Camp and Fish at Platoro Reservoir

Colorado Platoro Reservoir

  • Activities:

    Camping, Fishing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Dog Friendly
Picnic Area

This well stocked reservoir offers excellent fishing for Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout as well as Kokanee Salmon. There are 3 forest service campgrounds available plus dispersed camping options.

Platoro is the blending of the Spanish words "plata" (silver) and "oro" (gold), and this secluded mountain reservoir strikes it rich when it comes to outdoor recreation. In 1870, gold and silver was discovered in area, which lead to a small boom in 1913 and the settling of the small town which still stands today. The prospectors and mule trains may have left long ago, but today the area attracts anglers and outdoors enthusiasts for its pristine setting.

Located in a less traveled and remote area of the San Juans, Platoro Reservoir is the perfect place to go if you're looking to get away from the crowds. The road can be rough, especially in the spring when snowmelt can make things a muddy mess. Check with the Conejos Ranger District (719-852-5941) for road conditions before heading out to see if it is passable. If you make the drive, the present day town of Platoro has rooms and cabins for rent as well as a general store to outfit any angler looking to catch the next river monster. A restaurant is also open until 9 PM to feed hungry visitors.

Mix Lake Campground, which is managed by the Forest Service, is the closest campsite to the lake and is the place to set up camp if you want to drop a line the moment you wake up in the morning. Dispersed camping is also allowed on some of the nearby Forest Service roads, but sites do require some searching.

Take a drive up to Stunner Pass to get a look at the vibrant colors of the multi-hued peaks of Big and Little Red Mountains, or to drop a line at Kerr Lake. On the other side of the pass is another managed campsite that sits near the remains of the historic mining community of Stunner. Interpretive signs will educate visitors about the abandoned ghost town.

To the south of Platoro hikers can access the South San Juan Wilderness. Miles of hiking trails can be found here with excellent views of Conejos Peak and the surrounding San Juans. Be sure to follow all Wilderness regulations if entering the area.

Fishing and boating are the main attractions, however. A boat ramp can accommodate medium and small motorized boats, but if you didn't bring a boat, your best bet would be to park at the boat ramp and walk down to the shore. Unless you have a 4x4, this is gonna be the only place where you can drive down to the shore; everything else will require some walking from the road. Boats can also be rented in town, just inquire at the general store. If boating isn't your thing, you can drive up the road to do some river fishing, but just know that the best action can be found at the lake. Brown, Rainbow, and Brook Trout are stocked, plus Kokanee Salmon can also be found.

Platoro may not be the easiest place to access and may not have all the amenities of other large lakes in the state, but with some patience you can enjoy world class fishing in Colorado's highest man made reservoir.

Pack List

  • Three season tent
  • Camping gear
  • Fishing tackle & bait
  • Valid Colorado fishing license
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Overall rating: 

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Went to this place Memorial Day weekend and it was incredible!!! A little cold and snowy so I would like to revisit the place in the summer. It was worth the drive!

4 months ago
4 months ago

Johnathan ValdezExplorer

I'm a Colorado native that's passionate about photography, exploring nature, live music, and craft beer. On my free days you'll most likely find me on the trail and behind my camera. Life is short, get out there and explore! Follow my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram @capulinflicker.

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