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McLellan Reservoir: Everything to Know

Updated: Jun 3

McLellan Reservoir is a small reservoir that measures a mile across in Littleton, Colorado. It is usually accessed through Writers Vista Park on the northern side, and there are trails leading around some of the lake. Although McLellan Reservoir has a large fence around it, you can still take in the views of the water. Not only that, there are dozens of deciduous trees that will make for great pictures in the fall.

McLellan Reservoir, Writers Vista Park, and Southbridge Park on a map
McLellan Reservoir map

You can see in Madison Hayes' video that the sunsets here are better than you can imagine. Even without a good sunset, the view is well worth it.

If you are starting at Writers Vista Park and going west, you will see a concrete sidewalk on the southern side of the park (in between the playground, bathrooms, and baseball field). The trail is about half a mile one-way. At the end of this trail, you can see the “dam” part of the reservoir. You can also see just how tall this fence is.


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The dam, spillway, and McLellan Pump Station at McLellan Reservoir in Littleton, Colorado
The dam and spillway at McLellan Reservoir

If you are at Writer’s Vista Park and going east, walk down the street from the playground or parking lot. After 300 feet or so, you will see the entrance in the picture below.

The trailhead next to McLellan Lake and Writers Vista Park in Littleton, Colorado
The trailhead

After 1,000 feet, you will get to a left-hand turn. This is the best place to see the sunset over McLellan Reservoir.

After another 1,500 feet of walking, you’ll intersect another trail at High Line Canal (you guessed it, the High Line Canal Trail). Turn right and you can walk for another ⅔ of a mile and you will reach the end of the trail. The entire time (on both trails), you will get an elevated view of the reservoir.

The turn onto High Line Canal Trail next to McLellan Reservoir and Writers Vista Park
The turn onto High Line Canal Trail

If you’re up for it, you can cross the street and keep traveling down the dirt trail that brings you into a little forested area next to the 470 Highway.

There is a bridge that goes over a little part of the reservoir. Head over to West County Line Road. You can park next to the bridge and take in the view. I would recommend not bringing kids here since you are still on a road, but you can drive by a couple of times to really soak in the landscape.

The bridge over McLellan Reservoir with Writers Vista Park in the background
The bridge over McLellan Reservoir

More Information About McLellan Reservoir

As we said before, the entire reservoir is off-limits to the public - the fence should tell you that. That means no fishing is allowed.

The best restroom to use is at Writers Vista Park. It's a long walk around the water, so go beforehand. It's the same deal with water fountains, picnic tables, benches, and trash cans.

During spring, summer, and fall, there will be waterfowl (like ducks) in the lake.

In the winter, much of the reservoir can freeze over.

The reservoir is owned by the City of Englewood, and holds 1,500 acre-feet of water.

Construction was completed in 1965. The McLellan Pump Station moves water from Chatfield Reservoir to McLellan Reservoir.

McLellan Reservoir is located in Littleton, Colorado in Arapahoe County.

One person said that they had "Great memories as a kid growing up around there. I lived next to Chatfield Reservoir and fished it before it was filled along with Mclellan Reservoir. At Mclellan, I mainly fished for Largemouth Bass when the City of Englewood had it open, but those who do not take out their own trash caused it to closed back down when I was a kid. My brother got a 9 pound Largemouth back in the late 70's and returned it back to the water. I was upset when they closed it back down so as a kid I would sneak in during the nightime and fish top water on the east side. It was awesome till the warning came out after being caught."

Address: 1900 W Mineral Ave, Littleton, CO 80120

Hours: Daylight, open year-round

Coordinates: 39.572134, -105.011386

Nearby Parks and Locations: Writers Vista Park, Southbridge Park, Arapaho Park, Jackass Hill Park, Cooley Lake, Redtail Lake, Eaglewatch Lake, South Platte Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir and State Park, Plum Valley Park, Footbridge Park, Carbone Park, and more.

The view of McLellan Reservoir from Writers Vista Park with mountains in the background
The view of McLellan Reservoir from Writers Vista Park

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Aug 14, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

There are so many different kinds of birds here! It's fantastic!

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