TRINIDAD, Colo. — If you’re looking for a new part of Colorado to explore, Trinidad is home to the newest state park. And, towering above Trinidad, is the iconic Fishers Peak.

Fishers Peak State Park is now Colorado’s second largest park in the state’s park system after opening in October 2020.

“The beauty of Trinidad is kind of like one of those undiscovered gems,” said Jared Chatterley, Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation for Trinidad.

At over 9,600 feet, the mesa is one of the most recognizable landmarks in southern Colorado. The peak overlooks Raton Pass, a key mountain pass along the Santa Fe Trail leading to New Mexico.

Fishers Peak is also higher than any point in North America east of it.

“It really is what put Trinidad on the map as far as outdoor recreation is concerned,” said Chatterley.

Fishers Peak is center stage in Colorado’s 42nd state park and now second largest in the state’s park system.

“Second only to Colorado State Forest. So it’s kind of a big deal,” said Chatterley.

Fishers Peak State Park makes up over 19,000-acres. Only a small part of the park is currently open with big plans to grow the trail system and amenities. There’s about 250-acres you can explore right now.

“The Challenge Trail is complete, the Discovery Trail is complete and also the First Look Trail. There will be one trail that’ll go completely all the way to the Fishers Peak, which is eight and a half miles one way,” said Tom Sciacca, Fishers Peak State Park Resource Technician.

“The goal is to have to have some hiking trails to have some designated mountain biking trails. There’s a part that’s going to be developed to focus on equestrian and equestrian use,” said Chatterley.

The park is also an important corridor for wildlife movement, connecting grasslands to the east with foothills and mountains to the west.

“As they were studying and developing the state park, The Nature Conservancy found it’s one of the most unique, intact ecosystems in Colorado. There’s wild gamble oak that they haven’t found anywhere else in the state,” said Chatterley.

That’s why balancing recreation and conservation will be part of the park’s future.

“The New Mexico jumping mouse is found on the property. They’re an endangered species. And so some of that property is being managed to protect that habitat,” said Chatterley.

“We’re all brand new here and we’re hoping to see a bunch of visitors come out after we have the park completely open. I just welcome everybody to Fishers Peak State Park,” said Sciacca.

You can visit Fishers Peak State Park from sunrise to sunset with your Colorado State Parks Pass. They also offer day passes, along with Veteran and Senior discounts. You can order your State Parks Pass online here.

As a reminder, you can now buy your Colorado State Parks Pass for a steal of $29 when registering your car at a Colorado DMV starting next year. These passes usually cost around $84 for access to all state parks.