Colorado boasts a selection of stunning lakes that offer an array of outdoor activities for people near and far. In this blog post, we will explore various lakes in Colorado that cater to different interests and preferences.

From boating, fishing, and swimming at Blue Mesa Reservoir to experiencing the scenic beauty of Lake Haiyaha nestled within Rocky Mountain National Park – there’s something for everyone. For those seeking adventure, Horsetooth Reservoir offers thrilling rock climbing opportunities while avid anglers can find their paradise at fishing hotspots like Lake San Cristobal and Grand Lake.

We’ll also delve into the unique beauty of Hanging Lake with its fragile ecosystem that requires preservation efforts from visitors. If mountain biking is your passion, you won’t want to miss Big Meadows and Rampart Reservoirs’ exhilarating trails. Additionally, Pueblo Reservoir serves as a summer haven for beach lovers with its pristine waters perfect for swimming.

Last but not least, we’ll introduce you to off-the-beaten-path destinations within Mount Zirkel Wilderness where hidden gems await exploration by adventurous souls who appreciate remote locations surrounded by nature’s grandeur. Join us as we embark on this journey through some of the most stunning lakes in Colorado!

Table of Contents:

Blue Mesa Reservoir

As the biggest body of water in Colorado, Blue Mesa Reservoir offers endless opportunities for various water sports. With ten campgrounds and several beaches, visitors can enjoy camping and water activities amidst stunning landscapes.

Boating, Fishing, and Swimming

Boaters can take advantage of the reservoir’s vast expanse, with options ranging from sailboats to pontoon boats and kayaks. Anglers will find an abundance of fish species such as trout and salmon within the waters while swimmers can take a refreshing dip at one of the many designated swimming areas. The nearby Curecanti National Recreation Area also provides additional recreational options like hiking trails and wildlife viewing.

Camping Options

  • Elk Creek Campground: Located near the western end of Blue Mesa Reservoir with easy access to boat ramps and fishing spots.
  • Lake Fork Campground: Situated along Lake Fork Arm offering serene views surrounded by dense forests.
  • Crawford State Park: A short drive from Blue Mesa providing lakeside camping and water skiing opportunities.

Whether you’re seeking adventure on the water or a peaceful escape in nature, Blue Mesa Reservoir is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Don’t forget to explore nearby attractions like the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the charming town of Montrose.

Lake Haiyaha and Horsetooth Reservoir

Looking for a serene escape amidst Colorado’s awe-inspiring landscapes? Look no further than Lake Haiyaha and Horsetooth Reservoir.

Scenic Beauty of Lake Haiyaha

Hiking to Lake Haiyaha is an adventure worth undertaking as it rewards visitors with breathtaking scenery along the way. The journey to Lake Haiyaha takes one through verdant woods, past waterfalls tumbling down the rocks and eventually arriving at the lake’s tranquil shoreline. Be sure to take your time exploring this natural gem and capture stunning photographs of its crystal-clear waters reflecting surrounding mountains.

Rock Climbing Opportunities at Horsetooth Reservoir

Thrill-seekers will find their haven at Horsetooth Reservoir, located near Fort Collins. This popular destination is not only known for its pristine waters but also as a rock climber’s paradise offering challenging routes suitable for all skill levels.

  • Piano Bouldering Area: A beginner-friendly spot featuring several lowball problems perfect for honing your skills before tackling more difficult climbs.
  • Torture Chamber: An intermediate climbing area boasting overhangs and steep faces that require technical prowess to conquer successfully.
  • The Palace: For experienced climbers seeking adrenaline-pumping ascents amid spectacular views overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir.

But that’s not all. If you’re looking for more lakes to explore, check out Blue Mesa Reservoir, Chatfield State Park, or Cottonwood Lake. And for those who love water sports, don’t miss out on water skiing at Grand Lake or Twin Lakes, or kayaking along the Colorado River.

Fishing Hotspots – Lake San Cristobal & Grand Lake

Colorado is home to some of the most picturesque lakes in the country, and Lake San Cristobal and Grand Lake are no exception. These two stunning bodies of water offer anglers a chance to cast their lines amidst breathtaking scenery while pursuing various trout species.

Trout Fishing at Lake San Cristobal

Nestled among the rugged peaks of the San Juan Mountains, Lake San Cristobal provides an idyllic setting for fishing enthusiasts. This serene lake offers ample opportunities to catch rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. This picturesque lake is a great spot for anglers of all levels to try their luck at reeling in rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout.

