|If you enjoy boating, fishing and all the other fun activities that access to a major body of water can provide, you are in luck when you are in Pagosa Country.
One of the prime water recreation areas in the Southwest is less than an hour’s drive from Pagosa Springs.
Navajo Lake offers boating, camping, fishing, hiking, water skiing and wind surfing, making the area a summer recreation paradise. The lake extends 20 miles into New Mexico, with 15,000 surface acres of water.
Fed by the Piedra, San Juan and Pine rivers, Navajo Lake is a fabulous getaway for locals and visitors alike. Getting there is easy, via a relatively short and scenic drive through tall ponderosas and piñon pine country.
From Pagosa Springs, travel west on U.S. 160 approximately 17 miles, until you see the spires of Chimney Rock, the site of ancestral Puebloan ruins.
Turn south on Colo. 151. Relax and enjoy the scenery as the 20-minute trip winds through the lower Piedra River Valley to the friendly town of Arboles, and to Navajo State Park. When you reach Arboles, turn left (southeast) on County Road 982, then drive two miles to the park’s Visitor Center.
The Navajo Lake marina has almost everything for boating and water skiing enthusiasts. The Two Rivers marina sells fuel, ice, tackle, boating supplies, snacks and accessories; has boat slips and mooring buoys; and a restroom on the dock. A 200-foot breakwater protects one of the longest ramps in the state, and three large parking areas provide ample marina parking.
No boat? No problem. The marina has several boats available for half- or full-day rental.
While campsite reservations are not required, campers are advised to reserve a spot for weekend visits and holidays, and for stays lasting more than three days.
A valid Colorado State Parks Pass is required on all motor vehicles entering the park and for all grounds that surround the lake. A daily permit costs $6 per vehicle (annual Parks Pass or an Aspen Leaf Parks Pass for Colorado seniors).
Overnight camping permits inside the park cost an additional $16 for each tent site or non-electric RV site, $20 for sites with individual electric hookups and $24 for campsites with water, sewer and electrical service. Three full-service cabins are also available for $80 per night, and for an additional $10 per night in two of the three cabins, your pets can come along. Primitive campsites are available for $10.
Whether camping, boating, fishing or just spending a sunny day by the water, be sure to visit the “Watchable Wildlife” observation deck, located where Colo. 151 crosses Piedra River.
The lake contains a variety of cold- and warm-water game fish. Prized brown trout, rainbow trout and kokanee salmon prowl the cold waters. Navajo has become well known to bass fishermen throughout the southwest, since its warm surface waters harbor largemouth and smallmouth bass. Crappie, bluegill and catfish are also plentiful. Mid-April through mid-June tends to be the best time for crappie.
Trotlines are allowed at the lake, but they must conform to Colorado fishing regulations.
The northern part of Navajo Lake lies in Colorado. Valid Colorado fishing licenses are required, and are available at the Visitor Center. If you cross south into New Mexico, you will need a New Mexico license, which you can also purchase at the Visitor Center. Anglers without a boat have access to excellent fishing spots on the rivers feeding the lake, with ample parking located within walking distance. A fully accessible fishing area is located on the Piedra River just west of Colo. 151.
As a gateway to one of southwest Colorado’s finest recreational waters, Arboles provides a boat repair shop, gas station, motel, gift shop, grocery store, post office, campsites, RV parks and restaurants.
Check The Pagosa Springs SUN for details about upcoming events and activities.
For additional information and updates on park improvements, call the Navajo State Park at (970)883-2208. www.parks.state.co.us.