[Williams Fork Reservoir in Grand County. Photo: Jeffrey Beall] The 1,860 surface acre Williams Fork Reservoir is a water storage facility and public recreation area, owned and managed by the Denver Water Board. It’s located south of Parshall, which is just west of Hot Sulphur Springs.
The Williams Fork Dam was finished in 1959 and provides water and electricity for the Western Slope when Denver diverts water. Situated at an elevation of 7,814 feet, the dam hovers 217 feet over the Williams Fork River, which flows in and out of the lake. There are 15.8 miles of shoreline.
Water recreation is the main draw of the lake. Boating and fishing attract visitors from around Grand County and beyond. There’s also camping and a picnic area, as well as a hiking around by the lake. You can bring your pets on-leash, however they cannot wade in the water.
The reservoir allow seasonal boating, including power boats that pass an Aquatic Nuisance Species test before launch. When the lake freezes no motorized vehicles are permitted on the ice. In addition to most motorized boats, non-motorized kayaks, canoes and inflatable crafts are allowed.
There are two boat ramps to launch from, an east and west. The east is the only one where you can launch motorized boats, and the west is better for smaller car-top carried watercraft.
There are a variety of campsites at the reservoir. Most sites support RV or travel trailers. Tents are best suited for the peninsula and east side campgrounds. Drinking water is not available on-site, so bring your own. Also bring your own firewood.
The Arapaho National Forest to the southeast holds Horseshoe Campground, about 14 miles or a 23 minute drive. Take CO 3 southeast from the lake to reach the campground. There’s also dispersed camping to be found within the Arapaho National Forest.
- Horseshoe Campground – 7 non-electric campsites along the William Fork Reservoir. Each site has a tent pad, fire pit and picnic table. They can accommodate tents, RVs and travel trailers 30′ to 50′ in length. Drinking water is not available, so bring your own. There are vault toilets. Each site can host up to 8 people They are first-come, first-serve, open 5/31-10/14
The lake is open to fishing year round. Common fish species include a variety of trout, rainbow, lake and brown, as well as northern pike kokanee salmon. There are bag/possession limits for fish species, please check signs when you get there. When the lake freezes over adequately ice fishing is allowed.
There are no official hiking trails at Williams Fork Reservoir, however you’re welcome to walk by the lake. More official trails can be found in the Arapaho National Forest, located to the southeast.
Big game hunting is open seasonally in certain areas, however, never in the “safe zones”. There is also waterfowl hunting based on federal and state regulations.
Address: Parshall, CO 80468
Season: Year round
Pets: Yes, on-leash