Things To Do
Paonia State Park fills a steep-walled valley carved by Muddy Creek east of the country town of Paonia in the central Colorado’s Rockies. The narrow six-mile-long finger lake, looking like a glacier-scraped Norwegian fjord, offers fishing, camping, boating, waterskiing, hunting, and sightseeing. Ragged Mountain, a towering 12,094-foot mountain with a steep rocky, snow-covered face sits above the park’s aspen, fir, and scrub oak woodlands. Expect a primitive experience in the park’s canyon, with only basic services, including rough campsites, no official hiking trails, and no drinking water. The 337-acre reservoir, used for farm irrigation, is usually almost empty by mid-August so boating and fishing is limited.
Recommended season(s): Year-round. Early summer is best before the lake level drops.
—Stewart M. Green