Trinidad Lake, Colorado, USA

Also known as:  Trinidad Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Trinidad Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Trinidad Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Trinidad Lake

Seated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in southeastern Colorado, Trinidad Lake is a great place to fish, boat, sail, and enjoy the outdoors. With its rich history, the nearby town of Trinidad rounds out a visit to the lake providing something to interest everyone.

An impoundment of the Purgatoire River, Trinidad Lake was created for flood control and to provide water for irrigation and recreation. Trinidad Dam, completed in 1977, along with the resultant lake is controlled be the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The water levels on the lake fluctuate significantly based on irrigation needs, making swimming in the lake prohibited. Visitors to the lake should be aware of the fluctuations, but the lake levels still support good boating and fishing.

Trinidad Lake hosts several fishing tournaments every year, and both novice and experienced anglers will find plenty of fish to challenge them. The Colorado Division of Wildlife stocks the lake with over 50,000 trout annually. In addition to the rainbow and brown trout, there are good populations of largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, crappie, and blue gill. Anglers can fish from the shore or by boat. There is a public boat ramp, and waterskiing and jet skiing are popular lake pastimes.

There is plenty to explore on the land around Trinidad Lake as well. Trinidad State Park borders the Santa Fe Trail and the Highway of Legends in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visitors to the park can explore on foot, horseback, or bike, and there are over nine miles of trails. Although not groomed, trails are open for cross country skiing in the winter. There is a visitor’s center and camping in the park on Carpios Ridge, 150 feet above the lake. In 2006 it was selected as one of America’s top 100 family campgrounds.

The short and mixed grass prairies and pinion-juniper forest around Trinidad Lake offers ample opportunity to see birds and wildlife including pinion jays, roadrunners, deer , and elk. There are duck blinds and lots of waterfowl to see especially on the south shore trail.

The waters of the Purgatiore River that make up Trinidad Lake cut through upper cretaceous Trinidad sandstone and Pierre shale. Geologists from all over are drawn to the lake and more specifically to Long’s Canyon Trail. It’s one of the best examples anywhere in the country of a K-T boundary which marks the boundary between the Mesozoic and Cenozoic geological areas. Even novice geologists can see the change in color of the stone that marks the K-T boundary.

Although recent by geological time, Trinidad, founded in 1861 was a real frontier town. This charming town has “old west” character, beautifully restored architecture, and even some brick paved streets. The Trinidad Trolley gives rides through the historic district where visitors can explore the past at the Trinidad Historical Museum. The museum is comprised of several homes including the Baca House and gardens, and Bloom Mansion, home of banker and cattle baron Frank Bloom. In nearby Cokedale, visitors can explore the historic coal mining ruins, and at the Santa Fe Trail Museum visitors can see Kit Carson’s buckskin coat.

Its rich Santa Fe Trail history, interesting geology, ample wildlife and fantastic fishing make Trinidad Lake the perfect old west getaway.

Things to Do at Trinidad Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Ruins

Fish Species Found at Trinidad Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Trinidad Lake

If you’re considering a Trinidad Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Trinidad Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Trinidad Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Trinidad Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 800 acres

Shoreline Length: 11 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 6,194 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 6,230 feet

Water Volume: 30,815 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1977

Lake Area-Population: 9,078

Drainage Area: 671 sq. miles

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Trinidad Lake Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


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