Beaver Reservoir in the Fall

Classic Rocky Mountains

Encompassing 102 acres within Rio Grande County, the Beaver Creek Reservoir State Wildlife Area beckons as a captivating outdoor recreation area, renowned for its fishing, boating, picnicking, hiking and camping opportunities. Its scenic expanse features sandy beaches and rugged shores. The historic Beaver Creek Reservoir Dam, with over a century of history, holds immense importance in the water management of the San Luis Valley. In the 2010s, notable enhancements were undertaken by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, followed with regular reservoir fish stocking ever since.

Features of the Recreational Site

  • Campgrounds: Three campgrounds provide access to the reservoir. Cross Creek is closest (12 sites with tables and fireplaces; access to vault toilet). Upper Beaver Creek and Lower Beaver Creek are nearby.
  • OHV riders will enjoy the staging areas and access to nearby Cross Creek Trail.
  • Fishing: Endless reservoir banks and boating options allow anglers to cast for rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, kokanee salmon.
  • Boaters have use of a concrete boat ramp to gain access to more than 4,400 acre-feet of water. No wakes are allowed, trolling motors are okay. Canoes and float tubes are allowed. Learn More
  • Winter Recreation: South Fork's favorite sled hill is located on the upper end of the reservoir and it's a favorite location for local ice fishing.

To Acces the water at Beaver Creek Reservior State Wildlife Area:
All visitors aged 16+ are required to purchase a State Wildlife Area pass
or carry a valid Colorado hunting or fishing license!

Giant Fir Tree

Hikers of all ages will enjoy the 1/2 mile hike up Cross Creek Trail 512 on the south end of the reservoir. This trail offers a straightforward hike through picturesque meadows and into the alpine forests, leading to the Rio Grande National Forest's largest fir tree. While it doesn't rival the towering redwoods of the west coast, this tree is a distinctive marvel within Colorado. Its stunted top hints at a past encounter with lightning, adding to its allure. The trail is ideal for hiking between May and November, while winter visitors can access it with snowshoes or cross-country skis.
Photo of Giant Fir Tree courtesy of the South Fork Silver Threaders; photo by Michael David Lick

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To Get There

Go south of town on Hwy 160 and turn left on Beaver Creek Road. Follow this road for 7 miles to the Beaver Creek Reservoir. Fish, boat or just admire the scenery. Great creek fishing stretches below the dam for several miles. Continue on this road another 13 miles to Poage Lake. A short 1/4-mile hike gets you to the banks of the picturesque lake. Back-track to the turnoff, and the route also continues on to Summitville and loops back through Del Norte, for a full day’s trip.

Nearby Shaw Lake and Hunter's Lake

Depending on road conditions, you may choose to continue past Big Meadows for 3 miles to Shaw Lake. If you still have a few hours of daylight, drive an additional 11 miles to the parking area for a short walk into Hunter’s Lake. A nice 1-mile hiking trail circles the lake and gives fishermen access to the trout swimming in its waters.

Cross Creek Campground & Picnic Area Boating Site The Reservoir

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South Fork Visitor Center
28 Silverthread Lane
South Fork, Colorado 81154


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