Recreational Activities around Grand Lake

Grand Lake, located near the western border of Rocky Mountain National Park, is Colorado’s largest natural lake and boasts sparkling waters. Its crystal-clear waters attract visitors year-round who enjoy boating on nearby picturesque Lake Granby. In addition to excellent fishing conditions for mackinaw (lake trout), kokanee salmon, and rainbow trout; this area also offers numerous recreational activities such as hiking trails through dense forests or exploring charming towns like nearby Lake City.

If you’re planning your next angling adventure in Colorado, don’t miss out on these two fishing hotspots. With their stunning surroundings and abundant fish populations, Lake San Cristobal and Grand Lake offer unforgettable experiences for anglers of all skill levels. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at water skiing or rock climbing at nearby Chatfield State Park or Rocky Mountain National Park.

The Unique Beauty of Hanging Lake

For those seeking tranquility and awe-inspiring beauty, Hanging Lake is a must-visit destination. This wonder showcases crystal-clear waters accompanied by soothing sounds from tumbling waterfalls creating an unforgettable experience.

Hiking to Hanging Lake

To reach this breathtaking spot, visitors embark on a moderately challenging 1.2-mile hike that ascends approximately 1,000 feet in elevation. The trailhead for Hanging Lake can be found near Glenwood Springs along the Colorado River. While the journey may require some effort, the reward at the end is well worth it as you are greeted with stunning views of turquoise waters surrounded by dramatic cliffs and dense forests of the San Juan Mountains.

Preservation Efforts for this Fragile Ecosystem

To ensure its protection, permits are mandatory during peak season for those wishing to hike in Hanging Lake’s fragile ecosystem. To minimize impact on nature, visitors are required to obtain permits before hiking during peak season (May through October). Additionally, swimming or wading into the lake is strictly prohibited as it could damage its natural features such as travertine deposits which contribute to its vibrant colors.

In order to further preserve this natural gem and ensure future generations can enjoy its splendor too, make sure you follow all posted rules while visiting including staying on designated trails and not touching or disturbing any wildlife or vegetation within the area. Pack your bags and journey to Hanging Lake, a marvelous secret tucked away in the Rocky Mountains that will astound you.

Mountain Biking Destinations – Big Meadows & Rampart Reservoirs

Looking for a thrilling mountain biking adventure? Look no further than Big Meadows and Rampart Reservoirs. These two destinations offer breathtaking views and exciting trails that cater to all skill levels.

Trails surrounding Big Meadows Reservoir

Big Meadows Trail #712 is a must-ride for all bikers. The forested terrain around Big Meadows Reservoir offers a spectacular vista of the San Juan Mountains, perfect for those seeking an invigorating cycling experience. For the more experienced riders, the nearby Wolf Creek Pass trail system offers challenging climbs and technical descents that will get your heart racing.

Exploring Rampart Reservoir on a Mountain Bike

Rampart Reservoir Loop Trail #700 is a 14-mile long trail that circles the lake and offers breathtaking views of Pikes Peak. The relatively flat terrain makes it perfect for a leisurely ride, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try connecting to Rainbow Gulch or Nichols Loop for a more challenging ride.

Both Big Meadows and Rampart Reservoirs offer more than just mountain biking. You can also enjoy hiking, fishing, and camping in these beautiful destinations. So pack your gear, grab your bike, and head out to these Western Colorado gems for an unforgettable adventure.

Pueblo Reservoir – A Summer Swimming Haven

Looking for a cool spot to beat the heat this summer? Look no further than Pueblo Reservoir. Located in Colorado’s “banana belt,” Pueblo Reservoir is the ideal destination to take a plunge and have some fun on the water this summer.

Beaches and Picnic Areas

At Pueblo Reservoir, there are several beaches with sand perfect for sunbathing, constructing castles, or just hanging out with loved ones. The designated swim beach is located near Northshore Marina, which offers easy access to restrooms and picnic areas. And with plenty of shade trees scattered around the shoreline, you can escape the sun while enjoying your packed lunch or barbeque feast.

Boating and Fishing Opportunities

For those seeking aquatic activities beyond swimming, Pueblo Reservoir offers a wide range of options for boaters. You can sail, jet ski, kayak, canoe, or even rent a pontoon boat from local marinas like North Shore Marina & RV Park. And if fishing is more your style, the reservoir is home to various fish species like walleye, bass, catfish, and trout, making it an angler’s paradise all year round. You can even book a guided fishing trip if you’re new to the area or want expert advice on catching that trophy fish.

