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Lathrop State Park - TravelStorys

Highway of Legends

Location Trip Time Travel Type
Colorado 2 hours

Lathrop State Park

You're coming up to Lathrop State Park, one of Colorado's first state parks. A visitor has a choice of short and long hiking trails, fishing, swimming, boating, or a quick visit to the nature center. Here to tell us about the park and its wildlife is manager Stacey Lewis. STACEY LEWIS: We're at about 6,500 feet of elevation, which is just right before the mountains. We have things coming from the prairie, things already here, and things coming from the mountains that meet up in here. We have anything that's a prairie type: rattlesnakes, lizards, rabbits. And, we've seen elk in here that have come down off the mountains. We have two lakes, and one lake is meant for the high-speed jet skiing, waterskiing, family fun. And then the other lake is left undeveloped purposely for more wildlife. In the wintertime, it will ice over and the bald eagles love that, so about January and February you'll see them all over the place. And lately, we've had reports of a mountain lion - which is not common - but anywhere a deer is, a mountain lion can follow. And we have 103 campsites, and so we have to be very careful telling our campers to put your food away at night, because a bear can smell up to five miles away. In Colorado, we have black bears, and that's the only kind of bear in our state. So if someone sees like a blond bear or a really dark bear or brown bear, they might think "oh, that's a Grizzly," but its kind of like how we all have different hair color; bears are the same. We're in a pinyon juniper forest, and so with that drier climate you have lots of cactus. We have prickly pear, tons of wildflowers that bloom throughout the year. Around these two lakes we have about 8 miles worth of trails. And one of the trails is a nice aggressive walk that takes you up to the hogback and you have a beautiful scenic view of the entire park below. And then the other trail starts right here at the Visitor's Center. So, they can get to the lake in a short amount of time and walk down there, or if it's more in the warmer months, just take the kids down to the swim beach for about an hour. There's a little bit of something for everybody. If you'd like to stop in, you can buy a day pass at the Visitor's Center for under ten dollars.

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