[Taylor Park Reservoir in Gunnison County. Photo: jaygannett] Surrounded by national forest at 9300 feet, Taylor Park Reservoir provides a big mountain playground for a range of outdoor activities. It’s located about 13 miles northeast of Almont in Gunnison County.
The Taylor Park Dam was built in 1937 to dam the Taylor River. Water sports are the main draw in Taylor Canyon. From rafting to fishing to boating, it’s all top notch here. Most access the 2000 surface acre Taylor Park Reservoir the Front Range via Cottonwood Pass in Buena Vista.
For supplies stop by the Taylor Park Trading Post, established in 1940. There are cabins for rent there, the Colorado Dream Ranch RV Park for trailer camping, the Nuggets Cafe for good eatin’, and the general store and gift shop. It’s closest enough to walk to the lake from the Trading Post.
Mountain biking is world class in this region of Colorado. It’s home to famous Doctor Park Trail, which will lead you down 6 adrenaline filled miles of descent.
Taylor Park Marina – It’s a full service marina with boat rentals, fishing equipment, camping supplies, a bait shop, liquor store and restaurant. Situated on the south side of the lake, Taylor Park Marina is open seasonally from mid May to late September. You can call ahead to the Mac-N-Gnaw Grill to order, 970-641-2922.
Half day and full day boat rentals include 20, 24 and 26 foot pontoon boats, as well as 3 hour minimum 14 and 16 foot aluminum fishing boats with motors. Reservations are encouraged during peak season.
There are both developed and primitive campsites nearby Taylor Park. You can drive up nearly any of the forest roads in the region to find free, dispersed campsites. Look for spots to pull your car over and existing sites (evidence of fire ring).
- Lakeview Campground – This popular campground resides just above the res at elevation of 9400 feet. Most of the 66 campsites provide wonderful views of the lake and Sawatch Mountains. 22 of them are accessible. There are electric hookups and dump station, but no sewage or water hookup.
Both Taylor Park Reservoir and Taylor River provide exceptional fishing opportunities. Each section of Taylor River offers a unique fishing opportunity, so you could spends day fishing different spots. Species include rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, kokanee salmon, and northern pike.
The most notorious stretch of the Taylor River is the half mile just below the dam. It’s known to have some of the biggest stream-born trout in the contiguous United States, mostly in thanks to the dam kicking back protein-rich Mysis Shrimp. It’s catch and release at this part year round. Some fish reach over 10 pounds.
There is a plethora of world class hiking in the region. Make Taylor Park Reservoir a basecamp and go exploring.
Many of the national forest trails are multi-use and open to horseback riders.
You can rent a Jeep or ATV nearby and take on a number of exciting off road challenges. Tincup Pass is a rugged 4×4 road that leads you over the Continental Divide to Nathrop, just south of Buena Vista.
Rafting the Taylor River is available seasonally through a few different outfitters. There are three main sections of varying difficulty, all below the dam. They are the Upper, Middle and Lower Taylor sections. Tours are led in the morning or afternoon.
Kayaking is also common when the conditions are good. Families with younger kids can raft the Lower section, which is the mildest. The landscape through Taylor Canyon is defined by high walls and beautiful evergreens.
There are rock climbing ascents in the summer months in different parts of Taylor Canyon.
In addition to Cottonwood Pass, which most take to access Taylor Park, and Tincup Pass, which requires a high-clearance 4×4, there is outstanding scenery in every other direction. Head south for a 30 mile drive to explore Tincup, Pitkin and Ohio City. All three former mining towns are rich in history and worthy of a visit. Total trip to Ohio City takes 1.5 hour. At Pitkin you can head over Waunita Pass, a short, but stunning drive through the forest.
Address: Almont, CO 81210
Season: Year round