Sometimes, an escape deep into a pinyon-juniper woodland with stunning natural scenery is just what an outdoor enthusiast needs. Whether the goal is to admire Colorado’s snow-covered peaks or engage in recreational activities, it’s important to select a destination that offers a memorable experience.
Lathrop State Park is the place to find this experience. This 1,594-acre wonderland is located near the Spanish Peaks in Southern Colorado. It features beautiful lakes, hiking trails, and a chance to ramp up your RV camping Lathrop State Park experience through unique outdoor adventures.
This guide will cover everything you need to know for your first adventure, including Lathrop State Park facts, the best RV campgrounds in Lathrop State Park, seasonal information, activities, and general tips.
Lathrop State Park Facts
Before you load up your RV and travel to this peaceful, aquatic landscape, learn some interesting Lathrop State Park facts.
Lathrop State Park became Colorado’s first state park in 1962.
The park was named after Harold W. Lathrop — the first director of the state park.
Because of its location in Southern Colorado between the foothills, the park’s lakes are considerably warmer than other mountain lakes in the state.
The park’s warm lakes make it a primary destination for swimmers, kayakers, sailors, and canoeists.
Multiple species of animals inhabit this park. Some examples include cottontail rabbits, roadrunners, bobcats, and black bears.
Best Lathrop State Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
To make the most of your first RV rental Lathrop State Park trip, you need a campsite that provides basic amenities so you can relax and unwind. Here are some of the best Lathrop State Park RV sites.
Amenities: Pinon Campground has just about everything you need to have a fulfilling Lathrop State Park RV camping experience. Concerning basic amenities, visitors receive access to restrooms, showers, electric hookups, drinking water, and a fire ring. There are also playgrounds and evening programs for young children. Do note that this campground does not provide direct access to the park’s lakes.
Capacity: 82 RV sites
More Information: Pinon Campground
Amenities: While Yucca is a smaller campground than Pinon, it’s still one of the best RV parks near Lathrop State Park. Kayaking and fishing are some of the most popular activities. Hikers and cyclists can enjoy the direct hiking trail that passes through this park. To top it off, there’s also a 9-hole golf course with a restaurant nearby! Amenities include covered picnic tables, vault toilets, drinking water, fire rings, and shaded trees.
Capacity: 21 RV sites
More Information: Yucca Campground
Sheep Mountain Property (35 Acres)
Amenities: For a more private and secluded Lathrop State Park RV camping experience, look no further than Sheep Mountain Property. While the park is located approximately 45 minutes away from Lathrop, you get beautiful views of the mountains and the pleasant sensation of being far away from the hassles of city life. Generators are allowed on site and picnic tables are provided.
Capacity: 1 RV site
More Information: Sheep Mountain Property
Hummingbird Ranch (Jamie J’s. Land)
Amenities: Jamie J’s Land offers stunning natural views of both the Wet Mountains in Southern Colorado and the Spanish Peaks. On top of that, the campground is located within close proximity of the Hummingbird Ranch, which makes it one of the best RV parks near Lathrop State Park. Amenities include functioning toilets, picnic tables, and exceptional hospitality service from the owner.
Capacity: 8 RV sites
More Information: Hummingbird Ranch (Jamie J’s. Land)
Circle The Wagons RV Park
Amenities: Unlike other RV parks near Lathrop State Park, Circle The Wagons RV Park offers a recreational and entertaining atmosphere that no other campground can match. You can hike, go mountain biking, fish, and even go horseback riding. If you’re in the mood for some culture and entertainment, then check out the annual events in Spanish Peaks Country. Amenities include multi-shower bathhouses, gaming rooms, outdoor patios, laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi.
Capacity: 43 RV sites
More Information: Circle The Wagons RV Park
Best Time To Visit Lathrop State Park for RV Camping
Your adventure to Lathrop State Park will vary depending on the season and the overall climate. Read on to discover the best time to visit Lathrop State Park.
Unsurprisingly, winter in Southern Colorado is known for freezing temperatures and snow-covered landscapes. The average highs are in the 30s (Fahrenheit) with the lows averaging around 5 degrees below zero. Regardless, with the proper layers and the right attitude, you can still enjoy a cold-weather camping experience at Pinon Campground Loop D, which is available throughout the season.
The spring season in Southern Colorado is known for high winds and inconsistent weather patterns. One day, you’ll find yourself dealing with 40 degrees throughout the afternoon, only to have the temperature rise to the 60s the next day. The wind may stir up large amounts of dust which makes it difficult for RV drivers. Regardless, you can still experience pleasant weather at Horseshoe Lake in spring.
Summertime produces significant changes to Colorado’s weather. The temperature rises to the 70s and 80s and afternoon thunderstorms become common. For water recreationists, this is the best time to visit Lathrop State Park. With the lakes averaging 75 degrees during this season, you can enjoy several water recreational activities, including swimming, waterskiing, kayaking, and sailing.
By fall, the temperatures begin to drop, with an average high between the 60s and 70s. That said, nighttime temperatures can drop to the 20s and 30s, so plan accordingly when RV camping near Lathrop State Park. The park’s trees change colors, and the surrounding peaks begin to accumulate snow, creating gorgeous scenery along the trails.
