About 20 miles north of Craig, Colorado, the Freeman Reservoir is a 17-acre manmade lake that is a popular Moffat County destination for fishing, hunting, and camping in the Routt National Forest. The Freeman Reservoir is incredibly scenic, nestled at approximately 8,800 feet into the Elkhead Mountains of northern Colorado.
In 1965, the Freeman Dam was constructed by Colorado Parks & Wildlife to expand the recreational opportunities in the Routt National Forest. The 485-foot dam created the Freeman Reservoir, designed to hold approximately 115 acre-feet of stored water.
Birding & Wildlife Viewing: The dense forests surrounding the Freeman Reservoir make it home to many species of wildlife including elk, moose, bear, fox, unique butterflies, and more. Bird watchers will also get their fill at the Freeman Reservoir, as a variety of jays, woodpeckers, owls, grouse, and waterfowl can be spotted in and around the lake.
Boating: Absolutely no motorized boats are permitted on the Freeman Reservoir. Instead, the cold alpine waters are usually explored by canoe, fishing float tube, or kayak.
Camping: For a small fee, visitors can stay overnight in the Freeman Reservoir Campground on a first-come, first-served basis. The National Forest Service provides potable water, vault toilets, and trash services onsite. There are 18 primitive campsites available, with corrals and room for horse trailer parking as well.
Read about the camping near Craig and Hayden.
Fishing: Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocks the Freeman Reservoir with a variety of native trout species. Licensed anglers are permitted to fish from along the shore, or from a watercraft on the surface of the Freeman Reservoir.
Hunting: The Freeman reservoir is busiest during the early rifle season, as the area is great for both large and small game hunting. Here, the Freeman Campground is typically full, as hunters often use the well-connected campground to explore the California Park/Black Mountain area. Of course, a valid Colorado hunting license is required.
Picnicking: The Freeman Reservoir Picnic Site is located on the west side of the water, near the dam. There is a small day-use fee for cars to access and enjoy the picnic tables, fire rings, and vault toilets.
Trails: At the Freeman Reservoir, visitors can access a large number of designated non-motorized trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The reservoir is set near Black Mountain, which offers scenic views and a challenging ascent.
The Freeman Reservoir trails are well connected to the great national forest, making it easy to enjoy overnight and multi-day backpacking trips.
Address: Freeman Reservoir, Craig, CO 81625
Season: Mid June – October
Hours: 24/7 | Day-use area (6 am – 10 pm)
Fees: Entrance | Camping
Maps: Area Map (GIF)