Up above Colorado Springs, the Crystal Creek Reservoir is a stunning 136-acre lake in the North Slope Recreation Area around the Pike National Forest. The lake is often simply referred to as Crystal Reservoir.
The Crystal Reservoir Visitor Center is reached approximately 5 miles after the entry to Pikes Peak Toll Road. Traveling further into the North Slope Recreation Area to the North and South Catamount reservoirs will require an additional fee. Crystal Creek Reservoir is located on the border of El Paso and Teller County and is a worthy stop for those traveling up to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Crystal Creek Reservoir History
The Crystal Creek Reservoir was dammed in 1935 to supply water for Colorado Springs and its surrounding towns. The North Slope Recreation Area was opened in 1992, allowing visitors to responsibly enjoy the alpine waters.
Today, the North Slope Recreation Area is maintained by the Colorado Division of Wildlife in conjunction with the National Forest Service. In 2019, maintenance on the North Slope Dam temporarily drained the Crystal Creek Reservoir.
Activities at Crystal Creek Reservoir
At the visitor center, a gift shop, a public restroom, and 103 parking spaces are available. From there, travelers can continue along the highway or use the reservoir as a jumping-off point for a few outdoor activities. There are additional activities within the nearby Pike National Forest.
Birding & Wildlife Viewing: Pike’s Peak is home to many unique native species that may be able to be spotted by visitors around the Crystal Creek Reservoir. In addition to waterfowl, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers, the North Slope Recreation Area is home to marmots, mule deer, bears, and bighorn sheep.
Boating: Non-motorized, carry-in boats are permitted to float on Crystal Creek Reservoir. There are no rentals available onsite and trailers are prohibited along Pikes Peak Toll Road
Fishing: Licensed fishing is permitted in the Crystal Creek Reservoir, with the visitor’s center offering bait and tackle for sale. The lake is well stocked, with easy angling for rainbow, cutthroat, lake, brown, and brook trout. Crystal Creek Reservoir is a great place for families and children to fish among panoramic alpine views. Fishing is permitted both from a boat and along the 3-mile shoreline, however, it is prohibited from the dam.
Hiking: There is a shoreline hiking trail open for foot traffic along the perimeter of the Crystal Creek Reservoir. For a more drastic journey, the Crystal Reservoir can also be reached via a hiking trail starting in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado.
Picnicking: Picnic tables and benches are available for visitors to use at no additional fee around the Crystal Creek Reservoir.
Swimming: Swimming is prohibited in Crystal Creek Reservoir.
Address: Pikes Peak Toll Rd, Cascade, CO 80809
Season: May 1st to Mid-October (3rd Sunday)
Hours: Seasonal Hours, Vehicles must exit Pikes Peak Toll Road before the designated time
Fees: Pikes Peak Toll Road Fee