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Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge

Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge is located in the beautiful city of Westminster, Colorado, and this park is ideal for those campers who want to make the most of their trips alongside the gorgeous.

The Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge has 70 campsites available with spaces for campers, trailers, and tents. The amenities offered include restrooms, outdoor showers, drinking water, fire pits, and picnic tables alongside boat ramps near the lake.

Visitors can enjoy activities like boating, rafting, picnicking, and photography in the greensward which is full of wildlife and birds. Moreover, you can take your kids on an educational trip to the ramps where hospitable rangers can help you with rafting and they offer great information about the various interesting aspects of the park.

Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge is set on the edge of Westminster and occupies 5 square miles. The park is bordered by 100th Avenue on the north, 86th Parkway on the south, Independence and Kipling streets on the east, and Alkire Street on the west.

The park features 2,300-acre Standley Lake, the city’s largest body of water and source of water, as well as a variety of land-based activities such as hiking, bicycling, camping, and wildlife viewing. The reservoir, which is the third-largest in the Denver metro area, offers fishing, sailing, kayaking, and power-boating activities, including water skiing and tubing.

Although the park is now a popular place for fisherman and water-sports enthusiasts, it’s taken years to develop Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge into the gem it is today.

Farmers in the 1800s struggled to secure enough water for crops. Many disagreements, some violent, pitted upstream farmers against those downstream during the many dry years. Long before Denver or Boulder were growing cities, settlers were tied to the creek banks in a never-ending quest for enough precious water to make a living.

Away from the river’s course, few businesses could survive on scarce well-water alone. Finally, in 1905, the Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company were formed to channel and store water from Clear Creek. The resulting reservoir was named Standley Lake after Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company’s first secretary, OJ Standley.

Owned and operated by the City of Westminster, the area of the park was first homesteaded by John Kinnear around 1870. According to the city’s website, in 1902 Thomas Croke, Ottawa Joseph Standley, and Milton Smith teamed up to create the Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company to develop a system of canals and reservoirs that would provide water to the farm country north and northwest of Westminster. Construction of the reservoir and the dam began in 1908.

On Sept. 7, 1911, a dedication ceremony took place for the new Standley Lake dam, which is a mile long, and Colorado dignitaries from around the state came to celebrate the completion of the project. The lake was filled with water from Clear Creek, Coal Creek, Ralston Creek, and Leyden Creek. The dam was completed in 1909, and many years later, in 1963, the city enlarged the dam by adding 12,000 acre-feet of water for a total storage capacity of 42,000 acre-feet. And in 1998 Standley Lake was designated as a regional park and improvements to the park continued.

It provides primitive RV and tent camping adjacent to a recreational lake. The city-managed park is popular for its multiple trails and scenic setting. Dirt roads and parking pads in the camping area can accommodate tent and RV campers. Sites are found in multiple loops including interior loops and waterfront loops. There is a boat launch close by and two restroom facilities with outdoor showers and drinking water are available. All campsites have fire pits and picnic tables.

Other than serving as the municipal water supply, Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge is also open for recreational use. Activities such as camping, hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing are some of the activities that could be enjoyed within the park premises. Visitors are also welcome to fish and ride their powerboat in the lake which is by permit only. Paddle craft rentals are available, as well as seasonal boating and paddling permits.

There is a fee to enter the park but free parking is available until sunset. There are different fee setups for different access types like bringing your paddle craft. Annual passes are also available with special fees for seniors, handicapped individuals, and vets or active military.

Park rules and regulations are set in place for a more peaceful and pleasant experience for all visitors of the park. All guests are expected to abide by these rules and regulations.

Furthermore, there are 70 campsites and 6 tipi rentals available by reservation only, which are available online starting January 1st. Camping is from May 1st through September 29th. Tipi rentals include one double cot and two single cots, your fire pit, and a table. Additionally, the campground shares a community fire pit, along with charcoal grills. Note that ages 16+ need a permit to fish in the lake.

There’s even a great trail that traces the lake. You can also access the start of the Big Dry Creek Trail, a 9.5-mile one-way trail that leads to I-25. It’s a national recreation trail that winds through Westminster City Park. Swimming is permitted in the swim section of the lake.

If you wish to experience the perfect Colorado Lake vacation, Standley Lake Regional Park & Wildlife Refuge can provide both the water and the amenities you’re looking for. 

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