Basalt’s Shoreline – Ruedi Reservoir

Basalt's biggest recreation attraction, Ruedi Reservoir is just minutes away

Located just 14 scenic miles east of Basalt, yet a world away, Ruedi (pronounced roo-dye) Reservoir beckons with its perfect blend of recreation and relaxation. 

Suggestions for recreating around Ruedi include water skiing, sailing, and kite surfing. For visitors arriving with sailboats in tow, the boat ramp is accessible through the Ruedi campground. There are no boat rentals in the area, however, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and all the necessary gear can be rented at Bristlecone Sports in Willits. Paddling Ruedi on a SUP is a great way to take in the scenery while playing in the cool waters. Shaboomie teaches SUP techniques and also offers SUP yoga and fitness classes.

Checkin with Basalt's Outfitters

Also worth trying — perhaps with the help of a guide from Basalt’s top-notch outfitters downtown at Taylor Creek Fly Shops or Frying Pan Anglers — is fishing. Troll the waters of Ruedi where the trout are plentiful or cast a line from the miles of shoreline. 

In winter, after the snow falls and Ruedi Reservoir freezes to a thick sheet of ice, cut a hole, cast a line, and pull out a huge surprise, like a magnificent Lake Trout.

Aspen Yacht Club Regattas

On the calendar are the Aspen Yacht Club Regattas, held in August, which blanket the reservoir in colorful sailboats sweeping over the open water.

When it comes to relaxing at Ruedi, spend an evening in the fully decked-out three-bedroom, three-bath Cabin at Ruedi Shores, or set up camp at the water’s edge and enjoy. The Ruedi Marina Campground comprises four campgrounds with 81 campsites and two boat launches, all set among the forest with a backdrop of jagged peaks and a vast sky for nighttime stargazing.

Of course this playground for water-lovers wasn’t always as it seems. According to The Aspen Times, below the deep waters of Ruedi Reservoir was once the town of Ruedi. Settled in 1880 by Swiss immigrant John Ruedi, the Fryingpan River Valley became a hub of activity when the Colorado Midland Railroad ran a line from the silver-boom town of Leadville to Basalt and beyond. Eventually, in the late 1960s, a government-mandated dam was built to provide water to Colorado’s Front Range, Western Slope, and beyond. 

One thing remains the same, however: The small community of Ruedi was surrounded by family farms and ranches, adding to its idyllic beauty; today the reservoir is surrounded by similarly stunning scenery making it well worth an overnight stay or day trip. 

by Jeanne McGovern
photo courtesy > Doug McMillin

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