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Horsetooth Reservoir

Six and one-half miles of water beckon visitors to come out and play! Surrounded by 1,900 acres of public lands, this reservoir has it all: fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing, and water skiing.

As part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to divert water from the west slope to the east slope for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower generation, the reservoir is jointly operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District who manage water levels for irrigation, municipal, and industry use. Larimer County manages recreation.

Horsetooth Reservoir requires entrance and camping permits, and is open year round. It's located west of Fort Collins, Colorado, at an elevation of 5,420 feet.

General Regulations

For specifics, ask a ranger for a copy of the Regulations Brochure.
  • Life preservers of the appropriate sizing are required for each person on a boat, and must be worn by children at all times. In addition, a Type IV throwable PFD is required on boats longer than 16 feet.
  • Boat travel direction - counter clockwise.
  • An observer (in addition to the driver) must be on the boat during water-skiing activity.
  • Swimming is prohibited except at swim beaches. Days & hours of operation may vary. Call 970-619-4570 for current hours.
  • Cliff diving or jumping in the water is extremely dangerous and prohibited in all areas.
  • Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Collection of firewood, including cutting of trees and branches, is not allowed.
  • Firearms or fireworks are prohibited.
  • Glass containers are not allowed.
  • Public consumption of alcohol above 3.2% is prohibited (no kegs allowed).
  • Dogs must be on leashes not longer than 10 feet at all times. Dogs are not allowed at the swim beach.
  • Due to Homeland Security restrictions, no recreation activity is allowed on dams or within 100 feet of dams when on land.

Horsetooth Reservoir is getting
a new front door!

Please visit our Online Survey where, until April 15th 2015, we are providing access to design documents and collecting public comment on the master plan.

The remaining projects from the 2007 Larimer County Parks Master Plan include an administrative building and maintenance building at South Bay of Horsetooth Reservoir. This open house will show the proposed location and draft design concepts. Please visit our website or contact me with any questions or concerns - we hope to see you at the public open house.

For More Info, Contact:
Mark Caughlan, Horsetooth District Manager
Larimer County Department of Natural Resources
(970) 498-5600

Looking across the Reservoir [Photo: Staff] Camping at South Bay [Photo: Harry Strharsky] A lazy afternoon [Photo: Harry Strharsky] View from camper cabin at South Bay [Photo: Harry Strharsky] Enjoying the view [Photo: Gregory Mayse] Sunlight on Horsetooth [Photo: Jim Disney] New Reserverable Group Use Pavilion [Photo: Gary Buffington] Getting Hitched at Group Use Pavilion [Photo: Charlie Johnson]

More Info






Park Entrance Permits


Water Levels

Tips and Info

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