Hunting in Colorado: 12 Great Public Hunting Lands

Humans have hunted animals for food, clothing, tools, and other purposes ever since they first evolved. Following global colonialism and the establishment of capitalism, hunting became more of a hobby or leisure activity than a means of subsistence. Concerns like overhunting, the extinction of species, and commercialization are brought about by this change.

Humans don’t need to give up hunting to address these problems; instead, we just need to hunt with caution and use critical thinking to preserve the ecosystem in which we hunt.

The purpose of this article is to discuss subsistence hunting, as trophy hunting shows no regard for the environment or wildlife. For individuals who want to go hunting and gather food for their community and themselves, Colorado has plenty of possibilities.

Make sure you have the necessary license and have paid the necessary fees before you begin. These are Colorado’s 12 public hunting locations.

Barr Lake State Park – Brighton

The address of Barr Lake State Park is Brighton, Colorado. From Denver, the travel takes around thirty minutes by automobile. Barr Lake has a hunting season that runs from late September to February, however the park is open for visitors all year round.

Seniors can park in the park at a discounted rate. Buses and motor coaches can find spaces here. Barr Lake is accessible from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., although camping is not permitted.

Hunting is only allowed in the Wildlife Refuge region of Barr Lake State Park during certain seasons. There are lots of options here for waterfowl hunting if that’s your thing. Prior to leaving, a reservation is required.

Boyd Lake State Park – Loveland

Loveland, Colorado’s Boyd Lake is another excellent spot for waterfowl hunting. Driving time from Denver to the park is around 57 minutes to 1 hour and 12 minutes. Boyd Lake is open year-round for hikers, picnickers, and campers; the hunting season begins on September 29.

Boyd Lake allows camping, and there are about 150 pull-through campsites with amenities including playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and showers. In the lake, among other creatures, snakes are frequently spotted.

Within the park, there is a specific hunting zone that hunters are required to stay in. It takes a reservation to go hunting. Hunters are only allowed to use a fishing aid, a hunting dog, or their hands to recover game that has been killed in the water.

James M. Robb Colorado River State Park – Grand Junction

James M. Robb Colorado River State site in Grand Junction, Colorado, is another excellent site for hunting ducks. It takes slightly more than four hours to get there by automobile from Denver. James M. Robb Colorado River State Park is divided into five distinct areas: Fruita, Island Acres, Corn Lake, Colorado River Wildlife Area, and Connected Lakes. All year round, the park is open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.

All year round, camping is allowed in the park for multi-day trips. The five categories contain a total of 130 sites.

Out of the five sectors, only Island Acres, Corn Lake, and the Wildlife Area allow hunting. Reservations for duck blinds are accepted from September through February.

Crawford State Park – Crawford

Crawford State Park in Crawford, Colorado is a fantastic choice for those interested in large game hunting in the state. The travel takes four hours and forty minutes to five hours and forty minutes if one starts in Denver. The park is open all year round and requires a daily entrance fee. An annual pass is also available to hunters.

While some campsites in Crawford State Park are first-come, first-served, most are reserved.

Hunting for big game and waterfowl is permitted at Crawford State Park during certain seasons. Hunters may operate 150 yards from campers and 100 yards from any person fishing if they have the required license.

Harvey Gap State Park – Rifle

Harvey Gap State Park in Rifle, Colorado, is a fantastic choice for those seeking a less congested waterfowl hunting experience. Depending on the route used, the park can be reached from Denver in three to four hours by automobile. Those with annual passes are exempt from paying the daily price.

Harvey Gap State Park is open from five in the morning until ten at night, with no camping allowed.

Hunting for ducks is allowed up to 100 yards from any structure or day-use area during the season. Hunters are required to stay at the north end of the lake and maintain a 50-foot distance from the road’s centerline.

Highline Lake – Rifle

Waterfowl hunting in Colorado can be greatly enhanced by visiting Highline Lake State Park in Rifle, CO, which is approximately four hours and twenty minutes away from Denver. There is horseback riding available at the park, which is open all year round. A daily vehicle fee is charged.

There are 31 tent and RV spots in the park that can be reserved. There’s coin-operated laundry and hot showers, but no electricity.

During the season, hunters can utilize seven different types of duck blinds. Hunters are allowed to shoot birds on the lake from Monday through Friday, beginning thirty minutes before sunrise and ending thirty minutes after sunset.

