Notice: The South Slope Recreation Area will open for the season June 15, 2023.
By receiving this highest standard of recognition, Gold Standard Sites are exemplary models, encouraging other public lands to ensure that Leave No Trace education is part of everyone’s experience when spending time outdoors. Learn more about what it means to be a Gold Standard Site here.
Official South Slope Recreation Area Information
Experience a high altitude outdoor experience this summer on the South Slope of Pikes Peak!
Season and Hours
The South Slope Recreation Area is open Thursday – Saturday from 7:30am to 3:00pm, weather permitting. Rangers will be at the gate from 7:30am to approximately 8:00am, at which time the gates will be locked as the Rangers are on patrol (approx.1 hour). If you arrive to a locked gate, please wait for the Ranger to return from patrol to gain access. Recreation users must leave by the designated closing time. The gate will be locked at 3:00pm. The opening and closing day of each season are determined by current conditions in the recreation area. Annual targeted opening date is the end of May and the closing date the end of September.
Use of the area is by permit only
There is limited parking and no access to the area will be allowed without pre-registering, permits are not available on-site. There are a limited number of vehicles and users allowed each day to this secluded, high altitude recreation area. The fee is $20 per vehicle, up to eight persons per vehicle.
Permits should be made online using the above “Register Online” button. For registration instructions please download them using the above “Registration Instructions” link.
Guests who do not have access to internet may call 719-385-7707 or 719-385-2214 for assistance. All reservations can be made a minimum of 24-hours prior to the desired use; however, assistance is only available during posted Office Business Hours of 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday - Friday. All other inquiries or questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Permits are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. If the opening of the area is delayed due to weather or other conditions, or, if other days are canceled due to severe weather or hazardous conditions, full refunds will be given.
Registrations will be available for a rolling 2-week calendar period.
Commercial Guide Activities are prohibited within the South Slope Recreation Area. Violation of this policy may result in the loss of all privileges.
Rules and Regulations
Bring plenty of water and pace yourself, especially if hiking. These are high altitude reservoirs; you must be in good physical condition to hike. Altitudes at the South Slope range from 10,500’-12,000’; altitude sickness is more common at elevations above 10,000’. Altitude sickness symptoms can be shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness and headaches. Drink fluids and rest if these symptoms occur.
Dress in layers; have rain gear and bring extra clothing. The weather can change quickly with dramatic temperature drops with rain or even snow. If thunderstorms approach, take cover immediately in your vehicle. Do not take cover under tall trees or under rock overhangs. Lightning storms are especially dangerous at or near the tree line.
General Rules and Regulations
- Plan ahead and be aware of the time. Please return to your vehicle by closing time
- Motor vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking lots.
- Parking along roadways is not allowed.
- Please pack out your trash.
- Please do not feed, chase, capture or harm wildlife.
- Please help preserve our natural features. Do not deface or remove any of the area’s flowers, rocks, trees, or historical artifacts.
- This is our drinking water. Please utilize the restrooms before using trails.
- Open fires are prohibited. Small gas grills are allowed only in the picnic shelter area next to McReynolds Reservoir.
- Stay off all dams. No fishing, hiking, biking or driving on dams is permitted.
- No Pets are allowed in the Recreation Area due to the sensitive ecosystems present in the area.
- No motorized vehicles are permitted off-road, in water or on-trails.
- No alcoholic beverages or smoking in the Recreation Area.
- No rock climbing or scrambling
- No hunting
- No fireworks
- Drone Use Prohibited
- No firewood collecting
- Please do not fish in ponds
- Commercial Guide Activities are prohibited. Violation of policy may result in loss of South Slope privileges
- E-bikes are not permitted.
Leave No Trace
Follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles
The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services department is proudly partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in order to promote environmental stewardship and safeguard the natural, cultural, and historical resources that make Colorado Springs such a fantastic place to live and visit. Follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles to help keep our parks, trails, and open spaces healthy and sustainable. Learn more at lnt.org
Plan ahead and prepare. The South Slope Recreation Area is a high altitude outdoor experience! Do you have enough water and snacks? Are you acclimated to the elevation? Did you pack your rain gear and a change of clothes? The weather can change quickly with dramatic temperature drops with rain or even snow.
Have you read up on the specific regulations for the reservoirs are allowed to fish? Always obey the limits on size and quantity of fish you are allowed to keep.
Remember to keep an eye on the time. If you are walking the shore fishing please allow yourself enough time to get back to your car and ready to leave by the 3:00 p.m. closing time
Travel on durable surfaces. Please use existing trails and access points to the Reservoirs. There are plenty of places to access the shoreline without making new trails. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent. Avoid trampling aquatic vegetation when wading. Refrain from wading in spawning areas.
