Jackson Lake State Park

· Prairie Oases

Jackson Lake State Park

Aliases: Jackson Reservoir

Jackson Reservoir is the king of birding spots in the greater Fort Morgan area, offering everything from large rafts of waterfowl, to enormous congregations of shorebirds, to some of the best migrant traps around. Time of year plays an important role here, with spring usually having very high water (and thus less shorebird habitat), and fall offering the best overall variety. The cottonwood groves in the State Park are best for songbird species (especially during spring and fall migration), while the best access to the lake itself depends on the water level.

In the forested groves of the campgrounds, look for warbler and vireo species during spring and fall, and flocks of robins and the occasional waxwing during winter. Breeding birds such as Bullock’s Oriole, Western and Eastern Kingbirds, and many others occur during summer months. Long-eared and Great Horned Owls can also be heard during the late fall and winter.

If you’re adventurous, stop at the outlet canal parking area at the south end of the reservoir, where you can walk along the dam for a long way to reach the best viewing. When the water is low, the dry margins of the lake bed are a good bet for Mountain Plover and other shorebird species during early fall migration, and various sparrow species lurk in the emergent growth.

A State Parks pass is required for entry and hunting occurs at this State Park, so be sure to check for seasonal restrictions before visiting.

If you plan a longer stay in the area and are a fan of James A. Michener’s book Centennial, the town of Orchard, where the miniseries was filmed, is only about 5 miles away. However, most remnants of the production sets are now gone.

County: Morgan

Attractions: OHV track for novice riders. OHV's and dirt bikes only, no dune buggies.

Directions: From I-76: take exit 66A/CO 39. Head north on CO 39 for just over 7 miles through Goodrich, then go west on CR Y5/10. In just over a mile, the road bends to the north and becomes CR 3; continue on this road past the Jackson Reservoir inlet canal until you reach the entrance station.

Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: State Parks pass required. Additional fee for camping.

Restrictions: Please obey all rules and regulations. Dogs must be under control and on a leash at all times.

Parking: Varied
Lodging: Campground in the State Park and hotels in Fort Morgan

Handicapped: Yes
Handicapped Access: ADA access to some facilities and viewing of the lake

Latitude: 40.380582
Longitude: -104.091177

» Visit the website for Jackson Lake State Park


Drinking FountainYes
Gravel TrailsYes
Paved TrailsNo
Visitor CenterYes
Gift ShopYes

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