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UPDATED JULY 14, 2021 –

Here is where you can buy the SWA Pass online. Click on “State Wildlife Area Pass.”

A Colorado State Wildlife Area (SWA) Pass will, in 2021, be required to travel a tiny fraction of The Colorado Trail (CT). Fishing or hunting license okay too. 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 SWA, one and the same as the Clear Creek Reservoir Campground. (The CTF knows of no detour, in part because of private lands.) It will impact CT hikers and horsemen, but likely not many cyclists because most diverge on the Collegiate Peaks 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 an SWA Pass (or, alternatively, a valid fishing or hunting license) or they’ll risk being fined, typically $100.

The least expensive approach to this is a one-day SWA Pass, carefully purchased to be valid the day you’ll pass through the SWA. The one-day pass is $9.00. It will be easiest to buy one online. Begin here and click on “State Wildlife Area Pass.”

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.) After purchasing and while you still have cell signal, take a screen shot of the purchase confirmation showing your name, the pass 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 and may also attempt to sell this SWA Pass, they have had trouble with the required equipment and materials. We think buying the pass online is the way to go.

This SWA Pass (or valid fishing or hunting license) requirement is newly revised and will be in effect this 2021 Trail season. It was instituted by Wildlife authorities to help with costs of administrating their hundreds of 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.

Given our careful review of this regulation, it seems clear and highly unlikely that the CTF could gain any exemption for CT travelers.

We will post updates on

News Release via Colorado Parks & Wildlife

State Wildlife Areas FAQ

Clear Creek Reservoir SWA via Colorado Parks & Wildlife