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A license is now required to travel a tiny fraction of The Colorado Trail (CT). Here are the details.

It affects those who travel CT Segment 12 from mile 0.0 to 0.5 (part of the CT Collegiate East) as the Trail passes through the Clear Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area (SWA). It will impact CT hikers and horsemen, but likely not many cyclists because most diverge on the Collegiate Peaks Bicycle Wilderness Detour immediately before this SWA pass-through. Those affected will include thru-hikers choosing the Collegiate East as well as CT Collegiate Loop hikers. It will not affect CT travelers who do only the CT Collegiate West, as they will not encounter this SWA with the new license requirement.

CT Segment 12 travelers will need a valid fishing or hunting license or risk being fined, typically $100, though authorities indicate they’ll get more serious with fines starting in 2021.

The least expensive license is a 1-day fishing license, carefully purchased to be valid the day you’ll pass through the SWA. (Habitat stamp is not necessary.) The 1-day license for resident is $13.90 and for non-resident is $16.94. It will be easiest to buy one online via the following link.

Link to Buy Fishing License Online from Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Plan carefully to buy this online on, say, the day before you’ll be there and when you have strong enough smartphone signal strength. (For those traveling southbound, buy this when you are in or near Twin Lakes Village as trail travelers report having cell signal there. Northbounders will find cell signal in Segment 12 near Harvard Lakes and on the two high ridgetops they’ll climb.) After purchasing, take a screen shot of the purchase confirmation showing your name, license and date it’s valid. Be ready to show this to the Wildlife Officer you might encounter in CT Seg 12 mi 0.0-0.5.

Buying a license at a bricks-and-mortar store is possible but iffy. For example, though the Twin Lakes General Store normally sells fishing licenses, they don’t right now. Their machine is broken and Covid things are delaying the fix. Store owners have also warned that license purchases suffer from delays, especially during this time when constraints hinder retailers.

This SWA license requirement is brand new and became law on July 1, 2020. It was instituted by Wildlife authorities to help with costs of administrating the wildlife properties and preserving the habitats that are under increasing pressure. It affects each of the State Wildlife Areas and includes trail travelers passing through. It does not affect federal National Forest lands and does not affect Wilderness Areas.

Neither a State Parks Pass or a CORSAR Card satisfy this requirement; they are totally separate.

As the CTF studied this new regulation and contacted key authorities, it seems clear and highly unlikely that the CTF could gain any exemption for CT travelers.

This is so new to the CT. We hope this blog post is accurate and gets close to fully covering the subject. If there proves to be more, we will post updates on

News Release via Colorado Parks & Wildlife

License Requirements FAQ via Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Fees for Fishing Licenses via Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Clear Creek Reservoir SWA via Colorado Parks & Wildlife