Recreation at Rueter-Hess Reservoir

Rueter-Hess Reservoir (RHR) is nestled in the sandstone-rimmed bluffs and Gambel Oak valleys of north eastern Douglas County. Abundant in history and rugged landscape, the reservoir resides on the property owned by Parker Water and Sanitation District (PWSD). It is an invaluable water resource to residents in Douglas County and people of the greater Front Range of Colorado. It is located on Hess Road, one mile east of I-25 at the Castle Pines Parkway, Exit 188, or three miles west of Parker Road.

Paddle Days at Rueter-Hess

Participants provide their own watercraft (paddle board, canoe or kayak) and the cost is $15 per watercraft, which includes gate entry and watercraft inspection. Registration opens seven days prior to each Paddle Day event.

  • 2021 Paddle Days: Check back for more information soon!
  • Lifejackets must be worn by all participants. 
  • Updated: ages 2 to 7 may share a watercraft with a guardian. Ages 8 to 15 may have their own watercraft but a registered adult guardian must be present on the water.  
  • Walk-up registration is NOT available.
  • No pets. No fishing. No swimming. No rafts or inflatable tubes. No alcohol.

Rueter Hess Reservoir
Castle Rock, CO 80108

Incline Challenge

Parking Located immediately west of the Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility (11865 Heirloom Pkwy, Parker CO), a parking lot has been designated for visitors at the trailhead of the Incline Challenge. Visitors should turn west off of Heirloom Parkway when they reach the Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility, and continue west to the designated Incline parking area. The Incline features 132 steps and the Rosie Rueter Trail loop that leads to and from the parking lot is just over a mile long.

Make sure to read the Trail Rules.

DIgging Deeper

Numerous archaeological artifacts were discovered during the reservoirs’ construction that provides evidence of a long history of human inhabitation of the land dating back 9,000 years. Native and immigrant settlers of the region relied on the land for their livelihood from hunting to mining gold to homesteading and ranching.

Although the ranching community of Douglas County still thrives on the land, continual growth of adjacent developments and an influx of people moving to the region has increased the demand for water.

As stewards of the land and community, it is the wish of the District and its’ local partners to preserve this land as a resource and to educate visitors about the history of RHR, Newlin Gulch, and the region to ensure that it continues to be a sanctuary for wildlife and to respect its important heritage. Jointly, the reservoir serves as a unique recreational destination to accommodate a broad range of communities and adventurer seekers from near and far.

The community is encouraged to stay involved in protecting this land and educating generations to come about the reservoir and adjacent lands’ rich history, unique outdoor space, and preserved native environment while securing a valuable water future.