But the fun doesn’t stop at the reservoir. You can also explore nearby attractions like Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site and the Sangre de Cristo Arts & Conference Center in Pueblo for a well-rounded vacation experience.

lakes in colorado

Sascha Brück, CC BY-SA 3.0 <Chatfield Reservoir & Eleven Mile State Park

Looking for a fishing adventure in Colorado? Check out Chatfield Reservoir and Eleven Mile State Park.

Fishing Fun at Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir, located near Littleton, is a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. Catch walleye, bass, and trout while enjoying the beautiful scenery. And if you’re looking for some extra fun, try water skiing or jet skiing with rentals available at the marinas. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and enjoy the parks and playgrounds with your family.

Wildlife and Fishing at Eleven Mile State Park

For a more secluded fishing experience, head to Eleven Mile State Park in the Rocky Mountains. At this Rocky Mountain park, you can discover over three hundred and twenty-five miles of shoreline with the potential to snag a trophy cutthroat trout. And if you’re lucky, you might spot some elk, deer, foxes, or birds while you’re there. Take a drive down Eleven Mile Canyon for some breathtaking views and a chance to see bighorn sheep grazing on the cliffsides.

Don’t miss out on these amazing fishing destinations in Colorado. And if you’re looking for more outdoor adventures, check out Skeehive for more ideas.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Lakes in Mount Zirkel Wilderness

Attention all adventurers. If you’re looking for a secluded escape from the crowds, head to Mount Zirkel Wilderness outside Westcliffe. This hidden gem is home to some of Colorado’s most stunning alpine lakes.

Discover Hidden Lakes on Hiking Trails

Get ready to explore picturesque lakes like Gilpin Lake, Gold Creek Lake, and Three Island Lake. Discover these secret spots tucked away in lush woodlands and lofty peaks, making them the ideal setting for your next outdoor escapade. Check out AllTrails for trail information and start planning your trip today.

Stay Safe While Exploring Remote Locations

  • Plan Ahead: Research your destination thoroughly before setting out on any hike or backpacking trip. Check trail conditions, weather forecasts, and potential hazards.
  • Pack Appropriately: Bring essential gear like a map and compass, extra clothing layers for changing weather conditions, and plenty of water and food supplies.
  • Tread Lightly: Practice Leave No Trace principles when exploring remote areas – pack out all trash you bring in with you.
  • In Case of Emergency: Always let someone know your planned route and expected return time before venturing into the wilderness. Carry a fully charged cell phone or satellite communication device if possible.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the beauty of Mount Zirkel Wilderness and create unforgettable memories while exploring some of Colorado’s most pristine hidden lakes.

FAQs in Relation to Lakes in Colorado

What are the 2 major lakes in Colorado?

Colorado’s largest body of water is Blue Mesa Reservoir, while Grand Lake is known for its recreational activities.

How many lakes are there in Colorado?

Colorado boasts over 4,000 natural and man-made lakes, ranging from small alpine tarns to large reservoirs.

What is the cleanest lake in Colorado?

Hanging Lake is often considered one of the cleanest lakes in Colorado due to its pristine waters fed by a waterfall, but swimming or wading is not allowed to preserve its fragile ecosystem.

Does Colorado have good lakes?

Absolutely. With numerous beautiful lakes, both natural and man-made throughout the state, travelers can enjoy scenic beauty while participating in various outdoor activities like hiking trails leading to hidden gems within Mount Zirkel Wilderness area.


Colorado’s lakes, such as Grand Lake, Twin Lakes, and Blue Mesa Reservoir, offer a plethora of recreational activities, including fishing, boating, and water skiing.

Surrounded by the stunning San Juan Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park, these lakes provide the perfect backdrop for hiking, rock climbing, and camping at Elk Creek Campground or Cottonwood Lake.

For those seeking a more relaxed experience, pontoon boats are available at Chatfield State Park, while the Gunnison River and Colorado River offer opportunities for swimming and tubing.

Summit County and Fort Collins are also home to some of the most beautiful lakes in Western Colorado, and Curecanti National Recreation Area is a must-visit for its breathtaking Blue Lakes.

So, whether you’re an adventure seeker or just looking for a peaceful escape, Colorado’s lakes have something for everyone.