Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area

Area Status: Open

Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area is located below the dam of the Eleven Mile Reservoir near Lake George in the southeast corner of South Park. The narrow, dirt road traversing the canyon used to be the old Colorado Midland Railroad bed before the dam and reservoir were constructed. Unlike the reservoir area, which has an open basin and rangeland type topography, the canyon itself is forested, lush and rocky.

Eleven Mile Canyon cuts through the plain holding the South Platte River in its rocky bottom. As the river is unleashed from the dam above, its twists and crashes against huge boulders lining the canyon floor. A canopy of large trees provides a screen of shade that floats across the canyon with the moving sun. Eleven Mile Canyon is an unexpected paradise.

Eleven Mile Canyon is generally accessible year round; however, service are reduced during the winter months.

The Elevenmile Canyon Scenic & Historic Auto Tour guide can be downloaded HERE. Brochures are also available at the South Park Ranger District office in Fairplay.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Eleven Mile Canyon will remain open through the winter, but may close down due to inclement weather.
Fees: $10 per vehicle for day use. $25 for bus/van (10 passengers and over). $100.00 for an annual pass. Interagency Senior, Access, and Military Passes are valid for 50% discount on entrance fee.
Open Season: year-round (weather permitting)
Restrictions: Dispersed camping is prohibited within Eleven Mile Canyon.
Closest Towns: Lake George, CO
Operated By: concessionaire
Information Center: South Park Ranger District 719-836-2031

General Information


From Lake George, CO at US Highway 24 take County Road 96 south. After two miles veer right at the fork to stay on 96.  

The entrance station to the canyon is staffed seasonally during the day and a self-service station also available for use during closed hours and the off-season. 

Eleven Mile Canyon is open and generally accessible year round; however, services are limited during the winter months. 


Campground Camping

Recreation areas with activity Campground Camping:

Cove Campground, Riverside Campground, Spillway Campground, and Springer Gulch Campground are located within Eleven Mile Canyon.  They are available by reservation at recreation.gov.

Dispersed camping is prohibited within Eleven Mile Canyon.

Rock Climbing

Recreation areas with activity Rock Climbing:

Eleven Mile Canyon climbing information

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:

There are two short hiking trails in the Canyon.  The Hardrock trail can be accessed at the Riverside Campground or the Blue Mountain Campground which is outside of Eleven Mile Canyon.  The Overlook trailhead is located at the Spillway Campground.


Recreation areas with activity Picnicking:

Eleven Mile Canyon has four picnic areas:  Eleven Mile, Idlewild, Messenger Gulch, and O'Brien Gulch, which are available on a first come, first served basis. 

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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