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Williams Fork Reservoir

A peaceful, secluded place to play

Completed in 1959, Williams Fork Dam and its power plant send water and electricity to the West Slope when Denver diverts water. 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 Dam & Power
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Facts on 'The Fork'

96,822

capacity in acre-feet

7,814

elevation at top of dam in feet

1,860

surface acres on reservoir

15.8

miles of shoreline

% full

40.0180057, -106.224649

Recreation notes

Boating: Launch motorized boats via the east ramp, which is unusable for most motorized craft when the water elevation is below 7,790 feet. Launch small, car-top carried boats via the west ramp, which is closed one half-hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise.

Small watercraft: Portable crafts allowed include kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts.

Camping: Majority of sites are for trailer or RV camping. There are some tent sites on the peninsula and east side campgrounds.

Fishing: Reservoir stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Hunting: Big game hunting allowed in designated areas, but not within the “safe zones.” Waterfowl hunting also is allowed within designated boundaries, strictly in accordance with applicable federal, state and local regulations. Check our printable hunting access map.

Limited services: No drinking water on-site; firewood is scarce. Consider bringing your own.

Directions

  • 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.

Rules and regulations

Williams Fork: General rules and regulations

  • State traffic and game laws apply unless otherwise specified.
  • Day use areas: parking for fishing and reservoir access. Designated parking along south and west sides of reservoir. Overnight parking prohibited.
  • Motor vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking areas. Prohibited: off-road vehicles, snowmobiling.
  • It is unlawful to use, light, or ignite fireworks or explosives of any type.
  • Discharging firearms is prohibited, except when hunting.
  • A permit is required for any special event.
  • Domestic animals shall be kept on leash or lead and under human physical control at all times. Animal waste shall be removed immediately. Pets are not permitted to enter the water.

Williams Fork: Boating regulations

  • 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 west boat ramp is reserved for launching of small, car-top carried boats (kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts). Ramp is closed from one half-hour after sunset to one half-hour before sunrise.
  • PFDs (personal flotation devices) must be worn at all times by children 13 years and under.
  • Toilet facilities on any vessel must be self-contained.
  • Permanent boat storage is prohibited.
  • It is unlawful to operate a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Williams Fork: Camping regulations

  • Prohibited: Leaving camper, trailer, pitched tent or motor vehicle unattended for more than 24 hours; overnight camping in the inlet.
  • Camping is restricted to a period of not more than 14 days. Following 14-day period, person(s) may not relocate within area for seven days.
  • Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Williams Fork: Fishing regulations

  • See Colorado Parks and Wildlife regulations for: bag/possession limits on trout and other species; kokanee salmon and northern pike snagging.
  • Ice fishing when conditions permit. Denver Water does not monitor ice conditions and those entering onto the ice should be aware of changing conditions and proceed at their own risk.

Activities

Bicycling

Bicycling

Big Game Hunting

Big Game Hunting

Camping

Camping

Canoeing

Canoeing

Fishing

Fishing

Fowl Hunting

Fowl Hunting

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing

Kayaking

Kayaking

Motorboating

Motorboating

Picnicking

Picnicking

Scenic Overview

Scenic Overview

Small Watercraft

Small Watercraft

Wind Surfing

Wind Surfing

Seasons and hours

Open year-round

Motorized boating: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Oct. 30, 2017

Snagging kokanee: Sept. 1 to Dec. 31

Contact

Denver Water (owner, operator, recreation manager): 303-893-2444

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

Reservations: Not accepted