Rueter-Hess Reservoir, just minutes from Downtown Castle Rock, sits on Hess Road, one mile east of Interstate 25 at the Castle Pines Parkway exit. The property is owned and managed by the Parker Water and Sanitation District. While the top priority is maintaining water quality, the district has established the Rueter-Hess Recreation Authority to plan future recreational opportunities. The Authority is composed of appointed representatives from the Town of Castle Rock, Town of Parker, City of Lone Tree, City of Castle Pines, Douglas County and the District.
Through extensive public outreach, the Authority established a conceptual master plan (PDF) in 2016. Future recreational opportunities may include soft-surface trails, non-motorized watercraft and fishing. To start, however, the reservoir will only be open for limited recreational programming.
With direction from the Authority, the Castle Rock and Parker parks and recreation departments will offer programs and special events on site seasonally. Registered participants will be allowed to enter the reservoir during the scheduled events.
Incline Challenge and trails
The Rueter-Hess Recreation Authority opened the new Incline Challenge and trails in 2020.
The 132-step Incline and surrounding trails, which are the are the first phase of the master plan, will be open from sunup to sundown seven days a week. The incline offers 232 feet of elevation and spectacular view of Longs Peak to the north and Pikes Peak to the south.
Located immediately west of the Rueter-Hess Water Purification Facility, a parking lot has been designated for visitors at the bottom of the Incline. 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 Rosie Rueter Trail loop is just over a mile long and leads to and from the parking lot.
Pavilions, an observation deck and more is scheduled to open soon.
Paddle Days at Rueter-Hess
Paddle Days is being operated by South Suburban Recreation this year. Scheduled days start Memorial Day weekend and run through Labor Day weekend. Participants provide their own watercraft (paddle board, canoe or kayak). The cost is $15 per watercraft, which includes gate entry and watercraft inspection. Registration opens seven days prior to each Paddle Day event.
- 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.