When I was younger and had more free time, I would take a drive, turn at the first unfamiliar intersection and see where the road took me. I have discovered some of my favorite haunts that way. On an October visit to Grand County, I applied the same method. It would have been hard to plan out a better route or final destination point — Meadow Creek Reservoir.
Driving from Fraser toward Tabernash, I impulsively turned on County Road 83, which lead to County Road 84 and finally Forest Road 129. Along the way I saw signs, some big and some so small I almost missed them, indicating the way to Meadow Creek Reservoir. Even the name of the place was news to me, but at least I had a goal.
Along part of the route the road bumped up against the creek, and as I looked over the water’s sinuous curves that wound through the valley meadows, I thought to myself, “Anglers, thank a beaver.” Without the beaver dams Meadow Creek would be barely more than a trickle, but the dams created tons of ponds for trout to roam. Having left my fly rod on my front porch, I contemplated doing some fly and bubble fishing, but the reservoir still beckoned.
Approaching the reservoir, first you see the dam, then white-capped mountains peaking over the structure and then the reservoir itself. Truly beautiful. “Anglers, forget the beavers, thank a dam engineer,” I thought anew.
Meadow Creek Reservoir was much larger than I had pictured, offering up to 106 surface acres of water with a maximum depth of 58 feet. If you circle the rocky shoreline, be ready for a 2.25-mile hike (be aware that the south side is on private land). The shoreline is easy to navigate, but since the reservoir sits at an elevation higher than 9,900 feet, you get more easily winded than you think you would.
I cast some spoons to the cutthroat, rainbow and brook trout that are known to cruise the clear water, but while the fish were jumping, they weren’t biting what I was offering. Flies or Powerbait would have been a better bet for success.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay as long as I wanted, work waited for me back in Fraser. The problem with trips like these is that it’s hard to give the appropriate amount of time to destinations you don’t know exist. But now that Meadow Creek Reservoir is on my radar, next time I’m making a day of it.
Meadow Creek Reservoir
- Latitude: 40.056217
- Longitude: -105.745386
- Boating: Non-Motorized
- Boat Ramps: No
- Campgrounds: No
- Picnic Areas: Yes
There is a picnic area with a vault toilet at the lake but no drinking water is available. No formal campground is available at Meadow Creek Reservoir. But there is dispersed open camping along the USFS Road 129 around the reservoir area. The reservoir is approximately 10 miles from the town of Tabernash. An Arapaho National Recreation Area pass is required.