Lake Pueblo State Park and Pueblo Reservoir State Wildlife Area

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Lake Pueblo State Park and Pueblo Reservoir State Wildlife 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!

County: Pueblo

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. To access Pueblo Reservoir SWA continue west on Highway 96 for an additional 4 miles.

Delorme: 72 B3, 73 B4-B5
Roads of Colorado: 121 E1-F2

Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: State Parks Pass to enter the State Park. Beginning May 1, 2021, a valid Hunting license, Fishing license, OR State Wildlife Area Pass is required for everyone 16 or older accessing any State Wildlife Area or State Trust Land.

Restrictions: No camping, fires, or target practice allowed in the State Wildlife Area

Parking: Various
Lodging: Campground in the state park; hotel in Pueblo

Handicapped: Yes
Handicapped Access: Mostly viewing from car

Latitude: 38.25431
Longitude: -104.73220

» Visit the website for Lake Pueblo State Park and Pueblo Reservoir State Wildlife Area


Drinking FountainYes
Gravel TrailsYes
Paved TrailsYes
Visitor CenterYes
Gift ShopYes

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