Lake Dorothey and James M. John State Wildlife Areas, Colorado
The nearest undeveloped public land to Raton happens to be across the border in Colorado. The Lake Dorothey S.W.A. and James M. John S.W.A measure approximately 12,000 acres combined. They are shown together on this page because the boundary between the two properties is largely unmarked, making it difficult to say for certain which photos are associated with which property.
These two state wildlife areas are best known for Lake Dorothey, Fisher’s Peak (9,633‘), and abundant wildlife. Much of the area is a large basalt-capped mesa, the remnants of a lava flow that occurred 5-10 million years ago. The remainder of the property is deep forested canyons and valleys, although not as forested now as before the 2011 Track Fire.
Public access to the Lake Dorothey and James M. John Wildlife Areas is via a gravel parking area just north of Sugarite Canyon State Park. Lake Dorothey is less than a half-mile from the parking lot, and Fisher’s Peak is approximately nine miles depending on the route chosen. Access to Fisher’s Peak itself is very difficult on account of the steep bluffs that separate the peak from the larger mesa.
More information and area regulations can be found at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife websites: