Eleven Mile Canyon and Eleven Mile State Park make up a tucked-away paradise along the South Platte River, and it's a recreational heaven for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Eleven Mile Canyon is a recreation area managed by the U.S. Forest Service, located just beneath the dam of the Eleven Mile Reservoir near Lake George, in the southeast corner of South Park.
What Makes It Great
The canyon is reached on a narrow gravel road that was a railroad line in the past. The canyon holds the sparkling waters of the South Platte River, and features challenges for intermediate and expert kayakers, with short stretches suitable for floating. It’s a favorite spot for anglers drawn to the Gold Medal fishing, and has several campgrounds and picnic areas as well. Eleven Mile Reservoir is the centerpiece of Eleven Mile State Park. It provides great fishing and flat water paddling opportunities.
A part of the Denver Water Department’s water holdings, the waters of Eleven Mile Reservoir are cold and windswept, and they cover almost 3,400 acres. The reservoir is known for its fishing riches, with kokanee salmon, trout and pike. Motorized boats are allowed at the reservoir, and it can be extremely windy, so beginners have to be aware of the possibility of rougher water. But that windswept landscape that seems to stretch to the horizon is also what makes this place addicting.
Nine campgrounds are scattered around the massive reservoir. Its wide-open views make it a great camping spot for bird-watchers and stargazers. For those who want to get away from the busy campgrounds, there are also 25 secluded backcountry sites for those who want to stay overnight.
Five miles of trails include the Black Bear Trail, a 0.6-mile path that leads to these backcountry sites (also popular among boaters who reach the camping area from the water).
Who is Going to Love It
Motorized boaters share the reservoir with non-motorized, so there is often a mix of sailboats, canoes, sea kayaks here. In the winter, windsurfing and ice boating are popular here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to the town of Lake George. For Eleven Mile Canyon, turn left at the sign in the middle of town. Follow the signs into the canyon.
For Eleven Mile State Park and reservoir, stay on U.S. 24 for one mile west of Lake George, then turn left on County Road 90. Drive six miles to County Road 92, five miles to the park entrance.
The reservoir is closed to boating from one-half hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise each day.
Life jackets are required for everyone under the age of 13.
Boat inspections for invasive species are required on all trailered vessels that enter the park.