John Martin is a huge lake located 17 miles east of Las Animas. It is one of the largest reservoirs in Colorado and is known for its excellent fishing and watersport activities. The park provides recreational opportunities for visitors including camping, fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, wildlife viewing and hiking. The shoreline is one of the few remaining nesting areas in Colorado for the threatened Piping Plover and the endangered Interior Least Tern. During the winter months, Bald Eagles winter here and can be seen throughout the area, especially the large trees at the Lake Hasty Campground.
For the angler, Walleye, Saugeye, Bass (largemouth, smallmouth and white) Crappie, Muskie, Wiper, Catfish, Perch and Bluegill abound. Lake Hasty, just below the dam, is stocked in the spring and fall with Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout, which can be fished from the shore around the lake.
Picnic sites are located throughout the park and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Picnic tables and grills located in both the Point and Lake Hasty campgrounds are reserved for registered campers. Group picnic facilities require reservations, which can be obtained by calling 719.829.1801.
There are 213 campsites, which can accommodate recreational vehicles, trailers and tents. Each campsite has a picnic table and fire ring. The Lake Hasty Campground, located below the dam, provides plentiful shade with large trees and is open year-round. The 109 campsites have electrical hook-ups and modern facilities including centrally located water hydrants, coin operated showers, laundry facilities, and flush toilets. A dump station is located across from the Lake Hasty entrance. Any waste or sewage (including dish water) must go into the dump station. The Point Campground, located on the north shore, sits on a ridge overlooking John Martin Reservoir. No electricity, water or shade is available, but the views of the reservoir and surrounding landscape are exceptional. Vault toilets are available and The Point Campground is closed during the winter.
The 4.5 mile Red Shin Hiking Trail begins below the dam near the stilling basin and circles the Lake Hasty area through short-grass prairie and wetland environments. The trail then proceeds to the Santa Fe Trail marker on the north shore of John Martin Reservoir, passing historic canals, Native American rock art and the Prowers-Hudnall Ranch. Along the trail you may see antelope, mule deer, white-tail deer, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, wild turkey, prairie dogs, snakes and lizards.
Swimming is at your own risk and permitted in posted areas only. No lifeguards are provided and swimmers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
John Martin Reservoir is open to all types of boating. Lake Hasty is limited to hand-propelled craft, sailboats and boats with electric motors. Boaters must observe Colorado boating statutes and regulations, which are available in brochure form at the park. Certain parts of the lake are closed to boating at various times of the year, so please observe all postings.