photo - Sweitzer State Park, Delta, Colorado, 3/4/2014. (Photos by Ken Papaleo//High Country Coloring)
Sweitzer State Park, Delta, Colorado, 3/4/2014. (Photos by Ken Papaleo//High Country Coloring) 

Sweitzer Lake

Description: The day-use only park bustles through the summer with Western Slope travelers and locals ready to bust out their boats. The "oasis on the edge of the desert," as it's been coined, boasts 137 acres of water framed by a meadow overlooked by the San Juan Mountains. More rowdy jet skiers and tubers share the lake with the calmer canoeists and anglers who must abide by the catch-and-release rules. The fish contain a naturally occurring mineral and should not be eaten. An area is reserved for swimmers and scuba divers. On land, a flat 1.5-mile gravel path loops the lake's bank, affording hikers and bikers a lookout to those majestic peaks and the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flattop mountain. Birders frequent the path as well; the site has been designated by the Audubon Society, with almost 180 species spotted.

Activities: Power boating, jet/water skiing, sailing, canoeing, paddle boarding, swimming, scuba diving, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, birding, shotgun hunting in designated areas

Wildlife: Common small mammals include: foxes, rabbits, raccoons, mink, pheasant and muskrat; Gambel's quail, grebes, loons, swans, eagles frequent among wide variety of birds; carp, channel catfish, blue catfish, bluegill

Fun fact: With the intention of it becoming a recreation hub, the land making up the park was donated in 1953 by the Sweitzer family.

Address:1735 E Road, Delta 81416

Contact: 970-874-4258, sweitzer.park@state.co.us

Hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

Directions: Off Colorado 115 heading south, turn west on U.S. 50. Follow the highway to Delta; the park is a mile from town.

SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE

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