A Quick Guide to Homestake Road

At the end of Homestake Road, a watery oasis awaits for paddlers seeking the solitude of a high-mountain lake.

By Kirsten Dobroth July 2, 2020 Published in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Awaiting at the end of Homestake Road: Homestake Reservoir, which provides drinking water for cities on the Front Range, and a venue for an idyllic paddle in kayak or canoe.

Five minutes south of the Red Cliff Bridge off Highway 24, Homestake Road (Forest Road 703) is a relatively flat dirt track that winds through meadows and thick stretches of pines in a glacial valley. After a steep climb, the road dead-ends abruptly at Homestake Reservoir, a perpetual pool of snowmelt that provides water for the cities of Aurora—just east of Denver—and Colorado Springs. Since this is someone’s drinking water, no swimming or motorized boats are allowed. You can paddle a canoe or kayak out on the reservoir, but you’ll need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to reach the boat launch, as the road is extremely rough for the last quarter mile. You can also camp at primitive sites scattered along the road; just be aware that these fill up fast on weekends, and you’ll need to follow any fire restrictions once you pitch your tent for the night (fs.usda.gov).

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