Activities at BCLP

Swimming and Paddle Sports (Big Soda Lake)

Big Soda Lake and beach area.



Open Memorial Day until Labor Day
8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily

  • No lifeguards on duty.
  • Concession stand. 
  • Picnic sites.
  • Lap swimming lane: Three orange buoys mark out 50 yard intervals for a total one-way distance of 150 yards or 137 meters. The lane is located west of the swim beach.
  • Playground and two sand volleyball courts.
  • The beach picnic shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis only.
  • Swimming permitted in designated area only.
  • Life vest required for each person on all boats, including paddle boards.
  • No grills placed directly on the sand. Propane grills should be positioned on a stable surface such as a table or equipped with legs to elevate them above the sand. No personal charcoal grills permitted.
  • Glass bottles are prohibited. Alcohol other than beer is prohibited.
  • No smoking, vaping or e cigarettes.
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times and are prohibited on the sand area.
  • Pool toys/floats must remain within wading distance of shore. No floats larger than 6' in diameter allowed in swimming area.
  • Unreasonable amplified music prohibited.
  • No hammocks, slacklines or other lines tied to trees or structures. 
  • No drones, radio-controlled boats, planes or fuel propelled models.
  • Shelters are first come, first served with a maximum group size of 24. Groups of 25 or larger are required to apply for a park use permit. 
  • Dog owners must pick up dog waste.


Personal Flotation Devices


  • The lake is open year-round to paddlecraft.
  • All Colorado Boating Statutes and Regulations apply, including use of a personal floatation device (applies to all paddleboards).

Rocky Mountain Paddleboard Rentals

  • Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats are typically available to rent during the summer season. 
  • Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) classes and group rates are offered.
  • Book times at or call 720-943-1132.

Limited to non-motorized craft. All trailered boats and sailboats must be inspected prior to launching.


Archery Range

The archery range.

Use of the archery range is included in the park admission fee.

The range features:

  • 12 bale targets, ranging from 10 to 80 yards
  • One moveable target for longer range practice
  • Two small shade shelters
  • Picnic tables

Archery equipment is not available for rent. 

Range Rules

  • No broad heads. Use field or target tips only.
  • No shooting after sunset.
  • Shoot only from designated positions.
  • Shoot only toward designated targets.
  • Do not shoot toward or harass wildlife.
  • Do not move toward target until all archers have finished shooting.
  • Children under 16 must be supervised by an adult.
  • Users may provide their own targets; however, they need to be placed in front of the existing targets.



Two boats on the reservoir.

General Guidelines

  • All Colorado Boating Statutes and Regulations apply, including use of a personal floatation device (applies to all paddleboards).
  • Boating on Bear Creek Reservoir is limited to a motor size of 10hp or less.
  • Big Soda Lake is limited to non-motorized boats only.
  • No private boats are permitted on Little Soda Lake.

Boating Information

The boat ramps at Bear Creek Reservoir and Big Soda Lake will be open from park opening until 2 hours before park closing. No boats will be allowed to launch after this time. (This does not apply to non-motorized canoes, kayaks, rafts, paddleboats, windsurfers or belly boats).

Boat Launch Hours

  • May-September: 6 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • October: 7 a.m.- 6 p.m.
  • November 1-November 15: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Boat ramps are closed November 15-March 15 annually, pending conditions.
  • March-April 30: 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

Boat Inspections

To help prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species, inspections are required for all motorized boats, sailboats and fishing boats prior to launching on Bear Creek Reservoir or Big Soda Lake.
Boat Inspection Details


  • Paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and pedal boats are typically available to rent from May-September.
  • Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) classes and group rates are offered.
  • Details at or call 720-943-1132.



The campground area.

Bear Creek Lake Park is home to one of the closest, full-service campgrounds to the Denver metro area and features 47 campsites with electrical hookup, two yurts, three cabins (open year-round) and one group site that can hold up to 25 people.

View Camping Details


Educational Programs

A school group poses on a trail.

Bear Creek Lake Park hosts events and ongoing programs throughout the year, including full moon hikes and Haunted Trail Adventure. For a full listing, visit the park events webpage via the button below. 

Register for Programming


Park Programs and Events


Group Programs

Bear Creek Lake Park is an ideal outdoor classroom. The programs we offer are hands-on experiences designed to provide a positive and fun outdoor learning environment for all participants. We have many different habitats that will enhance any group’s educational experience.

The Park Naturalist can introduce a variety of natural resources to enhance environmental education in your curriculum. Families can also take advantage of our many programs and learn about the great outdoors all year long.

Schedule a Group Program 

Educational nature programs are available for schools, preschools, homeschools, daycares, senior assisted living centers and boy/girl scouts. Topics include bats, bears, birds of prey, camping safety, ecosystems, insects, mammals, plants, scout badges and wetlands.     

Schedule a program

Equestrian Use

Three riders on a trail in the park.

Trail System

  • Approximately 15 miles of multi-use dirt trails, including open meadows, creek side trails, and wide-ranging views from Mount Carbon.
  • Trail connections to the Bear Creek Greenbelt.
  • Horses are not allowed on the Owl Trail, Fitness Trail, Cottonwood Trail, sections of the Fisherman’s Trail, or along the dams.
  • Horses are required to remain on designated trails and should not ride cross-country. 

Bear Creek Stables

Get the feeling of the Old West by trying your hand at horseback riding! The stables offer nature rides, hay rides, lessons, summer camps and evening rides.
Reservations are encouraged.
Open Memorial Day to Labor Day
Visit Bear Creek Stables website.

