Within the Pike National Forest, the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area is a popular outdoor recreation area located east of Woodland Park, Colorado. The area is centered around the massive Rampart Reservoir (also known as the Rampart Range Reservoir), which has a capacity of approximately 13 billion gallons of water across nearly 500 surface acres.
It is the largest reservoir in El Paso County.
Rampart Reservoir History
The Rampart Reservoir was created in 1967 when the 3,400 foot wide dam was built along West Monument Creek. The reservoir was created to supply water to the growing population in Colorado Springs and the surrounding towns.
By 1972, the reservoir filled to capacity and the area was opened for recreational use. Forty years later, the Waldo Canyon Fire caused the Rampart Reservoir to close between 2012 and 2013.
Activities at Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area
Visitors of the Rampart Reservoir are greeted with drastic views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding wilderness area. While taking in the scenery, many recreational activities can be enjoyed.
Birding and Wildlife Viewing: The lush Pike National Forest is home to many creatures that are known to frequent the Rampart Reservoir. Spending time around the water allows visitors the chance to spot bears, elk, porcupines, woodpeckers, waterfowl and more.
Boating: The Rampart Reservoir Boat Ramp is located on the east side of the water. The area can be very busy, but offers visitors a chance to put in motorized and non-motorized boats for a small day-use parking fee. Seasonal restrictions on permitted boat types may be applicable. However, it should be noted that the road to the reservoir is quite rough and may be difficult for large, towed watercraft.
Camping: The National Forest Service maintains the Thunder Ridge and Meadow Ridge campgrounds near the shores of the Rampart Reservoir. Each campground is located on the south side of the reservoir, with non-electric campsites available for an overnight fee.
Each site has access to vault toilets as well as a private picnic area, tent space, and fire ring. Minimum 2 and 3 night stays may be enforced on holidays and weekends. There are some first-come first-served sites, while other spots can be reserved ahead of time.
Fishing: Each year, Colorado Parks & Wildlife stocks Rampart Reservoir with a variety of trout, as well as the occasional muskie or splake. Anglers must possess a valid Colorado fishing license and are limited to bag and possession of 2 lake trout. Anglers are welcome to fish from a boat or in accessible areas around the reservoir, trails, and stream.
Hiking and Mountain Biking: The Rampart Reservoir trail begins on the west side of the lake and offers visitors a chance to explore the entire shoreline along a 13 mile loop. The trail and its bridges are well maintained, making the journey relatively easy for anyone looking for a short hike or an all day experience. Mountain biking is also permitted along the predominantly single track Rampart Reservoir Trail.
Hunting: Licensed hunting is permitted in the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area. Big game such as elk, deer, and pronghorn are commonly hunted in the area and throughout Pike National Forest.
Picnicking: Day use areas are available for visitors to take advantage of picnic tables, grills, and restrooms for a small fee. Notably, the Promontory Picnic Area is well maintained and spacious.
Swimming: Swimming is prohibited in the Rampart Reservoir.
Address: Rampart Range Rd, Woodland Park, CO 80921
Phone: 719-553-1404 (USFS)
Season: Year round, Parking Lot and Campground are open from Early May to Late October (Winter Access to the Reservoir via the Rainbow Gulch Trail)
Fees: Day Use and Overnight Camping Fees
Maps: Topographic Map (link)