Spinney Mountain State Park, tucked into the southeast corner of South Park, has Gold Medal Water for fishermen to catch trophy-sized rainbow, brown, and cutthtroat trout, and northern pike. Spinney is one of only three Gold Medal lakes in Colorado. The 2,450-acre lake, part of Aurora’s water supply, is only open during warm weather and closed during the winter—even for ice fishing. Aquatic biologists say the winter closing helps grow big fish. Lots of 10- to 12-inch trout are stocked each fall, allowing them to feed all winter. The cold water also makes them less likely to be prey for the pike during winter.
State Park Maps
- Spinney Mountain Reservoir offers great high-altitude boating. It’s open to boats, including power boats, sailboats, canoes, and kayaks, from a half-hour before sunrise to half-hour after sunset. Keep an eye on the weather, especially in the afternoon, since afternoon thunderstorms bring dangerous lightning and high winds, which create five-foot-high waves capable of swamping your boat.
- Since Spinney is part of Aurora’s water supply, all water contact activities are prohibited. These include swimming, wading, waterskiing, and scuba diving.
- Put on your hiking boots and walk around the lake on fishing access trails and game trails. It’s a long hike, but along the way you’ll see lots of waterfowl and occasional raptors, including bald eagles, pelicans, grebes, ducks, and seagulls. Big mammals seen are coyotes, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
- Spinney Mountain is a day-use-only area that is basically open during daylight hours. Camp at nearby Elevenmile State Park
Recommended season(s): May through October. Park is closed in winter.
—Stewart M. Green