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Horsetooth Reservoir




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General Information

Description - Located in the foothills west of Fort Collins at an elevation of 5,430 feet, Horsetooth Reservoir is 1,900 acres of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land. It is popular for fishing, boating, water-skiing, and camping. This 6.5-mile reservoir is open year round and is a part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The purpose of this water project is to divert water from the west slope to the east slope for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower generation. The Bureau of Reclamation is solely responsible for power generation. The agencies jointly manage water levels for irrigation, municipal, and industry use.

Attractions - Developments include 4 campgrounds, 111 campsites, and 7 boat-launch ramps. A concession-operated public marina is located at the Inlet Bay area. Concession operated for members only (Sail and Saddle Club and restaurant) is located on the east shore. A developed public swim beach located on the west side of the lake. A restaurant available at the south end of the lake. Access good. Total water surface available for recreation is approximately 1,899 surface acres.

Recreation - Recreation is managed by Larimer County Natural Resources. Park Entrance Permits and Camping Fees are required. Primary recreation activities include fishing, power boating, and camping. Primary sport fish include rainbow trout, largemouth bass, and walleye. Facilities are closed in winter because of ice and snow conditions.

Climate - The climate in Colorado varies tremendously from hot dusty summer days to frigidly cold winter nights. Colorado is known for its thunderstorms which form over the Rocky Mountains and then head across the eastern plains, often reaching 10,000 feet or more in height. Lightening is a serious threat, particularly on mountain peaks, lakes and open fields. Summertime temperatures routinely reach 90 to 100 degrees on the plains and the 70 - 80 degrees in the mountains. Cool weather is always possible at night throughout Colorado, particularly at higher elevations. It is not uncommon to need both shorts and a jacket on the same day.

Location - Off county road about 5 miles west of Fort Collins. A map is available above on this wildernet.com page.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Bob (Aurora, Co)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Horsetooth is back! We had a wonderfull experience and the water levels were great! Highly recommend any comments before the refill are not applicable. This is the nicest place to boat in COLORADO!!!

Filed By: Stacey (Denver, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I've been going to Horsetooth since I was a kid. I learned how to ski there. It is definitly the watersports hot spot. If you are looking for a queit place to relax and vacation, try Carter Lake or the Le Cache Poudre River, Horsetooth is more for the watertoys and fishing. They do have quet campgrounds near the marina that may be more suitable for you quiet folks.

Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: Horsetooth Lake is currently drained for Dam maintenance, normally it is above average quality as far as man made lakes go. The biggest flaw at Horsetooth lake is that it is managed primarily for gas powered recreation. If you like to paddle or swim find another lake or keep bothering the Park magagers to provide access for the rest of us. http://www.co.larimer.co.us/parks/ Maybe if they hear from enough people who don't need to burn gas to have fun they'll make room for us too. It's a big lake - even 10% would be 180 acres. As for the rest of the park, there is excellent bouldering along the East shore, and in nearby Lory State park there are great hiking trails.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended
Report: My husband,son,and I went to Horsetooth lake today & it was very terrible.I guess if you have a boat or waverunner it was be alright,but most people dont have either.Even if I had a boat I would want a nice beach.I can't believe such a big,pretty lake has NO good places to sit on the beach and swim.There is nothing but mud,weeds,and stinky dogs.Whats wrong with the people that are supposed to be making it a fun place to go.Clean it up!Make a sandy beach!Make areas where there's no dogs!It's very sad they let such a nice lake go to waste.I would recommend never going there.


More Information

Contact Information:
Horsetooth Reservoir, Larimer county Parks Department, 1800 S. County Rd. 31 , Loveland, CO, 80537, Phone: 970-679-4570
, www.parksoffice@co.larimer.co.us

Additional Information:
Colorado Lakes & Reservoirs - The lakes and reservoirs included in this list range from small mountain lakes surrounded by snow capped peaks, to large reservoirs with beaches and boating facilities.

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