The state of Colorado has a lot to offer, but an ocean isn’t one of them. Nonetheless, boaters in Colorado have plenty of places to find boating fun all across the state, with our lakes, reservoirs, state and local parks.
Here are five great places to put in, and all of them are not that far from the greater Denver metro area.
Chatfield State Park, located on the southwest fringes of the metro Denver area, is a popular summertime spot for boaters, hikers, campers, hot-air balloonists ...even model airplane flyers!
There are two public launching spots, one on the northwest shore (eight launch lanes and four courtesy docks) and one on the southeast shore (two launch lanes and one courtesy dock).
The 1,400-acre lake is often very busy during the summer months, and the large central portion of the reservoir is the “Power Zone” for fast boating and waterskiing. There are other no-wake portions of the lake for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and floating picnics.
There is one full-service marina on the lake with slip rentals, boat rentals and a full-service restaurant.
Just five miles outside the town of Granby, this 7,200-acre lake is Colorado’s third largest and one of the highest (8,280 feet elevation) in the world.
Boaters will enjoy the more than 40 miles of shoreline, the amazing mountain views all around, and the wildlife on display. The lake is surrounded by the Arapahoe National Forest and the Indian Peaks Wilderness areas. A quick note on your boat’s propeller pitch, due to the elevation at Granby Lake, changing to a lower pitch prop will provide better performance.
Granby Lake is a favorite with fishermen: the lake is continually stocked with trout and kokanee salmon. There are several marinas on the lake, and several launch sites. Also in the area: Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake.
Note: Because of the elevation, changing to a lower pitch prop will provide better performance.
Boyd Lake State Park, just northeast of Loveland and about an hour north of Denver, contains the 1,700-acre Boyd Lake, a family-friendly place for boating, fishing, camping, picnics, swimming, hiking, and birdwatching.
There are two boat launch ramps on this lake, one, at Heron Cove to the north, is reserved for jet skis and sailboats only. The main, six-lane launch, is near the marina.
The Boyd Lake Marina offers overnight slips and moorings and boat rentals (wave runners, pontoons, fishing boats, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats).
Boyd Lake is a popular spot with shoreline and boat anglers for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, catfish, crappie, perch, rainbow trout and walleye.
Located along Interstate 70 between Keystone and Copper Mountain, this 3,200-acre reservoir is a main water source for the city of Denver. But boaters enjoy its pristine waters and 25 miles of shoreline for the views of the Ten Mile Range, the weather and the fun. Like Granby Lake, due to elevation at Lake Dillon, changing to a lower pitch prop will provide better performance.
The Dillon Marina is the main launch point with its public boat ramp, slips, boat and kayak rentals, sailing school, full service store and more.
The fishing is great here, as fly fishing, trolling and charters go after the lake’s rainbow and brown trout and the kokanee salmon.
This 700-acre recreation hotspot boasts fun events all summer long, a popular swim beach, water skiing, fishing and spectacular views of Boulder's famous Flatiron Mountains.
The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, but other species include black crappie, bluegill and channel catfish.
There is a public boat ramp with restrooms not far from the public beach.