best boating lakes in colorado

Best Boating Lakes in Colorado: The 5 Most Amazing Spots

If you want to be with nature, regardless of the season or time of day, then the state of Colorado should definitely be on your priority list of destinations to visit. Colorado is known for its beautiful landscapes, its diverse flora and fauna, and several trails, paths, and resorts that people from all walks of life flock to in order to enjoy activities such as hiking, skiing, biking, and horse riding. Just like all other aspects of the state, the best boating lakes in Colorado do not disappoint.

If you would like to know more about the most famous and underrated boating lakes and destinations in Colorado, then prepare yourself for this high-altitude guide!

Our Most Recommended Boating Lakes and Destinations in Colorado

1. Grand Lake

grand lake

Attributed with the recognition for being the deepest and largest natural lake, Grand Lake is definitely a sight to behold.

This lake, situated within the jurisdiction of Grand County, Colorado, was formed at least 11,700 years ago during the Pinedale glaciation period.

According to surveys, the surface area of this lake is approximately 507 acres with a maximum depth of roughly 400 feet.

As a tourist destination, Grand Lake is advertised as a location that has a little bit of everything for everyone. The most noteworthy activities that can be done in this destination are the following:

  • Snowmobiling
  • Skiing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Nature treks
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • ATV tours
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Camping
  • Museum tours
  • State Park visits

There are several good fish species that reside in this body of water, including the following:

  • Mackinaw
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Brook trout
  • Lake trout

2. Horsetooth Reservoir

horsetooth reservoir

If you fancy a more barren or desert-like environment, then Horsetooth Reservoir is arguably one of the best man-made lakes and destinations to visit in Colorado.

Known by locals as Horsetooth, this artificial lake is located within the boundary of Larimer County, Colorado. It spans approximately 6 miles in length and half a mile in width and has a reported maximum depth of 200 feet.

Surrounded by four massive dams (Horsetooth Dam, Soldier Canyon Dam, Dixon Canyon Dam, and Spring Canyon Dam), this reservoir serves several practical purposes but is also known as a great tourist attraction for both local folks and people from other states.

There are several activities and services that could be availed of in this destination, including the following:

  • Picnicking
  • Biking
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Boating
  • Diving
  • Fishing
  • Nature treks

The fish species that populate this man-made lake include the following:

  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye
  • Bluegill
  • Black crappie
  • Brown trout
  • White bass
  • Yellow perch

3. Lake Granby

lake granby

Lake Granby is a result of the completed dam project (Granby Dam) in the year 1950 and is yet another man-made lake that is located specifically in Grand County Colorado.

According to measurements, the maximum depth of this lake is approximately 220 feet with a surface elevation of roughly 8,000 feet.

Although there are not as many attractions and amenities offered in this destination, this lake is home to one of the most exclusive and successful yacht clubs (Lake Granby Yacht Club) in the United States. Other activities that can be done here include:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Golfing
  • Mountain biking
  • Horseback riding
  • Skiing

This destination is stocked with several unique fish species that can be caught, including the following:

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Brown trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Lake trout
  • Cutthroat trout
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Cutbow trout

4. Blue Mesa Reservoir

blue mesa reservoir

Another artificial lake worth mentioning is the lovely Blue Mesa Reservoir, located in the upper portion of Gunnison County Colorado.

This lake is considered to be the largest lake that is located exclusively within the state of Colorado and was a result of the construction of the Blue Mesa Dam which was a project that was accomplished in the year 1966 for the purpose of generating power or electricity.

The reported surface area of Blue Mesa Reservoir is approximately 9,200 acres, with a surface elevation measurement of around 7,500 feet.

There are several activities and attractions found within and around the location, including the following:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • River tours
  • National Forest tours
  • State Park visits
  • Museum tours
  • Observatory visits
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Nature treks
  • Children's parks

This reservoir is stocked with several aquatic flora and fauna, including the following fish species:

  • Sockeye salmon
  • Brown trout
  • Lake trout
  • Rainbow trout
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Brook trout
  • Native cutthroat
  • Yellow perch

5. Lake San Cristobal

lake san cristobal

Last but not least is Lake San Cristobal (alternatively known as San Cristobal Lake), identified as the second-largest natural body of water in Colorado. It is known to be a beautiful long-term vacation spot for families looking to unwind and get away from the commitments and responsibilities of life even just for a couple of days or weeks.

Situated in the San Juan mountain region, and positioned at an elevation of an astounding 9,000 feet, this lake, owing its name to Saint Christian (a martyr who gave his life during the Roman times in the third century) is one of the most peaceful and serene lakes you would ever be able to visit in the state of Colorado.

This lake has a surface area of around 0.5 square miles and a maximum depth of around 90 feet.

Aside from taking the nature in (especially during sunsets) and being away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Lake San Cristobal offers the following outdoor activities:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking

There are several great fishing spots in this lake. The most notable fish species that can be caught in this location are the following:

  • Rainbow trout
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Lake trout
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Cutthroat trout

Conclusion

Mountains, forests, canyons, desert areas, and a whole host of other landscapes are just as good as the best boating lakes in Colorado. If you have been thinking of taking your friends, family, or even just yourself to be awestruck by the wonderful nature-based attractions of the state of Colorado, then take this as a sign for you to do it as soon as possible! There is no better time than now so make the necessary preparations and safety precautions and book a trip to the centennial state sooner rather than later!

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