If you are a water baby and love swimming, lakes in Colorado for swimming can be your playground with heaps of lakes to discover. Not to mention all the water sports and activities there are to do in and around the scenic lakes.
You can go sailing, fishing, paddle boarding and hike around the lakes if you don’t want to get wet. Go for a day trip or a few days of camping if you have time.
Colorado has over 4,000 natural and artificial lakes, including massive bodies of water and little lakes that are quaint and charming. Here is a list of the best lakes in Colorado for swimming. Have fun and be safe!
Let’s start with the biggest natural body of H2O in Colorado with the beautiful Grand Lake. You will be swimming on top of the world as this pristine lake is at an elevation of 8,369 feet and is surrounded by the famous Rocky Mountains.
You can go swimming in Grand Lake and really connect with nature as you glide through the blue waters. If you want to go onto the lake by boat and dive off the side to go swimming, you can go to Grand Lake Marina and arrange a trip.
Waterskiing, wakeboarding and paddleboarding are some of the water sports available. The fishing is good too.
As with many iconic places, Grand Lake has been given some additional names. It is often called the Western Gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park and also the snowmobiling capital of Colorado, which could be relevant if you return in winter.
Around the lake, there are cabins to rent and a historical boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants and art galleries. The small town of Grand Lake is also nearby if you need to grab supplies or want to explore to see how the locals live.
One of our favourite lakes in Colorado for swimming is Lake Granby. After you see the gorgeous Grand Lake, if you have time, it’s not far from Lake Granby.
If you are into fishing, as well as swimming, this is one of the luckiest spots around to catch fresh fish for dinner, according to the keen fishermen who return every summer.
You might be cooking fresh trout or salmon over the campfire that evening and if you don’t catch anything, you have Granby Town nearby for food supplies.
Established in 1950, around the time Granby Dam was constructed, Lake Granby is the third biggest mass of water in Colorado. It is very photogenic and awe-inspiring, so definitely worth a visit.
Not far from beautiful Lake Granby, you can take a four-mile hike to Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Any easy hike to the lovely lake, refreshing swim and walk back with lots of photos and nature spotting along the way makes a perfect day trip.
Pack a picnic or at least take lots of snacks and drinks because it’s a remote spot.
Locals are very proud of their lakes, and you might find many claim their lakes in Colorado for swimming, fishing, boating, and other water fun. Boulder Reservoir is a place you will meet locals and travellers from near and far.
Indeed the swimming in Boulder Reservoir is sublime and you will be taking a long dip to make the most of the freshwater.
Other great lake in Colorado for swimming and with a charming name is Steamboat Lake in northwest Colorado. Situated at the base of Hahn’s Peak, you can find cabins and yurts to stay in all year round.
Swimming is best in the summer months and after your fix of splashing around in the pretty lake, you can go jet skiing, fishing, boating, paddle boarding and canoeing.
The hiking around Steamboat Lake is pretty epic, and you can also go horseback riding and mountain biking if you are the adventurous type.
What a romantic name! If you are a couple travelling, you might like to visit Dream Lake for the name and excellent swimming conditions. Based inside the Rocky Mountain National Park, the lake reflects hues of pink and purple as the sunrises.
Sleeping in isn’t an option. So it will be an early morning swim to wake up, then a lot of photos of this lovely colourful lake, then maybe a hike before breakfast. The hiking trails suit beginners to intermediate levels of fitness and are also suitable for families with children.
You can start at Bear Lake trailhead and will pass Nymph Lake before coming to Dream Lake. In total, the hike is just over two miles.
The hike is worth it when you reach Crater Lake, as it might be one of the most stunning lakes you’ve ever seen. You can head to Aspen and get directions to Crater Lake from there. Not far out of town, you embark on the hike the is nearly four miles long in total.
The hike is rewarded by a swim in the glassy-looking water with a picturesque backdrop of mountains that will take your breath away. We recommend you go in summer or fall, so the water isn’t too cold and before the first snowfall.
Look out for fox, moose, elk and deer as you make your way along the scenic route.
Make a splash as you dive into the blue waters of Horsetooth Reservoir in Colorado, near Fort Collins. Look for Swim Beach, which is a safe rea for swimming and look out for boaters, water-skiers and people fishing when you swim in other parts of the manmade lake.
You might like to rent a boat or see the lake from a kayak or paddleboard, which you can rent from the local marina for a minimal cost. Horsetooth Reservoir is also a lovely area for camping and there are cabins for rent too.
Between swimming, you can bask in the sun, catch up on some reading and have a good chat with the locals. It’s the perfect place for a chilled-out summer vacation.
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado’s largest body of water and a manmade lake with nearly 100 miles of pretty shoreline. This artificial reservoir sits on the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, Colorado.
It is a fantastic spot for swimmers. There are two marinas at Blue Mesa Reservoir, with powerboat, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards rentals.
The water is clean and fresh and so exhilarating when you first start swimming. This destination is often featured in travel magazines and blogs.
Love Lakeland Swim Beach
Made for swimming, the Love Lakeland Swim Beach is great for swimming and has a lifeguard on duty in the summertime. This pretty Colorado destination is absolutely gorgeous and quite often gets busy because it’s so nice.
Pack a picnic or grab a meal at the local restaurant that is always busy with locals and tourists who appreciate the delicious food.
Lake San Cristobal
Welcome to Colorado’s second-biggest natural lake that is a glorious place to go swimming. Morning as the sun is rising and sunsets are opportunities to capture Instagram-worthy photos, and if you have an underwater camera to take swimming, you can get some really creative shots.
You will be sharing the lake waters with all kinds of trout and water lovers, fishing, kayaking, canoes, and paddleboarding. In nearby Lake City, you can find rentals for water sports gear and get a fishing license if you want to catch dinner.
Colorado has so many lakes that it is almost impossible to visit them all unless you live in the state or have a lot of vacations. If you are doing a road trip, map out your path carefully and allow plenty of time for sightseeing and swimming because these places are just so beautiful.
Some take a little effort to reach and who knows when you might be back, so make the most of each place by spending as much time there as possible.
Here are some more lakes in Colorado for swimming that are beautiful.
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