Vail Daily column: Sylvan Lake offers plethora of activities | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Sylvan Lake offers plethora of activities

Natalie Fioretti
Curious Nature

A young bull moose at Sylvan Lake looks curiously through the grasses.

Trying to get the family outside for some good old fashioned fun? Look no further than our beloved Colorado state parks. Well-kept, well-managed and with a plethora of recreational activities, these local beauties are a wonderful place to take the entire family.

One in particular that is known for its beautiful scenery is Sylvan Lake State Park, located near Eagle in the White River National Forest. This park is located at an elevation of 8,500 feet in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, only an hour and 20 minutes from Vail. The breathtaking lake is surrounded by a splendid view of rolling meadows which are home to a variety of native flora and fauna. This stunning view creates a gorgeous campground to help you escape into nature.

Peaceful Place to Relax

Sylvan's family friendly atmosphere and zero cell-phone service makes it a perfect place for nature lovers to come and find a peaceful place to relax, however there is also plenty to do for the adventurous ones in your group. A hot spot for recreational activities, Sylvan Lake offers a variety of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The campgrounds located directly around the lake create a haven for any fisherman. Sylvan's well stocked lake provides a promising experience for any fishing ability. The lake also allows for a range of non-motorized boating fun. While the lake is amazing both to use and to admire, there is much more to do than just fish or boat. The area surrounding the lake is full of hiking trails, mountain biking, ATV use roads and even some caving opportunities not far from the park. Sylvan also provides a range of educational opportunities, such as its personalized junior ranger badges and a variety of campground programs administered by park rangers and Walking Mountain Science Center. This state park is equipped with something for everyone's hobbies and interests.

Colorado is home to many wonderful state parks, and what better way to spend a short vacation then having good company as you go out to explore the world? Camping is a wonderful way to get back to the basics and appreciate the little things in life.

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Any Level of Camper Welcome

Although remote and tucked away from society's stresses, this campsite can accommodate any level of camper. Equipped with running water, working toilets and showers, you don't have to feel too far from home. Despite being as popular and regularly used as it is, Sylvan Lake State Park is a tremendous outpost for wildlife viewing. Watching over the lake, you may be lucky enough to see one of the majestic osprey dive down to scoop up its fishy meal. Also inhabiting the area are active bald eagle nests, great-horned owls, little brown bats, violet-green swallows, mule deer and many adorable yellow-bellied marmots.

Go Enjoy nature

While most campers hope to see some wildlife, the landscape and views alone make a ride out to Sylvan Lake worth the trip. Go enjoy nature and appreciate the beauty of this small oasis located right in our backyard. Colorado is home to many wonderful state parks, and what better way to spend a short vacation then having good company as you go out to explore the world? Camping is a wonderful way to get back to the basics and appreciate the little things in life. The White River National Forest, as well as all of Colorado, provides its residents and guests an inexpensive way to travel and truly enjoy the world around them.

Natalie Fioretti is a summer naturalist at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon. Come join her or one of her friends for campfire programs on Saturday nights at Sylvan Lake State Park.