At about 9,900 feet in elevation east of Steamboat Springs, the Fish Creek Reservoir is a small alpine lake located in the Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District of the Routt National Forest. To reach Fish Creek Reservoir, motorists must travel over Buffalo Pass, which means a high clearance vehicle is required.
Tucked away beside Buffalo Mountain, Fish Creek Reservoir is seldom visited, but seen as a hidden gem to those who reach the water. The lake is surrounded by towering pines, granite rock formations, and seasonal wildflowers. You’ll find all sorts of activities within the surrounding Routt National Forest.
Birding and Wildlife: Thanks to its remote nature, Fish Creek Reservoir is a great place for wildlife viewing and birding opportunities. Visitors may be able to spot moose, deer, elk, owls, jays, woodpeckers, and more in the surrounding spruce-fir forest.
Boating: Non-motorized boats are permitted on the Fish Creek Reservoir. Due to the challenging access road, kayaks, canoes, and other watercraft can usually only be brought to the reservoir on top of a car or in the bed of a truck.
Camping: Adjacent to the reservoir, the US Forest Service maintains the Granite Campground, which provides 8 first come first served campsites. Overnight stays require a small fee and there are both drive-up and walk-in sites available.
There is no potable water onsite, but toilets and trash services are provided. Campsites are basic, with nothing more than a clear area, picnic table, and fire ring.
Read about the camping near Steamboat Springs, Clark, and Oak Creek.
Fishing: With a name like Fish Creek, this reservoir attracts some anglers who are looking for a peaceful fishing spot surrounded by remote mountain scenery. Fish Creek Reservoir can be used for both fly and reel to catch the native trout species. Of course, a valid Colorado fishing license is required.
Picnicking: The Granite Day Use area requires a small fee, and provides visitors with picnic tables, lake access, restrooms, and trash services. The picnic area is open from 6 AM – 10 PM.
Trails: The Granite campground is well connected to a large trail system for exploring the national forest on foot, mountain bike, horse, or off-road vehicle. Overnight and multi-day trips are possible with ample developed and dispersed camping available nearby. You’ll need 4×4 just to reach the reservoir via the seasonal Buffalo Pass.
Address: Fish Creek Reservoir, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Season: Reservoir ( typically June – November) | Campground (late July – late October)
Hours: 24/7 | Day-use area (6 am – 10 pm)
Fees: Entrance | Camping
Maps: Topo Map