Pueblo's mild climate makes it a popular destination for boating, fishing, and other outdoor recreation, with several major stops for the region's outdoor enthusiasts.
Watersport aficionados are drawn to Lake Pueblo State Park (also called Pueblo Reservoir), which boasts some 4,500 surface acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline. The lake is popular among anglers trying for rainbow trout, brown trout, crappie, black bass, and channel catfish, and there's a free fish-cleaning station.
It's also a huge attraction for boaters, who come from all over southern Colorado, and the park offers swimming, hiking, and biking. The park's North Shore Marina (tel. 719/547-3880; www.noshoremarina.com) provides a gas dock, boating and fishing supplies, groceries, and a restaurant. The South Marina (tel. 719/564-1043; www.thesouthshoremarina.com) provides the same services and also rents pontoon boats ($135-$175 for 4 hr. and $240-$320 for 9 hr., plus fuel) April through October.
The Rock Canyon Swim Beach (tel. 719/564-0065) at the east end of the park is open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day Thursday to Monday 11am to 7pm and has lifeguards on duty. There's a five-story, three-flume water slide ($1.75 per ride or $10 all day), plus rentals of paddle boats ($6 per half-hour) and a snack bar. Entrance to the beach costs only $1. These fees are in addition to the $6 general park admission fee.
The park has about 400 campsites, some with electric and water hookups. A dump station and showers are available, and camping rates are $14 to $18 May 1 through Labor Day; $12 to $20 the rest of the year. Camping reservations are available for an extra charge of $8 by calling tel. 800/678-2267 or through the state parks website listed below. Day use costs $6 per vehicle, and campers must pay this in addition to camping fees.
From Pueblo, take U.S. 50 west for 4 miles, turn south onto Pueblo Boulevard and go another 4 miles to Thatcher Avenue, then turn west, and go 6 miles to the park. For information, contact the park office at tel. 719/561-9320, or go to www.parks.state.co.us.
The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo is a beautifully landscaped waterfront park that covers some 26 acres and offers pedestrian and bike paths, benches, sculptures, gardens, and natural areas that provide good wildlife-viewing opportunities. Pedal-boat rentals are available from early April to late September on a small lake along the Riverwalk (weekends only in Apr and daily the rest of the season). Rates are $6 per half-hour for a one-person boat and $10 per half-hour for a two- to four-seat boat. Excursion boat rides along the Arkansas take place on weekends in April and operate daily from May to late September. Rates for the narrated 25-minute tours are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and members of the military, and $3 for children 3 to 12. Hours for both pedal-boat rentals and the excursion-boat rides vary throughout the season; call the boathouse (tel. 719/595-1589) for the schedule. The Riverwalk is located near the south end of the Union Avenue Historic District and is easily accessed via Main Street. For information, contact Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo Authority, 200 W. First St., Ste. 303, Pueblo, CO 81003 (tel. 719/595-0242; www.puebloharp.com).
Also in town, stop at City Park, northeast of the intersection of Pueblo Boulevard (Colo. 45) and Thatcher Avenue. The park, home to the Pueblo Zoo , covers some 200 acres and offers two fishing lakes, tennis courts, a swimming pool (open in summer), and playgrounds. There's also a beautiful hand-carved antique carousel built in 1911, with music provided by a 1920 Wurlitzer Military Band Organ. The carousel is open evenings and Sunday afternoons in summer; the park is open daily year-round. For information, call the Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department (tel. 719/553-2790; www.pueblo.us).
There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping nearby in lands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service. For information, contact the headquarters of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests and Comanche and Cimarron National Grasslands, 2840 Kachina Dr., Pueblo, CO 81008 (tel. 719/553-1400; www.fs.fed.us/r2).
Local golf courses open to the public include Walking Stick, 1301 Walking Stick Blvd. (tel. 719/553-1180), at the northwest corner of the University of Southern Colorado. Rated among Colorado's best courses and best values, this 18-hole course has a driving range and charges $28 to $30 for 18 holes and $11 for a cart. Other local courses include Elmwood at City Park, 3900 Thatcher Ave. (tel. 719/561-4946), with an 18-hole regulation course plus executive 9-hole course. Greens fees for 18 holes are $22. Desert Hawk Golf Course at Pueblo West, 251 S. McCulloch Blvd. (tel. 719/547-2280), is an 18-hole regulation course with greens fees for 18 holes from $26 to $28.