Elkhead State Park, located northwest of Craig, is a 2,200-acre parkland along Elkhead Creek, a major drainage of the Elkhead Mountains. A dragon-shaped reservoir is the centerpiece of the park, offering lots of water sports. The lake, the only place for watery recreation in Moffat County, is popular with locals who can enjoy motorboats, sailboats, windsurfs, and canoes on its 900 acres. Park rangers say residents use the park as a “mini-vacation getaway.” Other activities are hiking on lakeshore trails, horseback riding, picnicking, and nature study. It’s also a fine fishery for trout, pike, crappie, bass, and catfish.
State Park Area
- Elkhead Reservoir is an excellent fishery for trout, northern pike, and small-mouth bass. The bass and pike, however, are non-native species which escape the reservoir’s spill gates and enter the Yampa River where they eat four endangered fish species—the bonytail, humpback chub, Colorado pike minnow and razorback sucker. Fish biologists are working to maintain the lake’s current fishery, but also protected the native fish.
- Elkhead Reservoir, the largest lake in northwestern Colorado, offers decent birdwatching, especially for waterfowl like ducks, loons, and grebes. The mudflats at low water attract migrating shorebirds, while the surrounding sagebrush terrain is home to thrashers, sparrows and raptors.
- The Bear’s Ears Campground with 16 basic campsites overlooks the reservoir, making it an ideal base camp for fishing and boating as well as watching the sunrise. Pay at a self-serve tube by cash or check.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green