Navajo State Park
Navajo Reservoir is an enormous body of water that starts in Colorado and stretches 20 miles south into New Mexico. A popular state park, it is best for wildlife viewing in the colder months when there are fewer people and more birds. Gulls, grebes, loons, shorebirds, and waterfowl are all possible on the lake. The pinyon-juniper woodlands surrounding the water are likely to produce Ash-throated and Gray Flycatchers, Bushtits, and Pinyon and Western Scrub-Jays. Black Phoebes have started to colonize this part of Colorado, and some of them may be seen under bridges in the area, especially at the designated Watchable Wildlife Area near the old narrow-gauge railroad bridge over the Piedra River. This bridge has been converted into a paved trail for foot traffic. Look from the bridge for the rare river otters which have been reintroduced to the Piedra River. Don’t confuse them with beaver, muskrat, or mink, all of which also occur here. The surrounding riparian woodlands can produce sightings of Yellow-breasted Chat and vagrant warblers such as American Redstart.
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Pinyon/Juniper Forest
Directions: From US 160 west of Pagosa Springs, go south on CO 151 to the small town of Arboles and follow the signs to the park headquarters. The lake should be scoped from several points on both the east and west sides. The southernmost point in Colorado can be reached by driving past the headquarters, campgrounds, and then past the fenced winter boat storage area. Also, explore the windsurf beach area north of the headquarters building by driving down to the beach. The east side is reached by driving north on CO 151 across the bridge over the Piedra River and then turning south (right) at the first road. While there are several access points along this road, the best one is where the road turns east. Cross the cattle guard and explore the several roads that go down to the water. These roads can be very slippery in wet weather.
Delorme: 87 D6
Roads of Colorado: 147 F3
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: State Park Pass
Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations.
Parking: Paved and unpaved parking areas
Lodging: Cabins and camping (primitive in winter)
Handicapped Access: The Watchable Wildlife Area trail and some campsites are accessible