Sugar Loaf Dam

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Leadville, Colorado from the southeast, with Turquoise Lake visible at the left

Sugar Loaf Dam is a dam in Lake County of mid-Colorado, four miles west of Leadville.

It has a height of 135 feet and is over 2000 feet long at its crest, impounding the Lake Fork of the Arkansas River near its headwaters. The earthen dam was one of five reservoir dams completed from 1965 to 1968 by the United States Bureau of Reclamation as part of the larger water control project called the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The project was authorized in 1962 by President Kennedy and was completed in 1981.

The Fry-Ark brings available water from Colorado's West Slope to the more arid, and more heavily populated, cities of the East Slope: Colorado Springs, Pueblo, La Junta, Lamar, with others. Water is diverted from the West Slope's Fryingpan River basin through a series of interconnected tunnels and small diversion dams into the Charles H. Boustead Tunnel. The Boustead runs water underneath the Continental Divide 5.5 miles (9 km) before discharging it into Turquoise Lake. Water then leaves Turquoise Lake via the Mt. Elbert Conduit, which runs nearly 11 miles (18 km) to the Mt. Elbert Forebay, then dropped down over half a mile (1 km) in elevation to the hydro-electric Mt. Elbert Power Plant.[1]

Turquoise Lake is the reservoir created by the dam.[2] Closed to recreation in winter, it has a surface area of 780 acres and a capacity of 129,440 acre-feet.[3]


Coordinates: 39°15′12″N 106°22′17″W / 39.25339°N 106.37137°W / 39.25339; -106.37137