The lakes in Northern Colorado are a thing of beauty and the perfect way to beat the summer heat. There are so many lakes near Fort Collins within a beautiful one hour drive. Here’s a handy guide so you know where to go to enjoy that Northern Colorado water!
Horsetooth Reservoir is a popular body of water in the Fort Collins area, known for its proximity to the city and secluded natural setting. Surrounded by 1,900 acres of public land, the 6.5 miles of water are filled with activity. You can go swimming, waterskiing, fishing, kayaking and more! Horsetooth Reservoir is an excellent place to go hiking and camping! A daily entrance permit is required at Horsetooth as well, costing $9 per vehicle or $18 per vehicle with a boat trailer. You can rent boats, jetskis, kayaks and stand up paddle boards at the Inlet Bay Marina. Located in Fort Collins, Colorado
Boulder Reservoir is certainly worth the drive to Boulder — for its massive size and endless options for recreation alongside and within the waters. In fact, the swim beach at the reservoir is one of the largest swimming beaches in all of Colorado with a seasonal lifeguard presence, and even includes a shallow roped-off area perfect for small children to splash around in. Head to the middle of the lake via boat if you have a boat permit — Pontoon Boat and small watercraft rentals (SUP, kayak, canoe) are available for reservation through Rocky Mountain Paddleboard. Located in Boulder, Colorado
Boyd Lake State Park
Boyd Lake State Park is a water-sports haven for northern Colorado. The lake lies at the western-most edge of the plains at the foot of snow-capped Long’s Peak and the mountains of the Continental Divide. Boyd Lake State Park has something for everyone: boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, and hunting. All types of watercraft: ski boats, fishing boats, jet skis, sailboats, canoes, use Boyd Lake’s 1,700 surface-acres of water. Boyd Lake also has a sandy beach and a pavilion for swimmers. Boyd Lake State Park also has a modern campground with 148 paved pull-through sites that can accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet in length. You can rent boats, jet skis, kayaks and stand up paddle boards at the Boyd Lake Marina. Located in Loveland, Colorado
Three miles long and about one mile wide, this beautiful 1,100-acre reservoir is surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. It’s a great place for fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, and rock climbing. Carter Lake requires entrance and camping permits, and is open year round. At 5,760 feet in elevation, it is nestled in the foothills southwest of Loveland, Colorado, and northwest of Berthoud, Colorado. You’ll need to purchase an entrance permit upon arrival, costing $9 per vehicle or $18 per vehicle and boat with a trailer. Located in Loveland, Colorado
Originally called Spirit Lake by the Ute Tribe, Grand Lake is a sacred body of water with great historical significance. Formed by glaciers less than 12,000 years ago, Grand Lake is most famous for being the largest and deepest of all the natural lakes in Colorado, covering more than 500 acres and plunging almost 400 feet deep. The lake is surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park and is fed by the Colorado River headwaters .Grand Lake is known as the Gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park. Nestled along the quaint, historic town with the same name, it’s known for its incredible views and water sports.. Visitors head to Grand Lake in the summer for kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming and much more. There are numerous beaches and it is connected to another beautiful lake: Shadow Mountain Lake. Grand Lake, Colorado
Lake Estes has a shoreline of 4 miles and 185 surface acres to the east of downtown Estes Park. At the Lake Estes Marina you can rent boats, including paddle boats, single and double kayaks, canoes, fishing boats and several pontoon boats. Or you can opt to enjoy the lake from the land with a leisurely bike ride upon one of their rented bicycles. You may even enjoy a picnic in the open-air pavilion or let the kids splash around in the marina’s wading area! Lake Estes is ringed by a 3.75-mile trail named Lake Estes Trail, perfect for taking in views of the water and the Continental Divide. Estes Park, Colorado
Today, Lake Loveland remains the ‘gem’ of the town — the center of activity and pleasure for all of Loveland and its visitors.
While the lake itself is private (the recreational rights belong to the homeowners surrounding the lake) the The South Shore offers fishing and a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. North Lake Park borders the lake’s north side and features a swim beach, fishing, park with train, playgrounds, tennis courts, racquetball courts, basketball courts, picnicking, softball fields, an amphitheater, and general outdoor fun. All public-accessible areas are managed by the City of Loveland’s Parks and Recreation Department. Located in Loveland, Colorado
Timnath Reservoir is open to Timnath residents for shore, motorized, and non-motorized boating use. Residents in our Growth Management Area (GMA) for shore and non-motorized boating use. On a limited basis, to Colorado anglers with a valid Colorado fishing license for shore and non-motorized boating use. Located in Timnath, Colorado
Take in the beauty of the gorgeous lake from the 2.25-mile Windsor Lake Trail while taking in the beauty of Longs Peak in the distance. Go swimming at the lake’s swim beach or take your dog to the dog park located on the north side of the lake. Check out the boat rentals here! Located in Windsor, Colorado
If hiking is more your thing then check out all of the best hiking trails near Fort Collins!