The Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area in Lake George, Colorado is a picturesque outdoor area below the dam of the Eleven Mile Reservoir. It is known for its natural beauty, serene environment, and recreational activities, especially fishing and climbing.
Driving the narrow, dirt road that passes through the canyon, you might not realize you were driving on a piece of history. This particular road was once the Colorado Midland Railroad, long before the dam and reservoir were built. The Elevenmile Canyon Reservoir grows wild with grass and shrubs, while the rest of the canyon shelters visitors with lush forests and as they pass over rocky terrain.
Keep following the road, and you’ll discover that Eleven Mile Canyon traverses the plain of the South Platte River. The river hurtles towards the rocky canyon floor from high above, creating dramatic views for visitors of all ages.
Eleven Mile Canyon is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts including families looking for a getaway, large groups, and solo travelers. Some of the most popular activities within the park include:
Camping: There are 4 campgrounds located within the park: Cove Campground, Riverside Campground, Spillway Campground, and Springer Gulch Campground. Reservations are required. Dispersed camping is not permitted anywhere in the park.
Read about the Camping near Lake George, around Eleven Mile Reservoir.
Climbing: An elevation of 8500 feet takes visitors from the bottom of the canyon to the top of the South Platte River. Experienced climbers can select from trad and sports routes that include moderate to hardman. Low-angle domes are found on select routes.
Picnicking: There are 4 specified picnic areas within the park: Eleven Mile, Idlewild, Messenger Gulch, and O’Brien Gulch. These areas are maintained by the park and offer family-friendly recreation.
Hiking: Spend the day hiking the Hard Rock Interpretive Trail or Overlook Trail. Both trails are on the shorter side and accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. Those looking for something more challenging can explore a range of trails within the area.
Fishing: A popular fishing destination, the Canyon holds rainbow, brown, cutthroat, kokanee, and pike. Fly fishing is also popular here. Throw your line out from the shore, or enjoy some quiet time on your boat.
Other activities in the Canyon include:
- Winter iceboating
- Nature photography
Admission, Hours & Getting There
The Eleven Mile Canyon Recreational Area is located off of County Road 96 in Lake George, off of US Highway 24. After getting off on County Road 96, travel 2 miles until you see the fork in the road. Veer right, and it will lead you into the canyon.
The park’s summer office hours are from Friday to Tuesday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. It is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays, however, the Park itself is open 24 hours a day to hunters and fishers. All other activities are restricted from 6 am to 10 pm. Staff are on hand at the park entrance during seasonal operating hours and can answer questions.
During off-season and closed hours, a self-service station is available to visitors. There is a per-vehicle fee for admittance to the park. The fee covers day use only and varies according to vehicle type. Annual passes are available. Government and military training vehicles are not required to pay the fee.
The Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area is open year-round, though services are limited during the winter months, when snow and ice may make roads and areas inaccessible and dangerous.
Address: US Highway 24, Lake George, CO 81008