has 5 campgrounds with over 150 campsites, as well as backcountry and primitive camping locations. Not only can traditional campers find plenty of space to pitch their tents and enjoy the great outdoors, but there are also cabins and yurts available for reservation within the park.

With so many campsites to choose from, as well as a widespread of amenities available across the various RV and tent campsites, it is important to research each campsite before making a reservation. However, with winter camping and plenty of campsites to choose from, you’re sure to find a spot that fits your unique needs. There are also various amenities available at the campsites, including vault toilets and hand-pump water stations.

Park Location

State Forest State Park
56750 Highway 14
Walden CO 80480
Phone: 970.723.8366



Here is a brief YouTube video showing a number of things to do at State Forest State Park: