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Spend the Day at Lake Nighthorse 2022

Spend the Day at Lake Nighthorse 2021

It may still feel like winter, but Durango Parks and Recreation is wanting to get a head start on spring. Lake Nighthorse, Durango’s newest recreational lake, is reopening for public recreation starting on Friday, April 1, 2022 with all new activities and events! So grab your swimsuits and fishing gear and prepare to say goodbye to winter. Spring is here with summertime following close behind!

Lake Nighthorse is officially open for recreational activities! Starting April 1st, Lake Nighthorse will be open for all non-motorized activities and will only be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 4pm. The lake will officially be open for the season starting on May 13th with a newly constructed swimming beach for plenty of space to soak up the sun; so book your calendars and don’t miss out on taking advantage of the new Durango summer hang out spot for everyone!


Lake Nighthorse opened for the first time two years ago for aquatic recreation, fishing, and boating. But the creation of this fee-based water wonderland was a long journey. The lake, originally authorized by the U.S. Congress in September 1968, didn’t actually begin construction until 2003. There were many obstacles including funding and political difficulties that delayed the development. The reservoir began filling in 2009 and was up to capacity in 2011 when the Lake began getting stocked with kokanee salmon, rainbow trout and brown trout. 

Photo of Lake Nighthorse from the City of Durango

Keep an eye out on the month-to-month schedule of operations and closures that are subject to change. You can find all of the information you need about hours here. Take advantage of the time on the beautiful blue water while you can this summer!  



Lake Nighthorse offers plenty of activities that the entire family can enjoy provided by local establishments in Durango! Hit the water with some lessons on sailing or various water sports, or rent your own equipment and have a lake day the way you want. SUPs, kayaks and canoes are available to rent, provided by 4Corners River Sports, as well as classes and clinics on how to operate them. Adaptive Sports will be offering water adventures to those with wide ranges of physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Notoriously praised private fly fishing lessons from the crew at Duranglers will be offered as well! 

For all of you fishers out there, this will be the spot you want to fish this summer! Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Kokanee Salmon have been stocked since 2011. White and Flannelmouth suckers, Fathead Minnows, Johnny Darters, and Crayfish are other species of fish that are in the lake! The trout limit is four bagged per day and eight per possession; the limit on Kokanee Salmon is 10 bagged per day and 10 in possession. Please only fish in designated areas and not where no fishing signs are posted. 

Fishing licences may be purchased at:



We want everyone to have fun and be safe while on the lake! Please take care of the area around you while you are enjoying some fun in the sun. Here is a list of regulations to review before you get to the water. 

Lake Nighthorse Map

Recreational map of Lake Nighthorse provided by the City of Durango


Looking to just head to the lake and relax? Make sure you check out the Lake Nighthorse Live Cam to see what the conditions are like on the water! Check out the entire 2022 Lake Nighthorse Schedule on the City of Durango’s Website and purchase your 2022 season pass or a 5-punch pass at the Durango Parks and Recreation Center. OR use this link to fill out your pass!

Park passes vary from day passes, to five day punch passes, to season passes-- whatever you think you’ll need to enjoy the lake this spring/summer!

2022 Park Entrance Pass Options:

  • Day Pass Vehicle Entrance  $10
  • Day Pass Walk/Bike Entrance  $4
  • Day Pass Commercial Vehicle $25 
  • Season Pass Vehicle:
    • 1st for Household  $80
    • Multiple Vehicle (Same Household)  $40
  • Season Pass Vehicle Senior *:
    • 1st for Household  $70
    • Multiple Vehicle Senior (Same Household)  $35
  • Season Pass Walk/Bike  $25
  • 5-Punch Pass Vehicle  $40
  • 5-Punch Pass Vehicle Senior *  $30
  • 5-Punch Pass Walk/Bike  $1

Need directions? Here is a map of where exactly the lake is located-- about 15 minutes south west of Durango!

Map image provided by the City of Durango


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