Sweitzer Lake State Park, just off U.S. 50 in western Colorado, is a water-recreation park for Montrose and Delta locals. The 210-acre park is swamped on hot weekends with motor boats churning around the 137-acre lake towing water skiers, while swimmers splash in shallow water, canoes ply the wakeless area, and picnickers relax on grass beneath towering shade trees. The man-made lake was created for recreation and donated as a state park in 1953 by the Sweitzer family. Sweitzer Lake is also a great birding spot with a wildlife observation area built by the Audubon Society. Over 180 species of bird are seen here. There is no camping at the day-use only park.
State Park Maps
- Swimming is popular in Sweitzer Lake but is allowed only in the designated swim area at the west end of the lake. Afterwards you can loll on the sandy beach and work on your tan. No lifeguards are on duty at the lake.
- Sweitzer Lake is a perfect place to take the kids fishing, with channel catfish, bluegill, green sunfish, and carp. It’s a catch-and-release lake, so toss back what you catch. Don’t eat the fish because high concentrations of selenium from the Mancos shale beneath the lake are absorbed by fish tissues.
- The park makes a good family stop if you’re driving past on a hot summer afternoon. Eat a picnic lunch on the grass, watch the children wade, and take a short hike around the north side of the lake. Keep an eye out for wildlife and birds.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green