Rampart Reservoir is a 500-surface-acre lake northwest of Colorado Springs. It’s a locals’ favorite for fishing, camping, hiking and mountain biking, and it’s also a stunning destination for flat-water kayaking and canoeing.
Rampart Reservoir is a 500-surface-acre lake northwest of Colorado Springs. It’s a locals’ favorite for fishing, camping, hiking and mountain biking, and it’s also a stunning destination for flat-water kayaking and canoeing. Motorized boats are allowed, but they must be operated at speeds that don’t create a whitewater wake. This is one of the most scenic areas in a place where scenic areas are plentiful.
What Makes It Great
Rampart Reservoir is a cold, deep body of water that features dozens of hidden coves. It’s a perfect place to perfect your flat-water boating skills. Many anglers have discovered the joys of fishing from their sea kayaks here; canoes are often seen reflected in the still waters, and we’ve spotted kayakers working on their techniques in some of the narrow coves.
The frigid water shimmers, and the flank of Pikes Peak is the backdrop for a day of paddling. The reservoir is part of the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area, thousands of acres of national forest to the northwest of Colorado Springs. The area features two popular campgrounds; a deep, cold reservoir covering 400 acres, and miles of trails. The most popular trail, Rainbow Gulch, provides the perfect entry point for the reservoir.
Part of the beauty of Rampart is the drive here. If you enter from the Woodland Park side, you’ll find yourself surrounded by high-altitude pastures, with the most stunning views of Pikes Peak you will find. Stop at a pull-out and gaze at the massif - its cliffs, valleys, forested ridges and even the Pikes Peak Highway are visible from this angle. Once you reach the reservoir, plan on finding a sunny slope for lunch. The reservoir water glitters in the summer months, and in the winter, ice booms and cracks like a symphony.
Who is Going to Love It
Because this is a wakeless boating area, it is quiet and peaceful. Boaters only need to worry about one thing – the weather. Storms can move in quickly here.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Rampart Reservoir from I-25 in Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Woodland Park. Turn right on Baldwin Street and drive out of town (road becomes Rampart Range Road). When you reach a Y, turn right; when the pavement ends, turn right again. Follow this road to an intersection – the road to the reservoir is paved from this point on. The other fork is unpaved, and leads back down to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. You can reach Rampart from Colorado Springs on this road, but it’s not maintained well and is rocky and very slow.
The recreation area is open year round. The reservoir is open from mid-May through mid-October, depending on weather. Camping is available in the summer at Thunder Ridge and Meadow Ridge campgrounds.
Boats aren’t allowed within 500 feet of the dam and spillway.