One of the many perks to being a resident of Colorado is that no matter where you’re living throughout the state, you’re almost always just a short drive away from a gorgeous lake.
Whether your passion is swimming, fishing, water skiing, boating, walking or more, all sorts of incredible outdoor activities can be experienced at these amazing lakes. Ranging in size and depth, all 12 of these Colorado lakes have extraordinary things to offer.
Here is a list of 12 best lakes in Colorado to visit:
#1 Lake San Cristobal
Lake San Cristobal is the second largest natural lake in the U.S. state of Colorado. The town of Lake City, a few miles to the north, is named after Lake San Cristobal.
The lake in the U.S. state of Colorado. The town of Lake City, a few miles to the north, is named after Lake San Cristobal. The cool waters are home to abundant and large trout, making it an ideal place for either shore or boat fishing.
It is also close to the Handies Peak and Redcloud Peak Wilderness Areas, to the fourteeners there, and to other hiking trails.
#2 Lake Isabel
Lake Isabel is located within the San Isabel National Forest in Pueblo County and Custer County. The lake is mainly open to fishing year around and is regularly stocked by the Colorado Department of Wildlife.
Lake Isabelle is drained every year in late July, therefore call the Boulder Ranger district to make sure the lake will be full for your hike.
#3 Trappers Lake
Trappers Lake is known as the “Cradle of Wilderness.” The lake is roughly a mile and a half (2.4 km) long and half a mile (800 m) wide-reaching depths of 180 feet (55 m). Trappers Lake is home to a self-sustaining population of Colorado River cutthroats. It is the second-largest natural lake in Colorado after Grand Lake.
Since 1914, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has stripped eggs and sperm from the spring spawners and raised the resulting fry in its hatcheries.
#4 Ruedi Reservoir
Located approximately 14 miles east of Basalt, Colorado in White River National Forest, Mollie B White River Campground sits adjacent to the Ruedi Reservoir at an elevation just under 7,800 feet.
Recreation facilities consist of 4 campgrounds accommodating 81 campsites and 2 boat-launching ramps. For hikers and bikers, the Ruedi Trail, located north of the reservoir, climbs to the top of Red Table Mountain.
#5 Chatfield Reservoir
Chatfield Reservoir and dam on the South Platte River south of Littleton, Colorado were built by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers as a response to the disastrous flood of 1965.
The reservoir has the capacity to store more than 350,000 acre-feet of floodwaters from the South Platte River and Plum Creek. The reservoir is surrounded by Chatfield State Park, a peaceful recreation area with boating, horseback riding, and camping.
#6 Bear Lake
If you are visiting Colorado and looking for a high variety of trails or just a good place to start your vacation, this is one of the best places in the state.
Bear Lake is a scenic trailhead and destination in Rocky Mountain National Park. Several trails, from easy strolls to strenuous hikes, start from the lake. Furthermore, the Bear Lake Road is open year round, though it may temporarily close due to adverse weather conditions.
#7 Horsetooth Reservoir
Located in the foothills west of Fort Collins at an elevation of 5,430 feet, Horsetooth Reservoir is 1,900 acres of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land.
Horsetooth Reservoir takes its name from Horsetooth Mountain, a summit in the foothills west of the southern end of the reservoir. This reservoir has it all: camping, fishing, boating, picnicking, scuba diving, swimming, rock climbing, and water skiing.
#8 Dream Lake
The lake is accessed via the popular Bear Lake trailhead and is at the base of Hallett’s Peak. It is well known for its stunning views caused by surrounding steep cliffs, and a favorite destination for casual hiking.
In the early morning hours, Dream Lake is a vision straight out of a fairytale. This 2.2-mile, out-and-back hike starts at the Bear Lake trailhead and passes Nymph Lake along the way.
#9 Dillon Reservoir
Completed in December 1963, Dillon Reservoir is the largest water storage facility in the Denver Water system. The Reservoir has a capacity of 257,304 acre ft., and the Dam has a storage capacity of 254,036 acre ft.
Popular ski areas are close to the reservoir, including Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Keystone, and Breckenridge.
#10 Lake Granby
Generally less crowded than Grand Lake, Granby offers easy access to the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. On its own, Lake Granby contains approximately 40 miles of shoreline.
Granby is brimming with exciting outdoor activities to enjoy all summer long like hiking, world-class golfing, rafting, mountain biking, boating, horseback riding, and hunting.
#11 Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir is one of Colorado’s top scenic destinations located in Western Colorado, near the town of Gunnison. Boaters love the 29-mile-long reservoir, which has several arms that lead into secluded canyons.
Close to the park, attractions include the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
#12 Hanging Lake
This lake is absolutely stunning. It is a difficult 1.2-mile hike to get there but well worth the effort. Hanging Lake is a rare example of a lake formed by travertine deposition where the natural hydrologic and geologic processes continue to operate as they have done for thousands of years.
A walkway surrounds the lake, from which you can gaze into its hypnotic waters and spy the native trout frittering within. References