Horse Arena/Trailer Parking
A public horse arena is located on the south side of the park, near the stables. It is a great place to warm up before a ride or to work on your skills. Water is available.

There are three parking lots that accommodate horse trailers:

  • Horse Arena Lot: Use of this lot is highly encouraged because it provides access to the Mount Carbon and Turkey Creek trails.
  • Cottontail Picnic Area
  • Whitetail Picnic Area

View Park and Trail Map(JPG, 721KB)




People fishing at the bank of Bear Creek Reservoir.

Bear Creek Reservoir

  • Bear Creek Reservoir is stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife throughout the year.
  • Fish species include rainbow trout, saugeye, small-mouth bass, yellow perch and the occasional tiger muskie or walleye.
  • Rainbow trout caught have a daily bag limit of 4 per person.
  • Minimum size for walleye/saugeye is 15 inches long.
  • Only 1 walleye or saugeye in aggregate longer than 21 inches may be taken per day. Walleye and saugeye daily bag limit and possession limit is 5. 
  • Anyone 16 years old or older requires a valid fishing license through Colorado parks and Wildlife.
  • Fishing licenses can be purchased online, at a sporting goods store, or most state parks.
  • Live bait is allowed as long as you have a receipt from a certified bait dealer from no more than 7 days ago.
  • There are two fishing piers on Bear Creek Reservoir. One is located at the Boat Ramp and the other is at Pelican Point.
  • All state fishing and boating regulations apply and are enforced.
  • Ice fishing allowed at your own risk.

Bear Creek River

  • Artificial flies and lures only
  • Bag and possession limit for trout (except rainbow) is 2
  • All rainbow trout must be returned to the water immediately

Learn more about fishing in Lakewood.



Bikers and hikers use a trail.

There are a variety of soft and hard surfaced trails in the park. View an interactive trail map online at, or download a paper copy via the button below. Dogs must always be kept on leash in the park. 

Download the Trail Map(JPG, 721KB)

Find Current Trail Conditions

Soft Surface Trails

The park features nearly 15 miles of soft-surface (primarily dirt) trails for users of all abilities. Most trails are open to horses, pedestrians and mountain bikes.

The trails in the park are: 

  • Owl Trail: 0.7-mile loop, 0.5-mile extension. Hiker Only. Very nice trail through a riparian area.
  • Cowen Trail: 1.4 miles. Short grass prairie hike through the former Cowen town site. 
  • Fisherman’s Trail: 1.3 miles. Scenic trail along the shore of Bear Creek Reservoir, with access to many fishing sites.
  • Mount Carbon Loop: 6.9 miles. A long loop around the park, featuring the park’s highest point.
  • North Park Trail: 2.2 miles. Hilly trail through the short grass prairie on the north side of the park.
  • Cottonwood Trail: 1.1 miles. A winding trail through the riparian area along Bear Creek.

Paved Trails

These trails provide connections to two regional paved trail systems. These trails are plowed in the winter, providing great opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts year-round: 

  • The Bear Creek Trail, connecting the South Platte corridor to Morrison.
  • The C-470 trail, connecting a large portion of the south and west Denver metro area   

Dogs in the Park

Always keep your dogs on a leash and under control, it's the law. Dogs are not permitted on the sand area in the beach.

Is your dog a B.A.R.K. Ranger? Take the pledge with your furry friend to: Bag your pet’s waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife and Know where you can go. Stop by the Bear Creek Lake Park Visitor Center to receive a BARK Ranger dog tag for your dog!

Clean up after your pets: Take the pledge.

Trail Etiquette

Be courteous, communicate and listen. The trails are for everyone! Please help ensure that ALL trail users have a good trail experience.

View Trail Rules


  • Yield to ALL other trail users
  • Slow to a safe passing speed
  • Make calm and friendly verbal contact prior to passing
  • Dismount for equestrians and make every effort to avoid frightening other users


  • Avoid blocking the trail
  • Yield to equestrians

Please help us protect your trails! 

  • Avoid using wet or muddy trails
  • Avoid leaving the trail surface to pass
  • Follow proper yielding guidelines
  • Remain on designated trails
  • Stay on trail surface through puddles
  • Travel at a safe speed
  • Clean up after your pets
  • Leave no trace!


Waterski and Wake 

A person waterskis.

Rocky Mountain Ski and Wake, Little Soda Lake.

  • Water ski, wakeboard, wakesurf and tube from May 17 to October 6.
  • Half-day water ski and full-day water ski/stand-up paddleboard (SUP) camps for all ability levels.
  • Group rates and water ski workshops are offered.
  • Reservations are recommended.
  • Details at or call 303-697-0121.


Wildlife Viewing

Two deer in the park.

The 2,600 acres of open space at Bear Creek Lake Park is a great place to see Colorado’s wildlife. With prairie, wetland and riparian ecosystems, many animals call the park home and offer making it an ideal place for wildlife viewing. 

Wildlife Viewing Etiquette

  • Be respectful. Use cameras, binoculars and spotting scopes to get close views
  • Keep pets leashed and under control. For your pets and wildlife's safety keep pets leashed and under control at all times
  • Never feed wildlife. Feeding can disrupt an animal’s natural feeding patterns. Let wildlife be wild!

Wildlife Tips

  • Most animals are active in the early evening and morning. Plan your trip at these times
  • Be quiet and wait. Pick a safe spot and wait patiently for wildlife to appear
  • Use all your senses. Listen with your ears and look with your eyes

Signs of an Animal

All animals leave signs of their presence behind. Signs of an animal can include tracks, scat, hair and bones and can be easy to spot.

See something interesting?

Tell us about it! Contact the Visitor's Center at 303-697-6159 or email