Trinidad Lake State Park

We arrived at Trinidad Lake State Park a little later than usual due to road construction and a thunderstorm that slowed traffic. As we entered the park, we drove up a hill and into the campground where a visitors center was closed for the evening. A restroom and shower building sat nearby. After looking at the sites online, I knew exactly where to find our site 47.

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Site 47 offers trees on both sides and plenty of space.
There are two campgrounds at this park. The Carpios Ridge campground sits on a ledge 150 feet above the reservoir while the other, South Shore Campground, sits on the opposite side at water level. In all, there are 73 sites available for camping. The Carpios Ridge campground has electric-only sites and some full hook-up sites. They also have shower buildings, water spigots throughout, and a laundry facility. The center campsites are open and generally back to each other with few trees. This may be good if you are camping with a larger group and would like to share meals easily and set up games between sites.

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View from the back of site 47 of the reservoir.
Our site was on the outer edge overlooking the reservoir. It may be one of the best views we have enjoyed while camping during the summer. The site is vast, stretching yards to the back cliff which makes a steep drop to the water below. Juniper and pinion pines surround the site, providing privacy and shade during the sunnier parts of the day. A fire pit, table and tent pad are all on this back-in site as well. Several sites on the outer rim have beautiful views. Even if you just came here to sit at this campsite and admire the views, your trip would be worth it.

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View from the table and camper.
This state park offers hiking trails, areas to bike, and plenty of water to enjoy boating. A new archery range and a well marked interpretive trail are also available. We went to the visitors center and spent time looking at the exhibit about Trinidad and the formation of this reservoir.


A relaxing hike on the Long’s Canyon Trail should not be missed. This trail allows an up-close look at the K-T Boundary marking the Mesozoic and Cenozoic geologic eras. The trail then meanders through open fields where viewing blinds are staggered to provide shade for wildlife viewing in the waterways near this trail.

thumbnail_IMG_3918[1]After enjoying the hike, we went into Trinidad to eat lunch. We selected a sandwich shop, that was bustling at noon with a long line stretching almost to the door. The interior was welcoming with black chandeliers, some booths, tables, and the smell of fresh pastries. While there were only a few people working (so the orders took some time), the food was delicious. Salads, sandwiches and soups were freshly created and brought to the table by pleasant staff.


After returning to the campground we hiked on another loop that originates in the campground itself. This loop overlooked the opposite side of the reservoir than we could see from our site. A playground and volleyball courts were also available in the campground.

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The campground advertised a music program for that evening. A local bluegrass/roots band played in the amphitheater for two hours. They were fun and provided local history. It was refreshing to hear live music at this venue. We also took the interpretive trail that is newly completed to get to the amphitheater. This well-created, accessible trail passes several picnic areas which look out to the lake below.

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After the concert, we returned to make s’mores over the fire and enjoy our campsite. The views from this location are lovely and the history of the area is interesting. Wandering into town, you will discover donut shops, coffee shops, and restaurants of all varieties. This is a fun weekend visit.