Crawford State Park
Needle Rock below the West Elks, from Crawford State Park
On summer weekends, Crawford State Park (737 acres) is a very action-oriented state park centered around a beautiful lake (400 surface acres). Most other times it's just a beautiful park around a beautiful lake. Here in the heart of western Colorado's cattle industry, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is to the south, Gunnison Gorge Wilderness is to the west with the scenic West Elk Mountains to the east. Water skiing, motor boating, jet skiing, picnicking, camping and hiking in this stunning scenery are popular in season. The lake is maintained by the US Bureau of Reclamation, and that organization in cooperation with Colorado State Parks recently completely refurbed the facilities and added modern campground amenities.
Both the Iron Creek Campground and the Clear Fork Campground can accommodate tents, campers and trailers and each has comfortable restrooms and shower facilities. However, Iron Creek Campground has electrical and water hook-ups at each site but Clear Fork Campground does not. The RV dump station is located in the Iron Creek Campground.
Water-skiing season usually runs from mid-May to mid-August. Swimming is allowed only in the designated swim area but scuba diving is permitted in any safe area (although you must use a diver's flag). Fishing is allowed anywhere on the reservoir, and this is a well known fishery for rainbow trout, crappie and perch. You'll also find northern pike, catfish and largemouth bass in the lake. Use or possession of live minnows or bait fish is not allowed.
Crawford State Park also offers 8 universally accessible camp sites, accessible restrooms and shower facilities, accessible fishing sites and several accessible trails.
A day use pass will set you back $7, although you can also buy the annual Colorado State Parks pass for $70. Campsites in the Iron Creek Campground run an additional $20 per night while campsites in the Clear Fork area are only $16 per night (camping fees are in addition to park entry fees).
Crawford State Park Rules & Regs:
- Keep your area clean and put all your trash in the trash receptacles provided.
- Vehicles are allowed on designated roadways and parking areas only.
- Pets must be under control and on a leash of 6 feet or less at all times.
- Fires are allowed only in the grills and fire rings provided. Make sure your fire is "dead out" before you leave.
- Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.
- Any problems: talk to a park ranger.
Crawford State Park area map
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - Gunnison Gorge Wilderness
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness - West Elk Wilderness - Raggeds Wilderness
Vega State Park - Paonia State Park - White River National Forest
Curecanti National Recreation Area - Crested Butte Mountain Resort - Buttermilk Ski Area
Snowmass Ski Resort - Aspen Mountain Ski Area - Aspen Highlands Ski Area
National Park Service Sites - BLM Sites - National Wilderness Areas - Unique Natural Features
Outdoor Sports & Recreation - Ski & Snowboard Areas - Photo Galleries - Colorado Mountains