The Santa Maria Reservoir sits at 9,488 in the Rio Grande National Forest, near Creede, Colorado. The 535 acre alpine lake can be accessed via Forest Roads 309 & 310 off of Highway 149 in Mineral County. Wildflowers, wildlife, and mountain vistas make the area near the Santa Maria Reservoir for quick or overnight stops in southwest Colorado.
Santa Maria Reservoir History
The Santa Maria Reservoir Dam was constructed in the early 1900’s as a response to the area’s increasing water demand. Located just northeast of the Rio Grande Reservoir, the Santa Maria Reservoir is fed by Clear Creek and distributes water to local stakeholders for irrigation.
Activities near the Santa Maria Reservoir
There are no recreational facilities available at the Santa Maria Reservoir. However, there are a few ways to enjoy the alpine views while you are there. The North Clear Creek Falls Observation Site is a great place to stop, stretch your legs and hike to the scenic waterfalls. There is a parking area with bathrooms. There’s also a myriad of recreational activities in the surrounding Rio Grande National Forest.
Camping: Just off of the highway, the National Forest Service maintains the Bristol Head, North Clear Creek, and Silver Thread Campgrounds. Each campsite requires an overnight fee, with a stay limit of 14 days. Vault toilets and drinking water are available. Sites are first come first served, no reservations can be made.
There are also a few dispersed campsites below the Santa Maria Reservoir in the valley leading to Seepage Lake. These can be accessed with a 4×4 vehicle.
Snowmobiling and Skiing: For the most part, the Santa Maria Reservoir area is only enjoyed occasionally in the summer, as it is located next to many other reservoirs and scenic areas with more recreational facilities. With that said, when the snow falls, the Forest Roads off of Highway 149 to Santa Maria Reservoir become popular snowmobiling and cross country skiing routes. The area is very scenic, as it is surrounded by towering mountain peaks.
Address: Forest Road 509, Creede, CO, 81130
Season: May to September
Fees: Campground Fees
Maps: Topography Map