Lakes in Colorado for Boating.

5 Best Lakes in Colorado for Boating

Written by Boatsetter Team
January 5, 2023

Boat docks, golden beaches, and clear blue waters make Colorado’s lakes the perfect summer getaway for boaters, fishermen, swimmers, and anyone who loves spending time in the outdoors. The Centennial State is home to some of the best lakes in the country, so whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to paddle or a lively spot for water sports, you’ll find it here. These are our five favorite picks for the best lakes in Colorado:

  1. Horsetooth Reservoir
  2. Cherry Creek Reservoir
  3. Blue Mesa Reservoir
  4. Eleven Mile Reservoir
  5. Spinney Mountain Reservoir

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1. Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir, Colorado.

Horsetooth Reservoir sits on the edge of the snuggly town of Fort Collins, Colorado. This reservoir is a hot destination in a cold place with some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains.

At this reservoir are unique rock formations visible from different points along the lake. Besides boating, visitors can enjoy fishing, cool swims, and leisurely sunning spots. For experienced hikers and campers, there’s an abundance of trails surrounding Horsetooth Reservoir, which offer breathtaking vistas overlooking the lake.

The vantage points allow hikers a chance to take in the unique beauty of this living piece of history with breathtaking views of Fort Collins and most of Northern Colorado.

Scuba divers love it here because underwater visibility is crystal clear, and many treasures can be found if you go deep!

2. Cherry Creek Reservoir

Cherry Creek Reservoir, Colorado.

Cherry Creek Reservoir is southeast of Denver and part of the Cherry Creek State Park, a critical recreation asset for the city. With nearly 880 acres of pristine water, visitors have ample opportunities for swimming and boating with several nearby boat ramps.

Several miles of nature trails entice hikers, runners, and mountain bikers for a peaceful journey across its rolling terrain. The reservoir also has great fishing spots with healthy populations of perch, bass, trout, bluegill, and catfish available to catch. There are a few campsites for your recreational use too.

With its picturesque vistas of rolling meadows and crystal shorelines, Cherry Creek Reservoir perfectly balances the around-the-clock bustle and boom of Denver with its serene and quiet atmosphere.

3. Blue Mesa Reservoir

Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado.

Blue Mesa gives boaters nearly 100 miles of shoreline to explore in one of the most beautiful regions in the United States. It’s the largest body of water in Colorado and perches 7,519 feet up in the Rockies.

Located just outside the town of Gunnison in central to southwestern Colorado, it’s a fantastic place to spend a few days on a boat, which Boatsetter can help facilitate with multi-day booking.

Fishermen rejoice! This 29-mile-long reservoir has deep canyons where water depths reach 341 feet. The lake’s center is an ideal spot for windsurfing, waterskiing, tow toys, and more. It has good breezes, ample open space, great views, and many amazing people who live and visit the area.

4. Eleven Mile Reservoir

Eleven Mile Reservoir, Colorado.

Eleven Mile Reservoir, located on the foothills of the Front Range Mountains, is a great lake to go boating in. The six-mile-long reservoir is 80 minutes west of Colorado Springs and two and a half hours southwest of Denver.

Its stunning beauty offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape; even if the fish aren’t biting, you have magnificent views to catch here!

Don’t fret; the lake is heavy with rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon, making it ideal for anglers looking to access excellent fishing opportunities.

Boaters who want to spend time in the water may go swimming here, or make a splash with tubing! Sailing and windsurfing are particularly popular here because the wind is almost always active.

Regardless of what activity you choose, Eleven Mile Reservoir is sure to provide endless outdoor recreation and breathtaking scenery that will create lasting memories.

5. Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Spinney Mountain Reservoir, Colorado.

Spinney Mountain State Park has a large reservoir (11 miles north of Eleven Mile Reservoir) that is considered one of the best-ever trout fishing spots in Colorado!

Spinney Mountain is a World Class Gold Medal Trout Fishing spot. This is a great lake to cast from a boat, shoreline fish, or fly fish.

Pro Tip: Make sure to read the Colorado Parks and Wildlife guidelines for fishing. Remember that bait fishing and snagging are prohibited. Bait fishing is considered fishing using bait that is:

“Hand-moldable material designed to attract fish by taste or smell.  Devices with scents or smell attractants added or externally applied, regardless if added during manufacturing or after.  Scented manufactured fish eggs and traditional organic baits, including but not limited to worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, minnows, dough baits, stink baits, insects, crayfish, human food, fish, fish parts or fish eggs.”

Are you ready for your amazing adventure in colorful Colorado? Make sure you snag your boat, and perhaps a captain, right away to make your trip smooth sailing.

Still, searching for your next boating trip?

Boatsetter is a unique boat-sharing platform that gives everyone — whether you own a boat or you’re just renting — the chance to experience life on the water. You can list a boat, book a boat, or make money as a captain.

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