Navajo State Park – Arboles

Hunting deer, elk, and birds is permitted in Navajo State Park, which is located in the city of Arboles, approximately six hours’ drive from Denver. It offers a profusion of activities beyond hunting, including a daily fee for automobiles and a year-round day-use season.

At Navajo State Park, there are more than 100 campsites available all year round. 118 of them allow RVs and are reserved exclusively. There are 19, and they are first-come, first-served. A few cabins are also available.

During the season, hunting is permitted only in specific park regions. Find out where hunting is allowed by getting in touch with the Navajo rangers in advance.

Ridgway State Park – Ridgway

Big and small game hunting are excellent at Ridgway State Park in Ridgway, Colorado, which is just over five hours’ drive from Denver. At five miles in length, the Ridgway Reservoir has more than a thousand surface acres of water.

For a price each night, hunters can reserve one of the three yurts. There are 258 campsites with RV electricity that are open for camping year-round. For backpackers, there are 25 walk-in locations. The time of year and availability affect fees.

There is a restricted hunting season at Ridgway State Park. The Tuesday following Labor Day marks the beginning of large game hunting, while the Friday before Memorial Day marks the end of the season. Only the Dallas Creek is open for waterfowl hunting from October 1 to April 30.

State Forest – Walden

Hunting is permitted on a portion of State Forest State Park’s 71,000 acres of wilderness during specific seasons. Walden is home to State Forest State Park, which is approximately three hours away from Denver, Colorado. Due to the vast expanse of the park, several areas can only be accessed by hiking or 4×4 vehicles.

With six cabins, seven yurts, two huts, and other campground alternatives, State Forest State Park offers an abundance of camping opportunities.

You need to visit State Forest State Park during the proper hunting season and have a permission and license. To obtain information, speak with local rangers while making plans.

Steamboat Lake State Park – Clark

In Colorado, Steamboat Lake State Park offers a serene and picturesque hunting destination. Denver is over four hours away from Clark, Colorado, where the park is located. Bald Eagles and Sandhill Cranes can be seen regularly here, although hunting is not permitted.

188 campsites are open for walk-ins and reservations during the summer. Reservations are advised from May to September. Fourteen electric sites are open during the winter.

Hunting at Steamboat Lake State Park is permitted after Labor Day with the appropriate license. Hunting is permitted from the Rainbow Ridge day-use area to the Meadow Point area during all valid hunting seasons. A minimum of 100 yards must separate hunters from any park structure or day-use area.

Sweitzer Lake State Park – Delta

There’s nowhere better to go shotgun hunting than Sweitzer Lake State Park. The park’s natural splendor is also accessible to waterfowl hunters, although only on weekends. In the Colorado city of Delta, Sweitzer Lake State Park is around four and a half to six years away from Denver.

Sweitzer Lake State Park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and does not allow camping.

Hunters are allowed to enter the park limits with their shotguns and hunt game during all authorized seasons. Due to the lake’s popularity as a hunting spot, hunting is only permitted on weekends, Wednesdays, and legal holidays.

Trinidad Lake – Trinidad

The 2,700 acres of stunning countryside surrounding Trinidad Lake make for excellent hunting at Trinidad Lake State Park. A little over three hours from Denver is the historic town of Trinidad, Colorado, where the park is located. The Rocky Mountains nestle Trinidad Lake State Park in a natural enclave, despite easy access to I-25.

There’s a gift shop, picnic spots, and accessible facilities.

There are two campgrounds with 73 contemporary sites that are open all year round. Among them is electricity. Ten tent and RV sites without electricity are accessible within walking distance of the lake. Up to 60 persons can be accommodated in the group camping.

In legal hunting seasons, from Labor Day to Memorial Day, hunting is allowed only in places that are marked. Hunters are limited to using either bows and arrows or shotguns.

Location Type of Hunting
Barr Lake waterfowl hunting
Boyd Lake waterfowl hunting
Colorado River waterfowl blinds
Crawford waterfall and big game hunting
Harvey Gap waterfowl hunting
Highline Lake seven waterfowl blinds
Navajo deer, elk, and bird hunting
Ridgway big and small game hunting
State Forest certain sections in certain seasons
Steamboat Lake after Labor Day, license only
Sweitzer Lake waterfowl only on weekends
Trinidad Lake Labor Day to Memorial Day