Tucked away in the La Sal Mountains of northwest Montrose County, the Buckeye Reservoir is a 109 surface-acre lake north of Paradox, Colorado. At 7,600 feet above sea level, the Buckeye Reservoir offers scenic camping and fishing in a seldom-seen part of the state, directly next to the Utah border.
The Buckeye Reservoir is managed by the Manti-La Sal National Forest and is roughly a 90-minute drive from Moab, Utah. Around the reservoir, the US Forest Service maintains the day-use and campground facilities in the Buckeye Recreation Area. To reach the Buckeye Reservoir, motorists must travel on steep gravel roads, so access may be dangerous in severe weather conditions.
Buckeye Reservoir History
The Buckeye Reservoir was developed by the Paradox Canal and Reservoir company, and its water is still irrigated to the Paradox, CO area today. Because of this, water levels vary in the Buckeye Reservoir throughout the year.
Activities at Buckeye Reservoir
Birding: The ponderosa pines and high-elevation waters attract many bird species to the Buckeye Reservoir, including crossbills, nuthatches, warblers, waterfowl, and more.
Boating: Small boats are permitted for wakeless travel on the Buckeye Reservoir with a 5 HP motor limit. Self-propelled watercrafts such as kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards are also quite popular here. There is a boat ramp near the campground for free public use.
Camping: The Pioneer Campground is located on the north side of the Buckeye Reservoir. The 30 designated campsites can be reserved in advance, each of which contains a picnic table, fire ring, grill, and access to restrooms. Spots are available for a small overnight fee and there is room for both small RVs and trailers.
Read about the camping near Naturita, Norwood, Nucla and Gateway.
Fishing: Fishing is very popular at the Buckeye Reservoir and a valid Colorado fishing license is required (despite the Manti-La Sal National Forest being primarily in Utah). The Buckeye Reservoir is stocked annually by Colorado Parks and Wildlife with a variety of rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout.
Hunting: The Buckeye Recreation Area is a popular basecamp for hunting, with licensed big game opportunities for deer, elk, and even black bears.
Trails: Beyond the Buckeye Reservoir, the La Sal Mountains offer a tremendous network of trails that are primarily enjoyed by hikers, mountain bikers, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles. There is also a scenic loop trail around the reservoir which offers great views of the area’s scenery.
Swimming: Swimming is prohibited in the Buckeye Reservoir.
Address: Buckeye Reservoir, Montrose County, Colorado 81429
Maps: Buckeye Reservoir Topo Map (link)