What to do in Paonia State Park

The focal point of Paonia State Park is Paonia Reservoir, which is fed by Muddy, Williams and Deep Creeks. Acreage within the park encompasses 1,507 acres total with 337 surface acres of reservoir.

Buck Mesa lies to the west of this state park and the Raggeds Wilderness lies to the east. To the east the 11,000 and 12,000-foot peaks of Marcellina Mountain, West Beckwith Mountain, Ragged Mountain and Ragged Peak emphasize the narrowness of the valley.

The facilities in the park are rustic. Two campgrounds provide 15 sites that include tables and fire rings. Vault toilets are available at both campgrounds. No drinking water or other supplies are provided, so come prepared for primitive camping conditions. A picnic ground and boat ramp are located on the eastern shore of the lake. The park is 16 miles north of Paonia where supplies are available.

Most visitors to Paonia State Park come for the boating in a beautiful, mountainous setting. Water skiing, sailing and jet skiing are also popular activities during the summer months. The fishing is mediocre in the lake due to large amounts of silt from Muddy Creek. Below the dam, where Anthracite and Muddy Creeks meet, fly fishing is good. Hiking in the park is very limited, but the the surrounding National Forest lands provide ample terrain.

Paonia State Park is located along Highway 133, which is also known as McClure Pass Road. The road begins in Carbondale and the Crystal River drainage and crosses McClure Pass to Paonia and the Muddy Creek drainage. The state park is approximately 16 miles north of Paonia.

The elevation of Paonia State Park is approximately 6,500 feet. The large peaks that surround the lake keep it in the shade longer than an area that is more exposed. Summer high temperatures in the area reach the 70s and low 80s. Evenings are cool, with temperatures that can often dip into the 30s. Afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months should be expected and relative humidity is quite low throughout the year.

Winter lows can dip below zero though daytime temperatures are normally in the 20s to 30s. Weather in the valley bottoms, around Paonia and Hotchkiss, is normally much milder than other mountain areas in the state. Much of the precipitation comes in the winter, when heavy snow can be expected.

P.O. Box 147
Crawford, CO 81415

Phone: 970-921-5721

Email: crawford.park@state.co.us
  • Paonia State Park Travel Q&A