Sylvan Lake State Park, only 15 miles south of Interstate 70 near Eagle, is an off-the-beaten track destination with no cell phone service that few folks visit. The 42-acre lake is nestled in a valley surrounded by shining mountains, offering gorgeous scenery as well as camping, fishing, and hiking. Most visitors come to the lake to hike along its shoreline, cast a line for trout, stay overnight in the 46-site campground, rent a cabin or yurt, or picnic along the creeks. Pine, fir, and aspen woodlands blanket the mountainsides, offering habitat for animals and golden aspen for photographers in autumn.
State Park Maps
- Take a hike on 1.5-mile Sylvan Lake Trail, which circumnavigates the lake. The trail crosses gurgling streams and beaver ponds. Keep an eye out for weasels, beaver, herons, and bald eagles, which sometimes fish in the lake. The 5.8-mile West Brush Creek Trail, connecting the Meadows Day Use Area with the lake dam, passes meadows and abandoned farm fields along the creek. Start at the lake for an easy downhill hike.
- The park has beautiful fall foliage, with aspens spilling down mountainsides. Come in late September for the best colors. You’ll find good photo ops along West Brush Creek Trail and in the mountains above the lake. The park lends snowshoes in winter if you want a walk through snowy woods.
- Sylvan Lake is a good base camp to explore the surrounding White River National Forest, the most visited National Forest in the United States. Take your four-wheel-drive vehicle over Crooked Creek Pass for spectacular mountain views or crawl through Fulford Cave. Permits and caving experience is required to visit the wild cave.
- Sylvan Lake is perfect for a quiet paddling trip on its placid water. No motorized boats are allowed, making it ideal for kayaks and canoes. Boats with electric trolling motors are permitted on the lake.
Recommended season(s): May through September. The park is open for winter sports.