North Sterling Reservoir State Park

Quick Facts

North Sterling Reservoir State Park


(970) 522-3657

Map Directions

Things To Do


This large, spacious reservoir on the high plains draws locals and tourists alike from May through September. North Sterling State Park is a gateway to fun and relaxation. A boater's paradise, the 3,000 acre reservoir offers great coves and fingers to explore during the spring and summer months. Anglers, boaters and water skiers enjoy the water all day, while land lovers hike, bike, or picnic along the shoreline. Hunting follows the boating season, and camping in Elks Campground is year-round. Elks Campground north of the dam is open year-round. This irrigation reservoir is at its lowest water level by mid-September and begins filling again by late October. At night, campers might marvel at the astrological wonders seen in the park's exceptionally dark skies. A combination of native short grass prairie species such as prairie dog, ferruginous hawk, burrowing owl and prairie rattlesnake and species associated with the reservoir-induced vegetation are present at North Sterling. This park has something to offer to everyone!

Map of North Sterling Reservoir (CO)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.776642, -103.287277



  • Boating

    North Sterling Reservoir is a boater's paradise with 3,000 acres of pristine waters to explore and two boat ramps to launch the fun. New visitors often become returning regulars when they discover that this large reservoir has miles of wide-open space for both quiet fishing and exciting waterskiing.. Please remember to CLEAN - DRAIN - DRY your vessel to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species. Boating is closed in the winter season, but generally reopens in early April.

  • Bicycling

    The 3.5-mile South Shoreline Trail is recommended for a quiet prairie trail ride along the reservoir's shoreline, but dress for the weather! All of North Sterling's trails are for non-motorized access only.

  • Camping

    Whether you spend your day playing on land or on the water, you'll find a place to spend the night in one of the 141 campsites in three campgrounds, accommodating everything from the largest motor homes to the smallest pup tent. Elks Campground is open year-round and has 50 developed campsites including 30-amp electrical hookups, shade shelters, picnic tables, and fire pits. Just inside the South Entrance, Inlet Grove Campground offers 50-amp electrical hookups, shade shelters, picnic tables, fire pits, and all sites have a high-use tent pad. Inlet Grove Campground is closed seasonally from October 1 to May 1. Chimney View Campground will be opened on a limited first-come, first-served basis when all other campgrounds are full. A vault restroom sits in the center of the campground, and Chimney View shares the camper services building with Inlet Grove at the east end of the campground.

  • Fishing

    North Sterling is open to fishing year-round. The reservoir is an excellent warm-water fishery, featuring walleye, crappie, perch, bass, bluegill, trout, catfish, tiger-muskie, wiper and northern pike. Walleye and wiper under 15" in length must be returned to the water immediately. Please refer to the Colorado Fishing Regulations published annually by the Division of Wildlife for a complete listing of size restrictions and possession limits. There is no longer a marina concession store at North Sterling. The visitor center has a small retail store offering ice, firewood, sodas and water during the spring, summer and fall. Worms, frozen mussels, and frozen shrimp in stock for sale when possible - call ahead to be sure. Be sure to bring your fishing license and boat fuel.

  • Hiking

    Point-to-point, natural surface trails extend over three miles from the Inlet Canal southwest along the shoreline to a trailhead on County Road 29. The Sunset Point Trail is also accessible. Dogs are required to be on a maximum six foot leash.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horses are allowed along the South Shoreline trail, south of the Inlet Canal and footbridge. Park at the East Trailhead parking lot, just south of the Inlet on CR-33.

  • Hunting

    The park is now open to hunting in designated areas. Hunting is carefully managed and permitted during established seasons from the first Tuesday after Labor Day through the Friday before Memorial Day and is not permitted from the dam or areas north of the dam. Hunting area maps are available at the Visitor Center and south entrance brochure kiosk. Method of hunting is restricted to bows and arrows, or shotguns firing birdshot.

  • Picnicking

    here are 38 picnic sites throughout the park. Picnic tables with shade shelters are available at the Balanced Rock area, while tables with grills can be found at the South Boat Ramp, Cottonwood Cove and Sunset Cove areas.

  • RVing

    Electrical hookups available at Elk Campground and Inlet Cove Campground.

  • Water Sports

    In the summer, this big lake makes for great waterskiing. Boats must operate in a counterclockwise direction, and each ski boat needs three people: the skier, the boat operator AND an observer. Cottonwood Cove Swim Beach is now closed for the season. Located at the south end of the park, the swim beach area provides flush restrooms, a large public picnic pavilion and a playground. It's a great place for family fun! Sorry, pets are NOT PERMITTED on the swim beach or ski beach, and fines are possible. Please use caution; there are no lifeguards. Sailboarding and jet skiing are other popular summer activities at North Sterling.


Open year-round 24 hours a day. Closed to day use from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.



From Sterling; From Sterling exit #125 on I-76 northbound from Denver, turn left at the exit stop sign. (OR at exit #125 southbound to Denver, turn right at the exit stop sign.) Follow Hwy 6 (Chestnut St.) over the bridge into downtown Sterling. Continue on Chestnut for 3 blocks. Jog left onto Platte St. for two blocks to N. 3rd Ave. Turn right and go four blocks to Broadway. Turn left & go four blocks to N. 7th Ave. (CR 39). Turn right and go 10 miles to CR 46, then two miles west to CR 33 for the south gate, swim beach, picnic pavilion, playground, Chimney View & Inlet Grove Campgrounds, and south boat ramp. Stay on CR 33 along the east side of the reservoir to the north gate, Park Office/Visitor Center, marina, Marina Point Picnic Pavilion, Elks Campground and Elks boat ramp. OR...Entering Sterling on (West Main Street) Highway 14 eastbound from Ft. Collins, continue to N. 7th Ave, turn left (north), go to CR 46.


Airport located in nearby Denver, CO.

Phone Numbers


(970) 522-3657