John Martin Reservoir State Park
John Martin Reservoir. Photo: S. Colvin
Aliases: Hasty, Lake Hasty, Caddoa
The largest reservoir in SE Colorado. This state park has something to offer everyone, with shorebirds and waterbirds on the reservoir itself, passerines in the large riparian area below the dam, and grassland species on the grasslands just south of the park. A blind overlooks the Santa Fe Trail slough just west of the Visitor Center. To scan the reservoir, walk out along the dam road, or scan from the overlooks on the north side near the visitor’s center. The south shore can be scanned during the winter, but during the summer it is closed to protect Piping Plovers and Least Terns. Below the dam, the Lake Hasty Campground has an excellent riparian area, and Lake Hasty can be good as well. The thickets along the outlet are worth a look. Just south of the reservoir are some excellent yucca grasslands with Cassin’s Sparrows and Ferruginous Hawks, among others. Deer and rabbits can be common in the area. The west end of the reservoir is the State Wildlife Area. Please stay on established roads; much wildlife habitat has been destroyed by off-road vehicle use on the reservoir’s south side.
In February the reservoir hosts the High Plains Snow Goose Festival and in May they host the Bent on Birding festival. Contact the reservoir at 719-829-1801 for more information.
Attractions: Bent's Old Fort, Boggsville
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Marsh, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Grassland/Prairie, Tamarisk
Directions: The John Martin Reservoir complex is south of US 50 between the towns of Las Animas and Lamar. To get to the dam, head east on US 50 from Las Animas to the town of Hasty and go south about two miles to the dam. For more specific directions to sites, see the text above.
Delorme: 99 D6
Roads of Colorado: 125 E3
Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: Visitor center 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: State Park Pass
Restrictions: For closure information contact the reservoir at 719-829-1801
Handicapped Access: Some car viewing and easy walking trails
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