Lathrop State Park
Colorado’s first state park, Lathrop State Park features two lakes and nearly 1,600 acres of recreational land nestled among the pinyons and junipers of the Spanish Peaks’ foothills.
Martin Lake offers water skiing, power, and sail boating. It’s also a warm-water lake, making it great for swimming. Horseshoe Lake is a peaceful haven for canoeists, kayakers, and other wakeless boaters. Catfish, bass, walleye, trout, and bluegill thrive in both lakes, although Horseshoe Lake is known for its large tiger muskies.
Lathrop State Park’s Hogback Nature Trail is one of the area’s most popular hiking trails. And when visitors are done with their hike, they’ll often relax on the park’s beach or let their kids play on the playground.
Cool Fact: Unique to Lathrop State Park’s Visitor Center are 12 large murals painted by Paul Busch, a Disney animator who began working on the murals in 1972. The murals depict Colorado history from the era of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellers to the coal strikes of the 1920s.
With 103 campsite and three group-camping areas, camping is plentiful at Lathrop State Park. The campgrounds accommodate motorhomes, trailers, and tents and offer basic or improved camping sites.
Some of the Spanish Peaks’ infamous dikes are visible from the pinon, juniper, and grassland-dominated park. In the summer, wildflowers like sunflowers, Indian blankets, and Mexican hats give visitors a special, visual treat.
Lathrop State Park is also a haven for birding enthusiasts. Bring binoculars and a field guide to identify meadowlarks, roadrunners, pinyon and scrub jays, pelicans, great blue herons, cormorants, and western grebes.
Visitors to Lathrop State Park are often surprised to discover it also has a golf course. The nine-hole Walsenburg Golf Course is open to the public, has golf carts for rent, and offers a full-service restaurant and bar.
With so much to do at Lathrop State Park, it’s wise to stop at the Visitor’s Center where you’ll find everything from park passes and hunting licenses to maps, guidebooks, and more.