Cherry Creek Reservoir, an 850-acre lake on the southeast side of Denver, was built in 1948 to 1950 for flood control of Cherry Creek. The 3.25-mile-long lake is formed by a massive earthen dam that is 141 feet high and 14,300 feet long. The resulting lake in Cherry Creek State Park is one of Denver’s premier outdoor recreation areas. Fishing is the top activity here, with more fish stocked and caught than any other Colorado lake. It’s also busy with other water sports, including sailing, boating, waterskiing, paddleboarding, and sailboarding. The state park also offers a 131-site campground, 100-acre dog park, model airplane field, Cherry Creek Marina, picnicking areas, 35 miles of multi-use trails, wildlife observation, and a family shooting range.

Pro Tips

  • Cherry Creek Reservoir is a superb fishery for largemouth bass, rainbow trout, wiper, and trophy-size walleye. Minimum size for walleyes is 18 inches and only one bigger than 21 inches can be taken per day. Trout fishing is good during cold weather months, while wiper fishing is best in April. Largemouth bass between four and six pounds are caught, although some ten pounders are hooked.
  • Cherry Creek State Park often reaches its carrying capacity on summer weekends, so access is restricted to avoid crowding. It’s best to plan your trip on off-peak times, like weekdays, morning or evening, the shoulder seasons in spring and fall, and winter when it’s quiet.
  • Cherry Creek offers lots of wet fun on hot summer days. A great family outing is with a cooler of drinks, picnic basket, bicycles on the rear bike rack, swim suits and towels and heading for the lake. Cherry Creek has a sandy beach with warm water for swimming on the lake’s northeast side, picnic tables, grills for veggie burgers, miles of bike paths and hiking trails, and plenty of shady trees.
  • Cherry State Park Campground, located at the northwest corner of the reservoir, offers 152 campsites in six loops and three group camping areas. Site amenities include spacious sites for RVs, trailers, and tents, full hook-ups, showers, laundry facilities, a dump station, and water. Campsites fill fast in summer, so make a reservation ahead of time at or by calling 800-678-2267.
  • Recommended season(s): Year-round.

    —Stewart M. Green


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