ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado State Parks are seeing a jump in visitors this holiday weekend. It’s the same at Rocky Mountain National Park where dozens of vehicles waited to get into the park.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say those close to Denver, like Chatfield and Cherry Creek, both hit capacity before noon on Independence Day.

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Lynn Metcalf and her family spent the afternoon at the swim beach at Cherry creek State Park.

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“Plans were really just to hang out on the beach we brought the kayaks so were taking turns going out on the kayak,” she said.

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“It’s incredibly easy to get here we bought standup paddle boards about a month ago so we were like this is great,” another visitor told CBS4’s Karen Morfitt.

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The Fourth of July holiday is one of the busiest and Colorado parks and wildlife spokesperson Rebecca Ferrell says that this year parks are filling up fast.

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“When a park reaches, capacity, which is really based on what parking is available what we then end up having to do, is a one in and one out situation,” she said.

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Ferrell shared tips for those considering a visit over the weekend:

  • People should plan to arrive at the parks early this weekend – if you can be there by 8 or 9 a.m., your odds of getting a preferred spot or launching your boat are going to be better when you arrive as early as you can.
  • Be patient with staff and other visitors – So many Coloradans are finding ways to enjoy Colorado and live life outside over a long holiday weekend, and we want you to come in and have an enjoyable time. But know that it WILL be busy, so have some soft drinks and snacks or a backup plan if you have to wait to enter!
  • Expect some increased patrol activities – Operation Dry Water is in effect all weekend, so park rangers will be watching for boating under the influence and checking in to ensure boaters have proper safety equipment
  • If you have more flexible plans, arrive later in the afternoon – the crowds start to thin a bit, summer storms may have already moved through and the fish are biting.

Whether you are stuck at the entrance or breeze on through one thing is sure, once you are in, it is worth it.

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“We’ve already been here twice and we just the girls love and we’ll be coming here more for sure,” Metcalf said.

Karen Morfitt

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