Williams Fork Reservoir

Trailered boats
The east boat ramp will open for the 2017 season Saturday, May 13. See hours.

Camping at Williams Fork
Williams Fork Reservoir is popular with campers.

Owned and Operated by Denver Water
Recreation Manager: Denver Water
Reservations: Not Accepted
Elevation: 7,814 feet (2,381 meters) — top of dam
Capacity: 96,822 acre feet (one acre foot=325,851 gallons)
Arapaho National Forest: 970-887-4100
Bureau of Land Management: 970-724-3000
Colorado Parks and Wildlife: 303-291-7227
U.S. Forest Service: 719-545-8737


Completed in 1959, Williams Fork Dam & Power Plant sends water and electricity to the Western Slope when Denver diverts water to the city. Standing 217 feet above the Williams Fork River streambed, the dam backs up a reservoir of nearly 97,000 acre feet of water, and the power plant contains a 3,158-kilowatt generator. Williams Fork Reservoir’s surface area is 1,860 acres with a shoreline of 15.8 miles.


  • From Denver take Interstate 70 to the Highway 40 (Empire) exit
  • Take Highway 40 past Empire, over Berthoud Pass, through Winter Park, Fraser, Tabernash, Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs until you reach the town of Parshall
  • At Parshall turn left (south) on Route 3; follow the road to the Williams Fork entrance

Seasonal Information

  • Open year round but services are limited
    • No drinking water on site, we recommend bringing your own.
    • Fire wood is scarce, we recommend bringing your own.
  • Snagging kokanee runs from Sept. 1 - Dec. 31. Check PDF document wildlife regulations for bag limits.

Recreation Opportunities

PDF document Map

Overview of available activities

Motor Boating

Public boat ramp located at the east side campground. Effective May 13, the east boat ramp’s hours of operation are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

All trailered boats must be inspected for aquatic nuisance species before entering the water. Only the east boat ramp can be used to launch motorized boats.

The reservoir is full at elevation 7,811 feet. The boat ramp is unusable for most motorized craft when the water elevation is 7,790 feet or less.

Most current water elevations at Williams Fork.

Small Water Craft
small watercraft



Portable crafts allowed include kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts.

Only the west boat ramp may be used to launch small, car-top carried boats. Ramp is closed from one half-hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise daily.

Wind Surfing
Windsurfing (sailboarding) permitted with full wet or dry suits.
Reservoir stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (also see stocking reports and PDF document fishery survey summary). Northern pike 26 - 34 inches must be returned to water immediately.
Ice Fishing
ice fishing
Ice fishing when conditions permit. Denver Water does not monitor ice conditions and those entering onto the ice should be aware of changing ice conditions and proceed at their own risk.
The majority of camp sites are set-up for trailer or RV camping. There are some tent camping sites on the peninsula and east side camping grounds.

Big Game Hunting
hunting: big game

Fowl Hunting
hunting: fowl

Big game hunting allowed in the area designated on the PDF document map, but not within the “safe zones.”

Waterfowl hunting also is allowed within designated boundaries on the PDF document map strictly in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

The inlet picnic area is for day use ONLY. No overnight camping is permitted on this site.

Note: Water contact sports such as swimming, wading, scuba diving or other water activities are prohibited.

Other rules and regulations.