· Cache la Poudre
Watson Lake State Wildlife Area and Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery
Aliases: Watson Lake
Photo by Rick Reeser
This small State Wildlife Area sits at the base of a cliff that is a traditional nesting site for Golden Eagles, White-throated Swifts, and Canyon Wrens. The lake attracts waterfowl in late fall and early spring, including Hooded Mergansers. Please note public access is prohibited on the northwest side, as posted. Stop by the nearby Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery, as self-guided tours, fishing, birdwatching, and nature trails make this an excellent education and recreation destination.
Directions: From I-25 in Fort Collins: exit at CO 14/Mulberry Street and go west. At US 287/College Avenue, head north. Once outside Fort Collins, the road will fork; stay to the left on 287B. Continue west on 287B to CR 52E/Rist Canyon Road. Go west on Rist Canyon and just past the Cache la Poudre River, go north on the access road to Watson Lake.
Dates of Access: Open all year, except for the northwest side, access is prohibited as posted
Hours: Daylight hours
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: 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: Please obey all CPW rules and regulations. Dogs must be under control and on a leash at all times. Boating, camping, hunting, ice fishing, ice skating and discharging of firearms is prohibited.
Parking: Dirt parking area
Lodging: Hotel in Bellvue or Fort Collins
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car or from dirt parking lot
» Visit the website for Watson Lake State Wildlife Area and Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery
Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery: https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/Hatcheries.aspx