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Some 147 years ago, in 1876, Colorado became the 38th state in the Union. Coming into the Union exactly 100 years after the 1776 Declaration of Independence, we earned our motto, “The Centennial State.”

In celebration of Colorado’s birthday, all Colorado state parks are free to visit on Monday, Aug. 7, courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

The state legislature created Colorado Day to mark the anniversary of statehood, granted in 1876 by President Ulysses S. Grant. The state recognizes this annual holiday on the first of the month, and state parks celebrate the occasion with free entrance on the first Monday of August.

This free entry day provides a chance to experience Colorado state parks and the diverse landscapes they showcase. All other park fees remain in effect, including camping reservations, boat and off-highway vehicle registrations, and hunting and fishing licenses.

To help plan an adventure, use the CPW Park Finder Tool to find a Colorado state park map and discover what outdoor activities are available at each park. Examples of activities include:

Boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming
Wildflower viewing and birdwatching
Picnicking and stargazing
Hiking, horseback riding, biking, and rock climbing
Outdoor accessibility programs

CPW encourages state park visitors to act as stewards of the state’s land, wildlife and water by balancing outdoor recreation with mindful conservation. Below are a few outdoor tips on how to recreate responsibly.

Know Before You Go: Plan your outdoor adventure based on the weather forecast and your skill level.

Download the Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) app to discover Colorado’s expansive network of trails. If the area you want to explore has bad weather or appears too complicated, help yourself and our outdoor first responders by changing your outdoor plan to avoid hazardous conditions.

Be Safe on the Water. Wear a life jacket. Accidents on the water happen fast. Dress accordingly. Although the weather may be hot, the water is cold.

Trash the Trash. Pack it in, pack it out. Whatever you bring into the outdoors, take it out with you.

Don’t leave a pet waste baggie on the trail.

A lot has changed in 147 years — but Colorado remains one of the most beautiful states in the country. This is the state’s invitation to get out there and enjoy it.