A picture of Horsetooth Reservoir from the air, looking south to north.
(Above) Horsetooth's water level elevation has been well over 5400 feet, or at least 80% full, since March 2014.

Looking east to west across Carter Lake Dam #1 to a full reservoir and blue skies with snow tipped mountains in the background.
(Above) Carter Lake filled at least three separate times during the 2013-2014 water year due to an unusually abundant water supply from rain and snow.

Horsetooth and Carter Lake Reservoirs


Project Operations

Horsetooth and Carter Lake reservoirs are both part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

Before reaching Horsetooth and Carter, C-BT water comes under the Continental Divide via the Adams Tunnel. Once in Estes Park, it is used to generate hydro-electric power at the Marys and Estes power plants. From Estes, water can either be released down the Big Thompson Canyon, or continue through the C-BT's southern power arm, generating power at three more plants: Flatiron, Pole Hill and Big Thompson.

As it moves through the power system, C-BT also moves through four other reservoirs. Water levels are about average for this time of year at Lake Estes, Marys Lake, Pinewood, and Flatiron reservoirs.

Last Updated: 9/8/21