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.
McReynolds Reservoir is very low at this time due to necessary repairs to the structure. Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has informed us that the water level will remain low for this season-the depth is approximately 15’. The quality of fishing in this reservoir may not be up to the standards that fishermen have come to expect. We do not recommend that boats be used on this reservoir.
The fishing at Mason Reservoir is still very good.
Permits may be obtained online at using the above Registration Button or by visiting the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Administrative office at 1401 Recreation Way in Colorado Springs, Monday-Friday; 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Starting June 24 through the end of season
- Reservations must be made by 1 pm the day prior to the desired use day
- Online permits can be made a minimum of 24-hours in advance of desired use.
- Walk-in reservations can be made a minimum of 24-hours prior to desired use; however, are only available during Office business hours.
Permits are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
If a day is booked full, there will be a waiting list in the order of when the registration was made. 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.
Important: No commercial recreational activities are allowed at South Slope, i.e. no fee-based guided trips are allowed.
- Registrations for the month of July will begin June 1; 12:01 a.m.
- Registrations for the month of August will begin July 1; 12:01 a.m.
- Registrations for the month of September will begin August 1; 12:01 a.m.
All reservations are non-refundable. You may request your reservation be moved to another date, based on availability; however, each reservation will qualify for only one (1) date transfer. All transfers must be made by Tuesday the week of the reservation. If the opening of the area is canceled due to severe weather or hazardous conditions, full refunds will be given.
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
- Commercial Guide Activities are prohibited. Violation of policy may result in loss of South Slope privileges
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.
- Boats may launch into McReynolds Reservoir from the boat ramp.
- 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.
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.