Sunrise over Soldier Canyon Dam
Goose couple in Quarry Cove
Quarry Cove in winter
Horsetooth Reservoir is located less than 4 mile from my home, therefore it is the main destination of my day paddling.
This 6.5 mile long reservoir was constructed as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project by building four large earth-filled dams. Spring Creek, Dixon Canyon and Soldier Canyon Dams, each approximately 210 feet high, are built across openings in the long hogback forming the eastern side of reservoir while Horsetooth Dam is constructed across the north end. The reservoir is adjacent to Lory State Park.
The Colorado-Big Thompson Project completed during 1938-1956 is the Colorado's largest transmountain water diversion. It takes water from the Colorado River basin on the Western Slope and brings it to the Big Thompson River basin on the Eastern Slope of the Continental Divide for drinking, irrigation of farmlands, and generation of hydroelectric power. The most noteworthy achievement of the project was boring the Adams Tunnel 13 miles through a solid granite mountain.
Usually, I launch my kayak at one of three boat ramps: Satanka Bay at the northern end, South Bay or Inlet Bay. It is possible to access the reservoir also from Lory State Park at Eltuck Bay but it requires carrying a kayak some distance from the parking lot. There is no comfortable kayak access from the east shore. The 6.25 miles distance between boat ramps at Satanka Bay and South Bay I can cover in my Patuxent in about 90 minutes.
Smoke plume from the Bobcat wildfire |
The reservoir will be drained to 1/3 of its capacity to repair
the leaking dams (see the clarification below).
This construction will start probably in the fall of 2000 and take 3 to 5 years.
During the Fall of 2000 the 6 mile-long reservoir turned into three ponds connected by a ditch.
The waters of Horsetooth Reservoir cover numerous quarries of fine-grain sandstone and
an old quarry town Stout. Low water uncovered some building remains.
Actually, the dams don't leak. That's not the problem. The problem is that there is a limestone formation that runs the length
of the reservoir and dives underneath Horsetooth Dam on the northern end--and that limestone has been channeling water
out under the dam for quite some time. The other three dams are simply undergoing modernizations to bring them up to current
Eastern Colorado Area Office
U. S. Bureau of Reclamation
| MarekUliasz.com |