Mancos State Park in Southwestern Colorado is a haven for the year-round outdoor enthusiast and traveler.
In the spring, summer and fall, canoeists, kayakers and wakeless power boaters enjoy the calm waters of Jackson Gulch Reservoir. In the winter depending on conditions there are great opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Fishing enthusiasts have pulled numerous species of fish, including yellow perch and rainbow trout, out of the reservoir. Travelers from other parts of the state and country use Mancos State Park as their camping headquarters when they visit the numerous attractions in the area, including Mesa Verde National Park, the San Juan Skyway, Public Lands, and Durango.
Most trails located in Mancos State Park are single-track and suitable for mountain bike use. Rain or snow can make trails unsuitable for biking. Mancos trails connect to numerous U.S. Forest trails and the Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail.
Mancos is a great place to view a variety of birds throughout the year. During the summer months we have guided birding hikes.
Jackson Gulch Reservoir (217 acre lake) at Mancos State Park is a great place for hand-powered crafts such as kayaks, canoes and sailboats, as well as motorized boats, and the facility includes a very nice concrete boat ramp for launching virtually any sized craft. Jackson Gulch is a “wakeless” lake so boaters cannot create a wake here. The boat ramp closes in mid-Oct. until the ice leaves the lake in the spring.
Boats must have a valid registration from Colorado or your home state. Colorado registrations are valid from Jan. 1- Dec. 31. You can register your boat at the park during the summer or the Lone Mesa State Park office in Dolores any time of year, (970) 882-2213.
ANS (Aquatic Nuisance Species) inspections are required on all trailered boats before launching. Someone is available to do inspections from 8AM to 8PM during the summer. If no one is in the entrance station please call the phone number posted on the kiosk. When the park is not staffed inspections can be arranged by appointment by calling the Wildlife Area 15 office in Durango at (970) 247-0855, or Lone Mesa State Park office in Dolores at (970) 882-2213.
Cabins and Yurts
Mancos State Park offers two yurts for year-round rental (reservations are required). These yurts have screened doors & windows, ceiling fan, and are heated in the cooler weather.
Most of Mancos State Park’s 32 campsites sit in the shadow of a mature Ponderosa pine forest on the south side of the reservoir. All campsites have fire rings and picnic tables. There are vault toilets and drinking water but no electrical hookups. A dump station is located at the exit of the main campground. There are no shower facilities in the park.
When the snow conditions are right there is some great cross-country skiing in the park. The Vista Trailhead, near the park's entrance, offers a great launching point. The west road, closed to motorized vehicles in the winter, provides skiers with great views of the La Plata Mountains and lake. Nearby groomed trails are also available at the Chicken Creek ski area.
Dogs are welcome in the park as long as:
they are on a six foot or shorter leash at all times
their waste is properly disposed of
Jackson provides quality fishing opportunity year-'round for various species of trout as well as yellow perch.
The park offers a covered group picnic area with drinking water nearby, barbeque stands, a sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits, and other amenities. The group picnic area can be rented for $30/day (6am - 10pm). A net and volleyball as well as horseshoes are provided by the park.
Hikers will enjoy the 5.5-mile system of trails at Mancos State Park. Mancos trails connect to numerous U.S. Forest trails and the Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail. See the Mancos Trails page for complete trail descriptions and Mancos Conditions for trail access and weather updates.
Mancos trails are popular for horseback riders. The park trails also connect to numerous U.S. Forest trails (and the Denver-to-Durango Colorado Trail). Other area trails and information for horsemen can be found at mesaverdehorsemen.com.
Although there are no hunting opportunities inside Mancos State Park, the park offers a great basecamp for turkey, deer, elk, and other hunting just outside the park in the San Juan National Forest. Very high quality elk, deer, and bear hunting opportunities are offered by limited drawing at the nearby Lone Mesa State Park. Contact the Lone Mesa State Park Office at (970) 882-2213.
When the lake gets a good freeze and ice becomes more predictable, the ice fishing is popular and rewarding. Both rainbow trout and yellow perch are common catches.
OHVs (Off Highway Vehicles) CANNOT be used anywhere in the park, this includes the county road through the park. Mancos provides a great base camp for trailering machines to the amazing "Aspen Loop" OHV trail and several other nearby National Forest OHV trails.
In addition to a covered group shelter, Mancos has 10 picnic sites with grills in various locations throughout the park.
Although there are no snowmobile trails in the park, Mancos State Park is an excellent "staging area" for snowmobiling from the nearby West Mancos Trailhead in the San Juan National Forest, which is less than two miles from Mancos State Park. The trail gives snowmobilers access to hundreds of miles of trails. Go snowmobiling on the West Mancos Trail and stay in one of the heated yurts at Mancos.
The approximately 5.5 miles of non-motorized trails inside the park provide excellent snowshoeing opportunities. The park's trails connect to several miles of Forest Service trails. Heated yurts and plowed winter campsites are available for base camp.
Given appropriate snow conditions, some tubing and sledding opportunities exist around the park's boat ramp. Or, for a groomed tubing hill and tube rentals, the Hesperus ski area is about 15 minutes away.
There is a sand volleyball court near the group picnic area, just inside the entrance to the park. Equipment is available for check-out during the summer months (Memorial Day through Labor Day) at the entrance station.
Because Mancos State Park becomes very quiet in the fall, winter and early spring, the park offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Mule deer, Merriams turkey, foxes, coyotes, Abert's squirrels, an occasional elk, and a variety of other wonderful creatures are known to show off at the park. During the summer, bear have also been sighted in the park so be sure to follow all precautions posted in the park.
Winter is the undiscovered incredible season at Mancos State Park. The heated yurts and plowed campsites make great base camps for cross country skiing or snowshoeing the several miles of trail within the park; snowmobiling the nearby San Juan National Forest, alpine skiing or tubing at the quaint, family-run Hesperus ski hill or at the Durango Mountain Resort (about an hour away) or even Telluride (about an hour and a half away).
Ice fishing at the park can be truly excellent for yellow perch and rainbow trout, and even some large brown trout.