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.
Facts on 'The Fork'
Motorboating: Launch motorized boats via the east ramp, which are subject to aquatic nuisance species inspections. Most motorized craft are unusable when the water elevation is below 7,790 feet. See current reservoir levels.
Small watercraft: Portable crafts allowed include kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts. Launch small, cartop-carried boats via the west ramp, which is closed a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise.
Camping: Majority of sites are for trailer or RV camping. There are some tent sites on the peninsula and east side campgrounds.
Fishing: Check the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Colorado Fishing guide for more information.
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 hunting access map.
Limited services: No drinking water on-site; firewood is scarce. Consider bringing your own.
- 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.
- Swimming, waterskiing, wakeboarding and other forms of water-body contact are prohibited.
- 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, cartop-carried boats (e.g., kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts). Ramp is closed from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise.
- Personal flotation devices (PFDs) must be worn at all times by children 12 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.
- Mooring or beaching vessels overnight is prohibited.
Williams Fork: Camping regulations
- Camping is only permitted in designated sites equipped with a fire ring and picnic table.
- Individual sites have a maximum occupancy limit of six people, two vehicles, two tents or one camper.
- Prohibited: Leaving camper, trailer, pitched tent or motor vehicle unattended for more than 24 hours; overnight camping in the inlet or other day use areas.
- 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
- Check the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Colorado Fishing guide for regulations: 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.