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3 Colorado Lakes Worth Visiting

When you think of a Colorado vacation, you might not think about hitting the beach or spending the day on a boat, but Colorado offers great lake destinations for all kinds of visitors. From beaches for swimming to world class fishing and jaw dropping scenery, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. Bring the family for a lazy day, plan a multi-day excursion as you camp along remote shorelines, or test out those sailing skills high in the Rocky Mountains. Not sure where to begin? Here are our top three lake destinations:

Grand Lake

Grand Lake Colorado

Colorado’s largest natural body of water, Grand Lake sits at the headwaters of the Colorado River. The town, which rests on the northern and western shores, has been a destination for over a century and offers access to Rocky Mountain National Park in addition to hosting dining, shopping, museums, events and theatrical productions. Around Grand Lake, the Rocky Mountains provide plenty of outdoor activities, as well, including hiking, camping, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and mountain biking. Activities on the lake are no less diverse, with swimming, water skiing and all manner of boating from kayaks and canoes to sailboats and pontoon boats. You’ll also be close to several stunning waterfalls and scenic viewing areas.

Nearest town: Grand Lake, CO

Top Local Attractions:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Trail Ridge Road
  • Snowmobiling
  • Grand Lake Golf Course
  • Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre
  • Hot Sulphur Springs

Best Time to Visit:

Late June through August

Where to Stay:

In Town: several lodges and inns can be found in the town of Grand Lake, providing easy access to dining and shopping while keeping you close to the shore.
Lakeside Cabins: Want to experience something a little more remote? Consider reserving a cabin beside the lake. Some properties are stand-alone options with plenty of privacy while other are part of local ranches and provide more amenities.

Available Activities at the Lake:

  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Boating/ Sailing
  • Historic boardwalk
  • Adams Falls
  • Beach
  • Marina
  • Wildlife/ Bird Watching

Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison CO

Blue Mesa Reservoir

Colorado’s largest lake, Blue Mesa Reservoir is a destination for boaters each summer and fishermen year round. Its 96 miles of shoreline encompass two full service marinas as well as campgrounds, RV parks, and a restaurant. The reservoir is bordered by Black Canyon National Park and encompassed by the Curecanti National Recreation Area, offering plenty of hiking, biking, whitewater rafting and camping in addition to fishing and boating.

Nearest town: Gunnison, CO

Top Local Attractions:

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison
  • Taylor River Canyon
  • Ghost Towns
  • Crystal Mill
  • The Castles

Best Time to Visit:

June through August

Where to Stay:

Camp: The National Park Service maintains multiple campgrounds that offer tent camping with amenities in addition to backcountry camping and boat-in camping. Privately run RV parks can also be found.

Available Activities at the Lake:

  • Fishing
  • Boating (Fishing Boats, Pontoon Boats, Sailboats)
  • Boat Tours
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Marinas
  • Wildlife/ Bird Watching

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake Glenwood Springs

If your first thought when picture a lake in Colorado is a remote alpine pool tucked away among the mountains, then Hanging Lake is a can’t-miss destination. While the lake does not offer swimming, beaching, boating, or fishing, it is arguably the most gorgeous spot in Colorado. Located just outside of Glenwood Springs, visitors park in a small lot just off of Interstate 70, then traverse a short but steep hiking trail to reach their destination. Hanging Lake is perched on a cliff a little over 1000 feet above the parking area. The crystal clear waters reveal schools of fish and lush, green water plants. Bring your camera – the views are spectacular and hiking a short distance past the lake will take you to a unique water spout out of the cliff face.

Nearest town: Glenwood Springs, CO

Top Local Attractions:

  • Hot Springs
  • Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
  • Biking
  • Ziplining
  • Fishing

Best Time to Visit:

June and September

Where to Stay:

In town: The town of Glenwood Springs has a wide variety of hotels and motels, as well as local hot springs with lodging

Available Activities at the Lake:

  • Photography/ Scenery
  • Hiking
  • Small Boardwalk

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