An Introduction to 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.

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.

Outstanding local participation was instrumental in creating the reservoir’s recreation master plan (PDF). Upon the reservoir opening in the future, the public will be invited to experience what the land has to offer through exploring trails, engaging with the water, and learning in an environment dedicated to providing healthy habitats and a clean water supply. The master plan includes locations to take an archery class, learn to canoe, and identify native plant and animal species on an accessible prairie walk. In the years to come, visitors will be able to connect with local history throughout the property via trails and signage. Whether it is on cross-country skis, the incline challenge or the sledding hill, people visiting the property will have a way to interact with their community and enjoy the outdoors year-round. Although the reservoir is not currently open, in general, to the public, you can follow the capital projects, programs and events happening "today" at RHRecreation.

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.