Official - Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area


1795 C.R. 210, Durango, Colorado - (970) 375-7335 - Lake Nighthorse Live Cam

Lake Nighthorse opens on Friday, April 2 for non-motorized recreation

Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area will open for the 2021 season on Friday, April 2. The lake will be open for non-motorized recreation 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, April 2 through May 9. Daily operations will begin May 14, and motorized recreation begins May 15. Find the full schedule, including wakeless & quiet hours, below.

New amenities to the swim beach include an inflatable play structure (May through September), lifeguards and guard station, and a separate concrete paddle craft launch ramp. There also will be an expanded no wake zone connecting to west side. Spring pumping from the Animas River will bring the water level at the swim beach to meet the sand. 

To ensure the safety of the public and Lake Nighthorse staff during COVID-19, the City of Durango requests visitors maintain six feet social distance from others, wear a face covering, and bring a personal supply of hand sanitizer.

2021 Season and 5-Punch Passes may be purchased in person at the Recreation Center, or online  prior to Lake Nighthorse opening for the season. Full details are listed below in the Entrance Passes tab.

  1. Hours of operation
  2. Entrance passes
  3. Activities/ programs
  4. Swim beach
  5. Fishing facts
  6. Boating rules
  7. Historic documents

Lake Nighthorse recreation schedule

30 minutes prior to daily closure, the entrance gate will be closed to access, and boat exit inspections as well as watercraft launches will cease.  

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday open to 10 a.m. are quiet & wakeless hours, including holidays.

2021 Hours of operation may vary due to COVID-19. 

  • April 2 – May 9:  Friday, Saturday and Sunday Only; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Non-Motorized Recreation ONLY
  • May 14 – 31: Open Daily; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Guarded Swim Beach Opens May 14; Motorized Recreation Begins May 15
  • June 1 – August 31:  6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Daily
  • September 1 – 30:  7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Daily 
  • October 1 – 17:  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Daily 
  • October 22 – November 14:  Friday, Saturday and Sunday Only; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • November 15:  Winter Wildlife Closure

Lake Nighthorse operations

To ensure quality recreational experiences at Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area, here is a list of City of Durango and Bureau of Reclamation rules and regulations: Lake Nighthorse Recreational Operations (PDF)

Entrance Sign image