Snowshoes, shore fishing and yurt camping at Ridgway State Park

RIDGWAY, Colo. – Snow returns to the forecast this week across Colorado just in time for Ridgway State Park’s next full moon hike Wednesday, Feb. 16.

This month’s guided full moon hike fittingly will come under the “Snow Moon,” and will be led on the Pinyon Park trail that starts near the visitor center. It is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., and snowshoes are available for free checkout at the visitor center. A park pass is required for entry.

“It has great viewing of the moon as it rises above the Cimarron Range,” Ridgway State Park ranger Erin Vogel said of the Pinyon Park trail.

All winter, snowshoes are available to check out free of charge for day use within the park. They can be checked out at the Dutch Charlie visitor center from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The most popular snowshoe trails at Ridgway State Park are Forest Discovery and Oak Leaf, as they get good shade and hold snow longer. Both of those nature trails also have written guides available at the visitor center to make them easy to navigate. The Oak Leaf trail is also excellent for birders, who can observe dozens of species along the route.

Raptor viewing at Ridgway State Park is also excellent in the winter. Park manager Kirstin Copeland has observed bald eagles, golden eagles and red-tailed hawks in recent weeks.

“We have also seen a lot of waterfowl on the reservoir and rivers, including mallards, Canada geese, northern pintail and mergansers,” Copeland said.

Fishing in the reservoir remains good year-round. Ridgway Reservoir does not completely freeze over in the winter, making it unsafe for ice fishing but great for shore fishing. Recently, the reservoir was stocked with more than 18,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout from the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery. Vogel recommends fishing off of the Cookie Tree trail in the afternoon to enjoy good sunshine.

And Ridgway State Park remains an excellent home base for those exploring all the region has to offer. Whether that’s ice climbing at the Ouray Ice Park only 15 miles south, skijoring events at various towns in the area, dog sledding in Telluride or the many opportunities for skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing, Ridgway State Park puts visitors close to the action.

During the winter months, Ridgway State Park offers 20 RV campsites, 15 walk-in tent sites as well as three heated and furnished yurts.

“We are at the center of many winter opportunities in the area,” Copeland said. “Our heated yurts are a great option for camping and staying at the park in the winter while people explore everything the region has to offer.”

Campsites and yurts can be reserved online or by calling 1-800-244-5613.