DENVER (KDVR) — From car lines to covered waterfronts, waves of people have the hots for Colorado state parks and the trend is not cooling down post-pandemic.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers dug through monthly park visitation data over the past four years to compare changes in crowds for each July. 

Northeast region state parks (Visitations in July)2019202020212022
Barr Lake 23,42029,93226,07623,457
Chatfield 269,333403,657280,339292,384
Cherry Creek 185,742248,416380,673423,835
Eldorado Canyon 55,70976,36997,14961,978
Golden Gate Canyon97,659250,576210,610197,318
*Eldorado Canyon started a parking reservation system in July 2022. Also started shuttle service in 2020

“That increase in visitations we’re seeing in all of our parks, that means that our bathrooms are getting more use, we have more trash and our picnic areas or campsites could get overused, and then we don’t have any grass,” Barr Lake State Park Manager Michelle Seubert said. “We like to say that our parks sometimes are over loved and we have to make sure that we’re taking care of them.” 

Seubert told FOX31 that the state park system is working on maintaining a balance of letting more people enjoy the parks while preserving what people love about them.

“We really have to look at protecting the natural resources, and for instance, Eldorado Canyon State Park, they have a reservation system on the weekends now,” Seubert said.

Eldorado Canyon started a shuttle service in 2020 and visitation data showed the number of people coming to the park increased the following July to 97,149 visitors. Last month when the reservation system started, numbers dipped down to 61,978.

“It’s good for the safety of our visitors as well as protecting and not overusing our resources,” Seubert said.

At Barr Lake, there’s no reservation system at this time, but Seubert said her team keeps a close eye on parking spaces to protect the land and people visiting.

“We have so many parking spaces and then we’re full and so we have to manage to that,” Seubert said. “Sometimes there’s a line or we have to turn people away.”

To avoid getting turned away, Seubert suggests visiting more populated parks on weekdays and evenings.