Lake Nighthorse

Swimmers, anglers and boaters and more have a new destination in Durango: Lake Nighthorse officially opened its pristine blue waters for recreation on April 1, 2018. Lake Nighthorse, spanning more than 1,500 acres, is just two miles from downtown Durango. The lake offers endless opportunities for fun or relaxation: How you enjoy the waters are up to you.

History of Lake Nighthorse

Lake Nighthorse has been in discussion for nearly a century and was authorized by Congress in 1968, but has just opened to the public. Named for former U.S. senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Lake Nighthorse was established by the Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Animas La Plata Project. Lake Nighthorse meets Native American water rights in the area. Today Lake Nighthorse is jointly managed by the Bureau of Reclamation and the City of Durango.

How to Enjoy Lake Nighthorse

You’ll find a number of ways to take in the picturesque blue waters of Lake Nighthorse. It’s a perfect spot for fishing, as the lake has been stocked since 2011 with Sockeye (Kokanee) Salmon, Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Lake Nighthorse is one of just 26 places in the Colorado where the catch of the day might include Sockeye Salmon, making it a unique spot for casting off.


Stand Up Paddle Board

Lake Nighthorse’s still waters make it a perfect destination to stand up paddle board. Imagine a slow flow yoga practice from atop your board underneath the breathtaking cliffs of the Ridges Basin or just gentling paddling through the lake’s clear blue waters.

SUP Durango

Kayaks & Watercrafts

Boaters love traversing the waters of Lake Nighthorse. From paddlers on kayaks and in canoes to sailboats to other watercraft, you’ll find that it’s the perfect place to put in and enjoy. You’ll find that Lake Nighthorse offers a sandy beach for swimming and sunbathing. Take a splash in the cool waters and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you.


You’ll find a number of other ways to enjoy Lake Nighthorse. From hiking and biking the lands around the lake to finding the perfect picnic spot, Lake Nighthorse is one of Durango’s newest and most enjoyable attractions.