Less than 45 minutes south of Denver, Chatfield State Park is a very popular place for people looking to escape the concrete of the Mile High City. Here are a few things you need to know if you’re planning a visit.

1. Chatfield State Park is home to a massive reservoir.

With 1,423 acres of surface area, Chatfield Reservoir makes up a good chunk of Chatfield State Park, which is 3,895 acres in total size. This makes Chatfield a popular place for boaters, kayakers, and paddleboarders coming from Denver. However, keep in mind that boating tends to be seasonal. Check on the official website before planning to get out on the water to see if you’re allowed to.

2. Camping is great here.

Chatfield State Park is home to 197 campsites with electrical hook-ups, all within walking distance of Chatfield Reservoir. There are also reservable group campsites at Chatfield State Park. For any type of camping, you’ll need a camping permit and a park pass. You can find more information about obtaining that here.

3. Bird-Watching is great in Chatfield State Park.

More than 300 species of birds are either permanently located in Chatfield State Park or migrating through it. During your visit, pay attention. You’ll be shocked at the variety that you see.

4. Mammals frequent Chatfield State Park, too.

Aside from birds, a few of the animals you’ll see in Chatfield State Park include whitetail deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, and fox. Make sure you keep food away from these animals, especially while camping. Giving food to wild animals can mess with their diet and train them to turn to humans instead of natural sources when they’re looking for dinner.

5. Dogs are allowed here.

One reason that Chatfield State Park is so popular among Denverites is the 69 acre off-leash dog area. It’s completely fenced in, providing plenty of space for dogs to run around and exercise. The off-leash area also has 2 ponds. For more information on that, click here. If you’re outside of the off-leash area, please keep your dog on a 6-foot leash and pick up their poop.

6. Hiking is quite popular in Chatfield State Park.

The entire space is home to roughly 26 miles of trails, including 12 miles of paved trails. This means a lot of the area is very accessible. For more about what trails you’ll find here, click here for a full map.

BONUS TIP: Bring bug spray.

While bugs aren’t typically a huge problem in Colorado, especially the airborne ones, the giant body of water here can attract a number of insects. Use bug spray to help ward them off.

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