Located 100 miles east of Pueblo on the historic Santa Fe Trail in the canyons and plains of southeastern Colorado, the uncrowded, clear, cool, blue waters of John Martin Reservoir provide some of the best boating, fishing and birdwatching in the state. For those who prefer terra firma, biking and hiking trails offer ample opportunities to watch wildlife and ponder the meaning of petroglyphs etched into the rocks by Native Americans who, centuries before, passed through as they followed the buffalo. Two different campgrounds are also available for those who want to cap off their outdoor adventure with a peaceful night's sleep beneath the stars. John Martin Reservoir State Park is one of the largest reservoirs in all of Colorado and qualifies as a "must do" on the outdoor adventurist list.
"John Martin Reservoir is a peaceful paradise in which people play, birds flock and wildlife roams." — The Denver Post
Referred to by some as the "sapphire of the plains" and by others as "the oasis of southeastern Colorado," John Martin Reservoir and State Park has all one would hope for in a destination site for outdoor recreation. With a surface area of 10,000 acres, making it second only to Blue Mesa Reservoir in size, John Martin has the feel of being in a remote location despite being within driving distance of frequently visited historic landmarks and sites.
A number of things attract travelers to this place.
If you like camping, there are two campgrounds available that offer the standard modern amenities.
If you know how to fish, John Martin is considered by avid fishermen and women to be a premier site, due in part to the diligence and expertise of Colorado Fish and Wildlife in building and maintaining a remarkable fishery.
If you're interested in boating, the uncrowded water of the reservoir is perfect for water skiing, jet skiing as well as spectacular wind water sports.
If you're into birding, this area is a true hot spot, boasting almost 400 different species of birds. Despite its proximity to some frequently visited historic sites, the lands surrounding John Martin are home to an abundance of diverse wildlife.
If you have an interest in the past, hiking and biking trails provide views of a historic ranch as well as ancient petroglyphs left by Native American tribes who used to travel through the area following the buffalo and other large game.
Since the area adjacent to the reservoir is a state park, hunting is not allowed, but it makes for a great location for a hunting camp with wildlife areas no more than 10 or 15 miles away.
As is customary with state parks, a pass is required. Reservations are also required for those wishing to camp. For additional information, refer to the details provided on this website or go straight to the source.
Park entrance is open 24/7. If park office is not open, please use self-service station to pay for park pass.
Monday — Friday 8am to 4pm
Closed Saturday & Sunday
Hours may vary seasonally.
5am — 10pm (unless camping, fishing or boating)
Take U.S. Highway 50 west from Lamar approximately 20 miles to Hasty. Turn south on CR 24 (School Street) and proceed approximately 2 miles. The Visitor Center is on the right just past the curve.From the West
Take U.S. Highway 50 east from Las Animas approximately 16 miles to Hasty. Turn south on CR 24 (School Street) and proceed approximately 2 miles. The Visitor Center is on the right just past the curve.
All fees are in addition to park pass/entrance fees and priced per day, unless otherwise noted.Summer (May 1 to October 31)
Point Campground Basic Campsite: $20.00
Lake Hasty Electric Hook-up Campsite: $24.00
Point Campground Basic Campsite: $17.00
Lake Hasty Electric Hook-up Campsite: $24.00
Caddao Shelter Group Campsite: Call for rates (719-829-1801 ext. 28 to reserve)
Daily Pass: $8.00
Annual Pass: $80.00
Aspen Leaf Annual Pass (64+): $70.00
For information on purchasing multiple vehicle passes, large quantity discounts and specialty passes such as disability, military, etc., see this page.
Annual passes provide unlimited access to all state parks across Colorado.
Online reservations are available anytime.
The following are highlights of activities at John Martin Reservoir. For a full list of amenities and additional details, check out their website.
|Biking||Allowed throughout the state park|
|Birding||Excellent site for all levels of birders with 373 documented species of birds|
All types of boating, including jet skiing, permitted on John Martin Reservoir
Only non-motorized, hand launched vessels permitted on Lake Hasty
|Camping||Climate in the Canyons and Plains makes year round camping a great experience. Camper Services Building provide a few creature comforts for those not quite up for primitive camping; group camping facilities available; visit website for details on campground locations and amenities. (Remember: reservations required)|
|Dog-Friendly||Absolutely! Dogs are definitely welcome in the park, but, with wildlife and other dogs around, please keep on a 6' leash (and remember to pick up what they drop off)|
|Education Programs||Go to events page on website for upcoming events or call (719) 829-1801 for more information|
|Fishing||Some of the best fishing in the state; check out their website for details|
|Geo-Caching||Brand new geocaching program; website has Geo-Cache locations; check with park staff to check out GPS units|
|Hiking||Red Shin Trail (4.5 miles) takes hikers past Native American petroglyphs, a historic ranch, wetlands, the Visitor Center and comes to an end at the Santa Fe Trail Marker on the north shore of John Martin Reservoir. A shorter option—walk and/or climb around Red Shin Standing Ground located right off County Road 24 above Lake Hasty.|
|Horseback Riding||It's BYOH (bring your own horse) but, definitely, horses welcome on the trails. (Sorry, horses can't be kept in the campgrounds.)|
|Hunting||John Martin Reservoir State Park is closed to hunting but is great for setting up a hunting camp; be sure to check seasons and regulations at the Visitor Center or on the website.|
|OHV Riding||No OHV riding is permitted on John Martin Reservoir State Park or on the John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area. Any vehicles used at John Martin must be street legal.|
|Swimming||Swim beach at Lake Hasty is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day; swimming allowed on the reservoir if a personal flotation device. Swimming not allowed from the boat docs or the point overlook. Please use caution: there are no lifeguards at either location.|
|Wildlife Viewing||Lots of wildlife to view at John Martin (and, no, they're not talking about other campers). Recent sightings include hundreds of bird species, deer, coyotes, bobcats, porcupines, beavers, snakes, turtles and raccoons.|