With Denver’s fast-growing and busy conurbation, it can be hard to believe when we tell people that this area has some of the best boating grounds of any big city in the country. But it’s true! Whether you trailer your boat north, south or up into the Rockies, it doesn’t take long to find one of this area’s beautiful lakes and reservoirs, most with convenient boat ramps, waters teeming with fish, comfortable campgrounds and the kind of drop-dead scenery that makes boating here in Colorado such a joy.

For those customers new to this area, or for those looking to expand their boating experiences this summer, here are some of our favorite nearby lakes and reservoirs you can visit this season.

Boyd Lake State Park, Loveland

Boyd Lake is a state park and a water-sports mecca for northern Colorado. Located just outside Loveland in the shadow of Long’s Peak, the park offers boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking and hunting…in other words, the full Colorado!

Boyd Lake State Park has three boat ramps providing access to the 1,700-acre lake. The six-lane Main Ramp is located near the Marina and swimming beach; the two-lane Heron Cove ramp is just north of the picnic area and the Deep Water ramp is accessible only when lake levels permit.

There are 148 paved campground sites. For reservation information, call (800) 244-5613.

Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins

This popular recreation site attracts more than a million visitors a year, so plan to arrive early or in the late afternoon to make sure you can find a parking place!

There are 1,900 acres of surface water in the reservoir, surrounded by more than 2,000 acres of public land, and it’s a popular destination for boaters, fishermen, skiers and more. The reservoir is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to divert and preserve water resources on the east slope.

There are three public boat ramps within the Horsetooth Area, open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the summer. Every vessel entering Horsetooth Reservoir or Carter Lake must be inspected for ANS.

For more information, contact the Information Center at (970) 498-5610.

Carter Lake, Loveland

Southwest of the city of Loveland, Carter Lake is a 1,100 acre reservoir surrounded by 1,000 acres of public land, offering great fishing, boating, water skiing, as well as camping, picnicking, swimming and rock climbing.

There are 151 campsites in 5 campgrounds, a public marina on the lake’s north end, hiking trails and beaches. Fishermen will catch rainbow trout, kokanee, brown trout, splake, walleye, yellow perch, bluegill, salmon and largemouth bass.

There are three boat ramps on the lake: one at the Marina, the North Pines ramp and the South Shore ramp. All are open all summer.

For information, contact the Marina at (970) 667-1062.

Cherry Creek Lake, Aurora

Cherry Creek Lake is a popular recreation facility in Aurora, not far from Denver. The Cherry Creek Dam was built in the 1950s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help control flooding on the South Platte River. The lake has a water surface of 880 acres and is stocked with rainbow trout, black crappie and walleye.

There are two public boat ramps on the lake, east and west sides, open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Paddle boards, kayaks, boats and jet skis are all permitted on the lake. There are hiking and biking trails and campsites for rent. For information, call (800) 244-5613.

Chatfield Lake, Littleton

Chatfield Reservoir and Dam are located on the South Platte River, and is a popular boating destination about 20 miles southeast of Denver. The lake is situated inside Chatfield State Park, a 5,800-acre nature preserve and recreation area.

The lake is open to power boats, sail boats, jet skis and water skiing. The lake is stocked with various species, including bass, trout, bluegill, and walleye. There are 197 campsites, some with full hookups, 26 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding; picnic areas and a swimming beach.

The Chatfield Marina offers boat rentals, including fishing boats, pontoons and kayaks.

There are two boat ramps in the park, the North ramps, with eight lanes and four courtesy docks, on the northwest side of the lake; and the South ramps, with two lanes and one dock, on the southeast side of the reservoir.

For information, call the marina office at (303) 791-5555.

Lake Pueblo, Pueblo County

The Lake Pueblo State Park, south of Colorado Springs just off I-25, contains a 4600-surface area lake that is very popular with boaters and fishermen. Boaters enjoy motoring, sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding and wakesurfing. Species in the lake include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, crappie, bluegill, wiper, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, rainbow trout, carp, gizzard shad and white suckers.

There are some 200 campsites, including RV hookups and tent sites, a swimming beach, and miles of hiking trails.

Lake Pueblo State Park contains two full-service marinas: Pueblo and Spinny Park, and there’s a fully staffed visitor’s center with restrooms and maps.

For information, call (719) 561-9320.

Grand Lake/Shadow Mountain Lake

Originally called Spirit Lake by the Utes, Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake is the largest and deepest of all natural lakes in Colorado, covering more the 500 acres and plunging more than 400 feet, The connected lakes are surrounded on three sides by the Rocky Mountain National Park and is fed by the headwaters of the Colorado River.

Grand Lake, Colorado is the picturesque town on the lake’s banks that is a popular summer destination for boaters and tourists alike, full of shops, restaurants, and fun events all summer long.

Boaters will find public boat ramps at the Green Ridge Site on the south end of Shadow Mountain Lake, or by the East Inlet Trailhead parking area on Grand Lake, just outside the town. The Headwaters Marina in Grand Lake also offers rentals of fishing boats, pontoons, paddleboats and kayaks.

For more information about the town and its recreational amenities, visit gograndlake.com