Wildlife in Lathrop State Park
In this Colorado state park, there is plenty of wildlife present. Some of the wildlife species you may encounter on your Lathrop State Park camping trip include:
Various birds of prey
Remember to keep your distance from any wild animals you may encounter. Never attempt to touch or feed any wildlife in the park to ensure the safety of yourself and other campers.
Things To Do in Lathrop State Park
At Lathrop State Park, your adventure begins and ends outdoors. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Lathrop State Park.
Go hiking. There are two main trails to explore at Lathrop State Park: the Hogback Nature Trail and the William Henry Jackson Trail. Both trails offer excellent views of the Spanish Peaks and Greenhorn Mountain. If you’re in the mood for some delightful scenery, you can catch wildflowers blooming along the trails from spring to late autumn.
Go biking. Biking is also a popular activity in Lathrop. The most popular bike trail is the Cuerno Verde Trail, a three-mile closed-loop trail that goes around Martin Lake. It’s important to remember that this trail is used by hikers and cyclists, so be courteous to others. You also have the option of riding on the park roads.
Go birdwatching. For something more relaxing and subtle, grab a pair of binoculars and explore the diverse species of birds that inhabit this park. You’ll find loons, swans, and pinyon jays. You can also find Ladder-backed woodpeckers on the south side of the lakes. Make sure to have your camera with you to preserve these natural sightings.
Go boating. Water recreational activities are some of the most popular things to do in Lathrop State Park. Some options include canoeing, power boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, and windsurfing. Best of all, the lakes’ warm weather during the summer makes water recreation all the more enjoyable. Talk about the trip of a lifetime!
Try geocaching. Put your navigation skills to the test and explore up to thirteen geocaches located throughout the park. You can find the coordinates to these geocaches online and at the visitor center. To participate in this scavenger hunt, you must either use the Geocaching app or a GPS device.
Play golf. As the only park in Colorado that features a golf course, this is an activity you won’t want to miss. The nine-hole Walsenburg Golf Course not only offers stunning views of the Spanish Peaks but also has a restaurant and bar located inside the clubhouse.
Lathrop State Park Water Activities
Lathrop State Park offers ample water activities with its two stunning lakes. Boaters, anglers, waterskiers, and swimmers will love visiting the park.
Due to Lathrop's position in southern Colorado, nestled between the foothills and plains, the water in its lakes tends to be warmer compared to that of many mountain lakes and reservoirs found at higher elevations. This means that the average temperature of the lake water during summer is 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Martin Lake has 180 surface acres and boasts a swimming beach for visitors. Additionally, guests can go power and sail boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, and even windsurfing! The swimming area is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Campers love to take advantage of the warm water during the summer months for some splish-splashing fun.
There is a buoyed area in Martin Lake designated for boats towing skiers and water toys to safely enter and exit the water. Fishing is not allowed in this area.
Horseshoe Lake, Lathrop’s second lake, is 150 surface acres and features space for sailing, boating at wakeless speeds, windsurfing, and fishing. Due to the wakeless regulations, Horseshoe Lake is ideal for canoeing and kayaking. The lake closes for boating on November 1 through the end of waterfowl hunting season.
Tips On Visiting Lathrop State Park
To make the most of your first RV rental Lathrop State Park trip, keep the following tips in mind.
Daily passes are $10 per vehicle.
Vehicle annual passes can be purchased at any time for $80 (affixed) and $120 (family) and are valid for 12 months.
Consider visiting Lathrop State Park on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Remember that boating is limited to hand-launched boats from November 1st to April 1st.
Keep in mind that Horseshoe Lake is closed from November 1st until the end of the waterfowl hunting season.
General RV Camping Tips for a Successful Trip
Plan Ahead: Make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure a campsite.
Check RV Compatibility: Ensure your RV is compatible with the campsite's size and hookup options.
Pack Essentials: Create essential checklists, including bedding, kitchen supplies, toiletries, and outdoor gear.
Safety First: Pack a first-aid kit, practice fire safety, and have a reliable communication method.
Leveling and Stabilizing: Use leveling blocks to ensure your RV is level and stabilized for a comfortable stay.
Waste Disposal: Know the location of dump stations and how to properly dispose of sewage and gray water.
Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by cleaning up after yourself and respecting nature.
Weather Preparedness: Check the weather forecast and prepare for changing conditions, especially in areas with variable weather.
Campfire Safety: Follow campfire safety guidelines, and always have a way to extinguish the fire.
Wildlife Awareness: Be aware of wildlife in the area and store food securely to prevent encounters.
These tips will help ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable RV camping experience.
Pick Up An RV Rental for Lathrop State Park
It’s time to make some meaningful memories as you embark on your Lathrop State Park RV camping experience. What better way to make the most out of your first RV rental Lathrop State Park trip than with a vehicle that provides all the comforts of home?
With Cruise America, you can browse through our full lineup of RVs that come equipped with home amenities, such as a kitchen, shower, functioning toilets, and gas cooktops. Best of all, we offer several RV rental deals, so you know you’re in good hands.
Contact Cruise America today and get started on your Lathrop State Park adventure!