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Lake Pueblo opens 'Kestrel Pond' as a place to enjoy quiet watersports

Visitors to Lake Pueblo State Park this summer will find a new area they might want to explore: Kestrel Pond located along the Arkansas River off of Rock Canyon Road just below the dam.

Kestrel Pond is envisioned as a quiet place for water recreation in contrast to the 5,400 surface acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline in Lake Pueblo, which typically attracts millions of visitors each year to sail, motor-boat, water ski, river tube and fish. Lake Pueblo boasts the most visitors, annually, among Colorado Parks and Wildlife's 42 state parks.

For years, the new Kestrel Pond area was known as the Rock Canyon Day Use Area and Swim Beach. But few guests used the beach in recent years after the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission relaxed rules to generally allow swimming in most state park waters, starting in 2022.

"We wanted to find a new use for this area so we transitioned it to a more casual use," said Joe Stadterman, park manager. "Guests will find the gates are no longer closed and they are free to use it to swim, paddleboard, canoe or kayak on the pond."

Kestrel Pond will cater to quiet water use, meaning there are no motorized vessels allowed – gasoline or electric – and no fishing permitted.

"We envision Kestrel Pond as a place of more solitude compared to the main lake where powerboats, fishing boats and jet skis are common," Stadterman said. "We think Kestrel Pond will fill a need that has existed for some time at Lake Pueblo."

Kestrel Pond offers large covered picnic areas and charcoal grills for use. And restrooms will remain open although no showering will be available.

Lake Pueblo State Park covers nearly 10,000 acres straddling the Arkansas River on the city's west edge, also offers 400 camping sites to go with its two full-service marinas, miles of trails, bird watching, a visitor's center and fish hatchery.

More information is available by calling the park at 719-561-9320 or visiting

Photo: CPW
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