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South Slope Recreation Area

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South Slope Recreation Area

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 through Sunday, weather permitting, beginning the Thursday before Memorial Day through the last Sunday in September, including Memorial Day and Labor Day. Hours of operation are 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Recreation area users must leave by the designated closing time. The gate to the area will be locked at 2:30 p.m.

Use if 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.  Fee is $15 per vehicle, up to eight persons per vehicle.



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.  Permit applications must be made by 1 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to the weekend of desired use.  Permits are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.  NOTE:  The easiest way to find the information in our online registration system is to use the Activity Number assigned to the particular date.  Activity Number Cheat Sheet

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 cancelled 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.
  • Registration for permits for Memorial Day weekend through the end of June will begin May 1; 12:01 a.m.  South Slope will be open Monday, Memorial Day.
  • Registrations for the month of July will begin June 1; 12:01 a.m.  No registrations /permits will be taken/issued for Saturday, July 8 or Sunday, July 9, due to scheduled construction projects.
  • Registrations for the month of August will begin July 1; 12:01 a.m. 
  • Registrations for the month of September & October 1 will begin August 1; 12:01 a.m.  South Slope will be open Monday, Labor Day.

General Information

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.

Dogs are not allowed in the South Slope recreation area. This is due to sensitive ecosystems which include tundra, fen wetlands and bighorn sheep wintering and lambing areas.

The Mason Trail is a 9.4 mile round trip hike; get an early start in order to return before the area closes at 2:30 pm.   

General Rules and Regulations

  • Pets are not allowed in the Recreation Area.
  • Motor vehicles are restricted to designated roads and parking lots. Parking along roadways is not allowed. Parking areas must be cleared at designated closing times.
  • No rock climbing or scrambling.
  • 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.
  • Activities such as swimming, sail boating, wind surfing, and camping are not permitted.
  • No alcoholic beverages or smoking in the Recreation Area.
  • Hunting and fireworks are not permitted.
  • Natural features must not be disturbed. Please do not deface or remove any of the area’s flowers, rocks, trees, or historical artifacts.
  • Do not feed, chase, capture or harm wildlife.
  • Gathering of firewood is not allowed.
  • Please pack out your trash.
  • Fishing in and hiking past Boehmer Reservoir is not permitted.

South Slope Brochure contributed by Colorado Springs Utilities

Recreational Activities

Hiking and Mountain Biking

There are two established trails open to the public with a total of nearly 12 miles of out-and-back single-track trails (Mason and McReynolds). Both trailheads are located at the McReynolds parking area. Please stay on established trails. Mason Trail is a 9.4 mile round trip; if you are hiking, get an early start in order to return before the area closes at 2:30 p.m. Mason Trail is open all the way to Boehmer Reservoir after July 15 at the end of bighorn sheep lambing season. Before July 15 a gate will stop access to the most upper part of the trail. McReynolds Trail is 1.2 miles out and back.

Cyclists please remember:

  • Use only designated single-track trails (Mason and McReynolds trails). No bicycles on driveways, roads or dams.
  • Yield right of way to other recreationalists.
  • Keep your speed to 20 miles per hour or less. Blind corners are present.
  • Given the sensitive nature of the Mason Peninsula, cyclists must dismount and walk their bikes through this area.

Fishing and Boating

  • Fishing is permitted at McReynolds and Mason reservoirs with flies and lures only.
  • All areas require a valid Colorado fishing license for those ages 16 or older. Children under the age of 16 may take a full daily bag and possession limit without a valid Colorado fishing license.
  • The bag and possession limit is one fish 16 inches or smaller from Mason Reservoir, catch and release from McReynolds, and no fishing at all at Boehmer Reservoir.
  • No body-water contact. No wading in Mason Reservoir. No stream fishing anywhere.
  • Fish must be returned to the water immediately.
  • No fishing from dams.
  • No crossing the Mason Reservoir inlet creek.
  • Non-motorized boating and wading is permitted at McReynolds Reservoir only.
  • All boaters must wear Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices.
  • Boats may be launched into McReynolds Reservoir from the concrete boat ramp adjacent to the parking area.
  • Boats must be propelled by oars or paddles.
  • Gas engines and electric motors are prohibited, no motors of any kind are permitted.
  • Paddle boards may be used on McReynolds with approved personal floatation device. Sail boating and wind surfing are not permitted.
  • Belly boats may be used at McReynolds without an additional floatation device.


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. 

  1. From Colorado Springs, travel west on Highway 24, 27 miles to Divide, Colorado.
  2. In Divide, turn left onto Highway 67 south.
  3. Continue 13.5 miles south and turn left onto Teller County Road 81. 
  4. Continue on CR 81 for 3 miles; turn left on Teller County Road 8 (Gold Camp Road).
  5. Continue on Gold Camp Road for 7.5 miles to Forest Service Road 376, approximately 0.7 miles east of the old tunnel.
  6. Turn left onto Forest Service Road #376, continue 3.2 miles to the entrance gate of the  South Slope Recreation Area.