Stagecoach State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Colorado, located at 5800 Lake St., Golden, Colorado. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression and opened to the public on June 10, 1935. It has since been expanded into 640 acres (260ha). Stagecoach State Park offers camping facilities with modern bathhouses, sewage disposal plants, playgrounds, picnic areas, and fire rings.
A concession stand sells soft drinks, snacks, hot food, and beer & wine. There is also an equestrian stable where visitors can board horses. The park’s visitor center features exhibits about the history and ecology of the area as well as natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals. Visitors can learn how lumbermen harvested redwood logs from the mountainsides to supply the sawmill, and discover what life was like living off the land long before electricity or running water were common.
The park includes Will Rogers State Historic Site which protects the home of humorist Will Rogers and his wife Betty who entertained presidents and other important people here. Stagecoach State Park receives nearly one million visitors annually. On Presidents’ Day weekend, February 18, 2017, attendance hit a record high of 188,193 people. This figure represents approximately 0.15% of the population of the county, or 1 out of every 689 residents.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), Denver ranks among America’s top ten most popular cities for automobile travel. Popular destinations include Vail, Boulder, Fort Collins, and Grand Junction. To accommodate all these tourists, some highways around the region have undergone major improvements, including the addition of new express lanes and the realignment of interchanges. Some even go so far as to suggest that we build a “Hercules” highway tunnel from north to south through the middle of town. However, building a road through downtown Denver would require shutting down parts of the city for extended periods of time, significantly impacting businesses and tourism. Instead of building a freeway, it may be easier just to build over the existing roads.
Another problem with building additional freeways is that they tend to focus traffic onto already clogged arteries, increasing pollution and gridlock. One idea currently under consideration would extend I-70 across the Arkansas River into eastern Utah, pass through Farmington, and connect with US-89. While this could alleviate some bottlenecks along the Front Range, it would substantially increase transportation costs and emissions. An alternative approach being considered would involve expanding mass transit service in conjunction with increased rail freight transport. For example, passenger trains carrying Amtrak’s Rocky Mountain regional service could be rerouted from their current route along the I-25 corridor to serve the northern suburbs instead, paralleling existing freight train tracks between Longmont and Wheat Ridge. Although still in its early stages, the concept of extending the metro rail system into rural areas is gaining momentum.
Plans call for two stations within Stagecoach State Park, serving the East Bay and Bennett’s Pond trail systems. Additionally, a future extension of the Cog Railway might be incorporated into the Railtown 1897 heritage railroad, stopping at the park to pick up passengers and freight. Stagecoach State Park provides 181 campsites divided into tent sites, RV sites, yurts, cabin sites and group camp sites. All sites feature access to potable water, vault toilets, and garbage bins. Campers and RVs are not permitted in yurts or cabins. Group campers must contain no more than six persons per site. Half of the campsites are available on a first come, first served basis, while the remainder must be reserved.
Reservations are accepted from March 1 until May 15 for weekends and holidays. After reserving a site, guests receive a confirmation email containing information regarding check-in and parking procedures. Check-in time is 2 p.m. while check-out time is 11 a.m. Pets are allowed in certain areas of the park subject to approval by management. No pets are allowed in yurts and cabins. Dogs are only allowed on leashes of six feet (1.8 m) or less and must be kept away from wildlife. Horses allowed in designated areas must be properly restrained and cannot run free. They must also have proof of inoculation prior to entering any area of the park with large groups of dogs.
Hunting is prohibited inside Stagecoach State Park. Shooting ranges are not yet established within the park but will likely be in the near future. Until then, hunters are encouraged to shoot outside the park boundary. White tail deer, black bear, moose, and rainbow trout are game fish found in Bennett’s Pond, and anglers target them using artificial lures and bait.
There are more than 100 miles (160km) of trails open year-round for:
- mountain biking
- horseback riding
In winter there is:
- downhill skiing
- cross-country skiing
- ice skating
- ski/snowboard rentals
Other activities include:
- disc golf
- miniature golf
Common species of birds observed at the park include:
- golden eagles
- bald eagles
- cottontail prairie dogs
- ground squirrels
- prairie dogs