Pueblo Reservoir area
Aliases: Swallows State Wildlife Area, Rock Canyon, Valco Ponds State Wildlife Area
Pueblo Reservoir is one of the largest bodies of water in Colorado, and it has one of the greatest attractions for ducks, grebes, loons and gulls. Many rare species have been documented here, and diversity can be excellent. The colder months are best for waterbirds, but summer can be productive also. The arid habitats on the land around the reservoir host Canyon Towhee, Juniper Titmouse, Scaled Quail and occasionally Greater Roadrunner. Osprey nest around the reservoir also. The State Wildlife Area is located along the north and south shores of the reservoir at its west end and upstream along the Arkansas River; there is a nature trail and observation platform located at Swallows in the SWA, along with a short steep trail with interpretive signage to the mesa top overlooking the river bottom. Non-birds of interest include rattlesnakes, tarantulas, coyotes, deer and lizards of several species. Pueblo Reservoir is a must-visit site for any serious naturalist!
Attractions: Scenic Byway, trails along the Arkansas River
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Lowland Riparian, Stream, Rimrock/Mesa
Directions: From I-25 go four miles west on U.S. 50 to Pueblo Blvd. Go south four miles to Thatcher (Hwy 96) west to Valco Ponds (3 miles) and up the hill to access the State Park.
Delorme: 72 B3, 73 B4-B5
Roads of Colorado: 121 E1-F2
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: Free, State Parks Pass
Restrictions: No camping or fires in the State Wildlife Area
Lodging: Campground in the state park; hotel in Pueblo
Handicapped Access: Mostly viewing from car