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South Platte River

Contact Info
Pike & San Isabel National Forests Cimarron & Comanche National Grasslands
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465

Year round


When you're feeling overwhelmed by the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds at Deckers and Cheeseman Canyon, take a break and explore the seldom visited waters of the South Platte River upstream of Cheeseman Reservoir. This spectacular canyon provides good opportunities for those fishermen willing to walk a short distance to fish for wild brown and rainbow trout. CDOW electro-fishing records indicate that large Brown trout "Lunkers" are known to exist in the area, particularly in the deep boulder-filled pools downstream of the Big Rock Candy Mountain. Can you catch (and land) one? You might catch a rainbow with a clipped adipose fin - possibly a relic of CDOW's efforts to establish a steelhead population in the reach. This portion of the South Platte River is currently under study for designation as a Wild & Senic River.


Brown Trout
Rainbow Trout


Year round
Camping Info
Many dispersed campsites can be found throughout the area.


Map + Directions

Basic Directions

Three Forest Service roads access the canyon. All three are very rough, requiring high clearance and four wheel drive. The easiest approach is along the Corral Creek Road (FS Road #540), which enters the canyon from the west. From Lake George, CO, travel west along US Highway 24 for 1 mile. Turn right onto Park County Road 77 (Tarryall Rd). Travel 7.1 miles along this road, then turn right onto Park County Road 211 (Matakat Rd). Go 9.5 miles on the Matakat Rd., then turn right onto Forest Road #540. Persons with 2 wheel drive vehicles with high clearence can get to within 1/2 mile of the river. Other routes into the canyon include the Metberry Gulch Road (Forest Road #225) and Longwater Gulch (Forest Road #221). Neither of these routes are recommended. Please respect all road closures in this very fragile area.

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