Cheesman Reservoir

Cheesman Dam
Morning mist clears off Cheesman Reservoir.

Owned and Operated by Denver Water
Elevation: 6,842 feet (2,085 meters)  – spillway crest
Capacity: 79,064 acre feet (1 acre foot = 325,851 gallons)
Denver Water Customer Care: 303-893-2444
Colorado Parks and Wildlife: 303-291-7227


Named for Denver water pioneer Walter S. Cheesman, the dam was once the world’s tallest at 221 feet above the streambed when completed in 1905. The reservoir and related facilities were purchased in November 1918 by the Denver Water Board. Cheesman was the first reservoir of Denver's mountain storage facilities and has been designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.


  • From C-470, take U.S. 285 south about 21 miles to Pine Junction.
  • Turn left onto Jefferson County 126 and follow this road about 21.5 miles.
  • At the bottom of the last hill, the road makes a ninety-degree turn to the left. There is a large parking lot on your right.
  • The very next right turn is Forest Service Road 211.
  • Turn right and follow Forest Service Road 211 about two miles to the fork in the road.
  • Take the left fork and drive another mile to the parking lot at the main entrance gate to Cheesman Reservoir.

Seasonal Information

Closed Oct. 1 – April 30.

Operating Hours

Half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset

Special Events

Must be approved by Denver Water.

Recreation Opportunities

Overview of available activities

Fishing is allowed only on the Goose Creek Arm.
Scenic Overview
scenic overview

The upper and lower Gill Trail provides scenic views of the reservoir.

Parking for the trailhead is located 200 yards north of the main parking for the reservoir.

Note: Water contact sports such as swimming, water skiing, wading and scuba diving are prohibited.

Other rules and regulations.