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Lake Nighthorse opens Friday for 2022 season

Motorized craft will not be allowed on the water until May
Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area will open for its 2022 season on Friday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Residents ready for spring can bust out their paddleboards and other nonmotorized crafts on Friday, when Lake Nighthorse Recreation Area opens for its 2022 season.

The lake is entering its fifth season for recreational use. Through May 8, Lake Nighthorse will be open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Daily operations will begin May 13, and motorized recreation begins May 15.

“Already, it has become a favorite destination for locals and visitors,” said Amy Schwarzbach, natural resources manager. “We look forward to another fantastic season.”

Last year, Lake Nighthorse saw a 14% increase over 2020 in recreation use for a total of 107,000 visitors.

Last year was the first full season residents and tourists were able to use the beach area that was constructed during summer 2020.

A 180-foot-tall floating play area known as a Wibit was added last year. Additionally, a launch ramp for paddleboards and canoes was added in 2021. Schwarzbach said the Wibit won’t be out on the water until June when lake warms.

The Wibit play area at Lake Nighthorse’s Aqua Park at the swim beach will return in early June when the water temperature is warmer. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Schwarzbach said there’s nothing new at the recreation area for the start of the season, but in the coming months Durango Parks and Recreation will be working on an upgraded entrance station.

“The big plan and heavy lifting this year will be rearranging the flow of traffic to the entrance,” she said.

Schwarzbach said fishing is a big recreational draw during early spring at the lake.

“The kokanee salmon like the cooler temperatures so they’ll be more near the surface of the water and easier to catch,” she said.