Please keep your vehicles to the designated roads and parking lots.
||Dispose of waste properly. Always clean up your fishing spot remembering to pick up any discarded fishing line and tackle packaging. Leave the area better than you found it by picking up trash left by other visitors.
Avoid using lead sinkers and jigs. Wildlife may be exposed to lead poisoning by ingesting these items. If you find discarded sinkers on your trip, please help by packing them out and disposing of them safely.
If cleaning your fish on-site, pack out entrails whenever possible.
||Leave what you find.
For “catch and release,” use barbless hooks and be sure to not injure the fish. Avoid suspending fish out of water by the fishing line. Keep fish in water when handling for release and do not touch gills.
Take care not to introduce non-native species to the water source. Properly wash all equipment between fishing trips.
||Be careful with fire. Sparks and thickly vegetated areas do not mix well. Remember open fires are prohibited, but small gas grills are allowed in the designated picnic areas. Help us protect this area from wildfires.|
Respect wildlife. If you decide to keep your catch, please humanly dispatch it with a quick blow to the back of the head using a rock or similar solid object. An insulated cooler with ice blocks is the best way to get your catch home and avoid wasting it.
If you plan on cooking your catch there, please use caution as you are in bear country and they love the smell of cooking fish. Never feed wildlife.
||Be considerate of others. Practice recreational empathy! Enhance the experience of other visitors by not crowding one area – there is plenty of shoreline for everyone to wet a line. If you listen to music while you fish – consider putting in headphones to reduce noise pollution for wildlife and other anglers.|
Fishing and Boating
- Fishing is permitted at McReynolds and Mason Reservoirs with flies and lures only.
- Non-motorized boating and wading is permitted at McReynolds Reservoir.
- A valid Colorado fishing license for ages 16 and older. Children under the age of 16 may take a full daily possession limit without a fishing license.
- The possession limit is one fish 16 inches or smaller from Mason Reservoir. Catch and release only at McReynolds Reservoir.
- NO fishing at Boehmer Reservoir.
- All boaters must wear approved Coast Guard personal flotation devices.
- Due to the low water levels at McReynolds Reservoir, there is currently no boat ramp and guests may have to walk a longer distance to the shoreline
- Boats must be propelled by oars or paddles.
- Paddle boards are authorized on McReynolds Reservoir only with an approved personal flotation device.
- Belly boats may be used at McReynolds Reservoir without a personal flotation device.
- NO motors of any kind are permitted.
- NO body-water contact. Swimming, sail boating, wind surfing are prohibited.
- NO wading in Mason Reservoir and NO stream fishing allowed.
Hiking and Biking
- There are three established trails open to the public with a total of nearly 16 miles of out-and-back single track trails. Mason, McReynolds and Lake Moraine Trails.
- Mason Trail head is located at the parking lot. It is 9.4 miles round trip. It is open all the way to Boehmer Reservoir after July 15, the end of bighorn sheep lambing. Prior to July 15 a gate will prohibit access to the upper part of the trail.
- NO hiking past Boehmer Reservoir.
- McReynolds Trail head is located at the parking lot. It is 1.2 miles round trip.
- Lake Moraine Trail is a connector trail between Barr and Jones Park Trails. It is 4.25 miles long. It is NOT accessible from the South Slope Recreation Area only from Barr and Jones Park Trails.
- Stay on designated trails.
- E-bikes are not permitted.
Cyclists Please Remember:
- Use only designated single-track trails.
- Speed limit 20mph or less - Blind corners present.
- Yield right of way to other recreationalists.
- Please dismount and walk bikes across the Mason Peninsula.
- NO bicycles on driveways, roads, or dams.
Although South Slope is located just 20 miles from Colorado Springs as the crow flies, the drive from Colorado Springs is over 50 miles and takes 1.5 hrs. Please plan accordingly.
- From Colorado Springs, travel west on Highway 24, 27 miles to Divide, Colorado.
- In Divide, turn left onto Highway 67 south.
- Continue 13.5 miles south and turn left onto Teller County Road 81.
- Continue on CR 81 for 3 miles; turn left on Teller County Road 8 (Gold Camp Road).
- Continue on Gold Camp Road for 7.5 miles to Forest Service Road 376, approximately 0.7 miles east of the old tunnel.
- Turn left onto Forest Service Road #376, continue 3.2 miles to the entrance gate of the South Slope Recreation Area.