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Photos: Gallery | Colorado Springs Gazette, News

16 Colorado State Parks for your must-see

Colorado has some of the nation's most amazing state parks. Here's several that we recommend you enjoy.

For more Gazette lists, check out our lists page

Lory State Park

Lory State Park

Fun fact: The park is named for Charles A. Lory, among the early settlers who came for agricultural interests. In 1909 he became president of Colorado Agricultural College, now Colorado State University.

Address: 708 Lodgepole Drive, Bellvue, 80512

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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John Martin Reservoir

John Martin Reservoir State Park

Fun fact: The park promotes itself as a seasonal home for two endangered birds: the least tern and the piping plover. The shorebirds nest here in the spring and summer.

Address: 30703 County Road 24, Hasty, 81044

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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North Sterling State Park

North Sterling State Park

Fun fact: Pioneers passed through the land that is now the park via the Overland Trail, which is believed to have been one of America's busier roads in the late 19th century.

Address: 24005 County Road 330, Sterling, 80751

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Pearl Lake State Park

Pearl Lake State Park

Fun fact: The lake is named for M. Pearl Hartt, wife of John Kelly Hartt, regarded as a pioneer in sheep herding. His sheep summered in the area that is now the park.

Address: 61105 County Road 129, Clark, 80428

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Tye Eyden and Tye's Eye Photography

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Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek State Park

Fun fact: In the late 1850s, prospectors flocked to Cherry Creek and made it a center of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

Address: 4201 South Parker Road, Aurora, 80014

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Harvey Gap State Park

Harvey Gap State Park

Fun fact: The park is named for John Harvey, a rancher who in 1882 started prospecting for coal in the area.

Address: 5775 Colorado 325, Rifle, 81650

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Victor Schendel

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Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Fun fact: The park's land was donated to Colorado Parks and Wildlife in 1977 by the Harmsens, the Golden family who invented Jolly Ranchers.

Address: 92 Crawford Gulch Road, Golden, 80403

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Staunton State Park

Staunton State Park

Fun fact: The park in October unveiled an all-terrain wheelchair to be rented by handicapped visitors. No other park in the state offers such a chair.

Address: 12102 S. Elk Creek Road, Pine, 80470

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Ken Papaleo

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Paonia

Paonia State Park

Fun fact: See the park and catch one of the unique summer festivals in the artsy town of Paonia: Cherry Days, with parades, games and crafts; Mountain Harvest, with musical acts, poetry readings and a chili cook-off; or the BMW rally, with rides through the scenic area.

Address: Somerset, 81434

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Ken Papaleo

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San Luis State Park

San Luis State Park

Fun fact: A legend is told about a Spanish priest who died on San Luis Lake after he and his group of gold seekers were attacked by Native Americans. The tale goes that the priest looked at the sun setting red over the mountains and whispered the name the range goes by now: "Sangre de Cristo" (blood of Christ).

Address: 16393 Lane 6 North, Mosca, 81146

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Christopher Stark

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Vega State Park

Vega State Park

Fun fact: In the Paleozoic era, a sea covered what is now the park's land. Fossils of sea turtles have been found over the years.

Address: 15247 N. 6/10 Road., Collbran, 81624

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Ken Papaleo

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Highline Lake

Highline Lake State Park

Fun fact: The park hosts the annual 18 Hours of Fruita, an intense endurance mountain biking race for solo and team riders that is part of the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, which starts April 27.

Address: 1800 11.8 Road, Loma, 81524

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

Ken Papaleo

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Mueller State Park

Mueller State Park

Fun fact: The park is named for W.E. Mueller, who established the former Mueller Ranch that later was sold to Colorado State Parks and Wildlife.

Address: 21045 Colorado 67 South, Divide, 80814

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Trinidad Lake State Park

Trinidad Lake State Park

Fun fact: Geologists are drawn to the park for its premier place along the K-T Boundary, the highly-sought layer of sediment storing before-and-after evidence of the dinosaur extinction.

Address: 32610 Colorado 12, Trinidad 81082

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Stagecoach State Park

Fun fact: For the fourth year, the park will host the Tri The Boat triathlons special this summer. The two-day event features a half-Ironman race: a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and half-marathon run.

Address: 25500 County Road 14, Oak Creek, 80467

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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Lake Pueblo State Park

Lake Pueblo State Park

Fun fact: The inventor of the chuck wagon, cattle driver Charles Goodnight, built a ranch along the Arkansas River for his wife in the mid-19th century. Pieces of it are now within the park.

Address: 640 Pueblo Reservoir Road, Pueblo, 81005

Check out Seth Boster's profile of this park here.

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