Sweetwater Lake | Information and FAQ’s
Note: Sweetwater Lake is in transition between private and public ownership. Please give managers time to activate the property. Signage, infrastructure, and access projects are in progress. US Forest Service trails surrounding the property are open to the public.All photographs courtesy of EagleValleyWild.org.
Information and FAQ’s
- Lake Status: Open
- Click Here for Sweetwater Lake Area Regulations
- Access is currently challenging, as the managers are in the process of purchasing and installing a new dock. Access the like via the south campground or on the East edge of the lake near the main lodge.
- Restaurant Status: Closed
- Horseback Riding, Horsepacking Trips: Open | Contact Brink Outfitters at 970-524-7344 or click here.
- Click here for frequently asked questions
Sweetwater Lake is where current and future generations of Americans can recreate, connect with the natural environment, appreciate the cultural and natural history, and experience the freedom from the developed world like their grandparents may have 50 years ago; connecting with our western heritage. Here partnerships are paramount to deliver public benefits. Sweetwater Lake provides cultural, historic and social value to local communities.
Three overarching goals exist for the public acquisition and reopening of the property to the public:
- Improve access, modernize facilities, and provide updated and sustainable recreational services that are appropriate to the environment, desired by the public and keeping within the character of the area.
- Retain and protect the natural and social characteristics of the area.
- Incorporate public input while honoring the historical legacy of this special place during the planning process.
Improve access, modernize facilities, and provide updated and sustainable recreational services that are appropriate to the environment and keeping within the character of the area.
- Create a new master plan for the entire Lake area with a focus on facilities needed and appropriately sited to meet recreation, wildlife, historic, financial and visual objectives.
- Over time, transition out of, remove, improve and/or replace existing infrastructure as feasible.
- Define recreational opportunities that will be provided for that could include; cabin rentals, camping, day use, fishing, non-motorized boating, boat rentals, food service, horseback riding.
- Consider visitor capacity in master planning.
- Encourage year-round recreational use to the extent practical.
- Include in the master plan decisions how to fully utilize the water rights being acquired by the Forest Service in the purchase as well as those on adjacent NFS lands.
Retain and protect the natural and social character of the area.
- Incorporate wildlife, scenery and social values into visually sensitive designs for the entire project area and all facilities to the extent practical.
- Manage the southern and western Lake shores primarily for retention of wildlife habitat.
- Evaluate whether to retain the pasture to the west of the Lake.
- Define recreation opportunities, related settings and desired experiences that the project area will be managed for.
- Consider adjacent USFS management direction and private property.
- Provide interpretation and education goals regarding natural resources and stewardship
Incorporate public input while honoring the historical legacy of this special place during the planning process.
- Conduct public planning process in collaboration with interested parties, private land owners and adjacent communities.
- Work with the Ute Tribes on a plan that honors their historical use of the area and specifically on a management strategy for the cave.
- Make needed repairs to the CCC cabin and incorporate its active use into the overall strategy for the site.
Sweetwater Lake in the press
- Coloradans will be charged $29 for state parks pass when registering vehicle starting in 2023
- State parks plan raises overdevelopment concerns at Sweetwater Lake
- Colorado gets a 43rd state park under first-in-the-nation deal with the Forest Service
- A ‘sweet spot’ for Sweetwater Lake: Polis unveils plans to make newly-acquired area newest state park
- CBS Denver: White River National Forest Now Owns Sweetwater Lake
- Vail Daily: White River National Forest completes acquisition of Sweetwater Lake
- Vail Daily: Trust Our Land: Protecting and enhancing Sweetwater Lake for the long-haul
- Colorado Newsline: Conservation groups celebrate one-year anniversary of Great American Outdoors Act
- The Colorado Sun: Outdoor recreation leaders ask Congress to loosen rules restricting Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars
- The Colorado Sun: Sweetwater Lake closer to conservation as Forest Service land
- The Durango Herald: Sweetwater Lake purchased by national environmental nonprofit
- Post Independent: Sweetwater Lake is no longer in private hands
- The Journal: Sweetwater Lake purchased by national environmental nonprofit
- The Colorado Sun: U.S. Forest Service ranks protecting Colorado’s Sweetwater Lake high on its list of funding priorities
- The Colorado Sun: Plan to buy remote Sweetwater Lake and transfer it to Forest Service gets boost from Eagle County Communities
- The Conservation Fund: Young Conservationists Lend Support to Save Sweetwater Lake
- The Colorado Sun: In a win for public lands – and Cory Gardner – Trump vows to fully fund Land and Water Conservation Fund
- The Journal: Sen. Cory Gardner says he showed Trump photo of Colorado to help secure LWCF funding
- Vail Daily: Effort to purchase, preserve Sweetwater Lake gets big fundraising boosts
- Post Independent: Glenwood Middle School 6th graders doing their part to preserve Sweetwater Lake
- Vail Daily: Gypsum chips in $20,000 toward Sweetwater purchase
- Vail Daily: Downvalley boards are sweet on Sweetwater Lake
- Vail Daily: Help us save Sweetwater Lake
- Vail Daily: Eagle Valley Land Trust launches ‘Save the Lake’ to preserve Sweetwater water, land
- Colorado Sun: Conservationists hope to tap Land and Water Conservation Fund to preserve land and water on Sweetwater
Conservation Easement Information
Type of Access:
Map & Directions: