Boating Lakes in Colorado

There’s nothing quite like spending the day on a boat out on a lake. Whether you’re planning on fishing, exploring, or relaxing you can find what you’re looking in Colorado’s beautiful lakes. The state is home to more than 4,000 lakes that cover almost 250,000 acres, so lake lovers in Colorado have plenty of options to choose from. But to save you time we’ve looked the best lakes in Colorado for boating. These six lakes have something for every boating enthusiast, from beginners looking to rent a boat to boat owners who practically live on the lake. Read on, and you’ll find a lake that suits your needs.

Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir Colorado Boating

  • Surface Area: 1,500 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 154 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 20 miles

While Colorado is home to plenty of natural lakes, you’ll find that some of the best places to go boating are the state’s human-made reservoir. The Chatfield Reservoir, also known as Chatfield lake, was created by the Army Corps in 1966 to help control flooding in the area. But a happy side effect of this decision was the creation of one of the state’s best boating destinations. Anyone who wants to go out on the lake or bring their own boat or rent boats on site. The Chatfield Marina handles motorized boats while Colorado Water Sports rents smaller, human-powered boats. The area is currently being updated to expand the size of the lake and bring its facilities into the 21st century. The changes will add 500 more acres to its surface area and 12 feet to its depth. In summation, the Chatfield Reservoir is a great place to visit now and it looks like it’s going to keep getting better as it grows in the coming years.

Grand Lake

Grand Lake Colorado Boating

  • Surface Area: 507 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 265 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 100 miles

If you’re looking for a large and yet completely natural lake, then Grand Lake is the place to be in Colorado. This glacial lake is the largest natural lake in Colorado in terms of surface area, depth, and total water volume. The lake itself is gorgeous, but the scenery surrounding the lake is just as beautiful. The lake is situated in Rocky Mountain National Park, and so you can always look out over the waters and see gorgeous mountains rising up above the blue depths of Grand Lake. Anyone who doesn’t have their own boat can rent or charter a boat at the Grand Lake Marina. So whether you’re an experienced boat owner or looking to go out for the first time, Grand Lake is a fantastic boating destination.

Cherry Creek Reservoir

Cherry Creek Reservoir Boating in Colorado

  • Surface Area: 850 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 46 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 10 miles

Anyone looking for boating excitement close to Denver should seriously consider a trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir. This lake combines size and convenience. It can take less than 20 minutes to get from downtown Denver to this 3.25-mile long lake. Cherry Creek Reservoir as we know it today was created when the Cherry Creek Dam was created in 1950. Rental pontoons are available at The Marina at Cherry Creek, alongside non-motorized options for people who want to take things a little slower.

Granby Lake

Lake Granby Colorado Boating

  • Surface Area: 7,250 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 221 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 90 miles

With a shore that stretches on for 40 miles and a total surface area of more than 7,000 acres, Lake Granby is truly a sight to behold. The modern Lake Granby was created along with the Granby Dam in 1950, but the lake had a boating presence even before it grew with the dam’s creation. Since 1902 the lake has been home to the Lake Granby Yacht club. The club is home to Colorado’s most committed sailboat racers. If you’re not looking to join a yacht club, you can rent or charter a boat at the Indian Peaks Marina, Beacon Landing Marina, or Highland Marina. With a lake the size of Lake Granby, there are plenty of options to choose from!

Sloan’s Lake

Sloans Lake Colorado Boating

  • Surface Area: 177 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 8 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 0 miles

Most of the time you have to leave the big city to experience true boating, but Denver is one of the few major landlocked cities where you can have some serious boating fun. Sloan’s lake is one of the only options for boating in Denver where boating enthusiasts can head out on both motorized and non-motorized boats. The boating season usually lasts from the first of April until the first of November, but anyone interested in boating on Sloan lake should check in advance because these dates are subject to change depending on the circumstances. The lake is relatively small and shallow, reaching only 8 feet of depth! Still, boating may be possible as long as proper arrangements are made with the Sloan’s Lake Boating office.

Shadow Mountain Lake

Shadow Mountain Lake Colorado Boating

  • Surface Area: 1,345 acres
  • Lowest Depth: 24 feet
  • Miles from Denver: 100 miles

The lake is named after the mountain that overlooks it, Shadow Mountain. There’s something magical about boating under the watchful eye of that majestic mountain. It’s the sister lake of Grand Lake, and the two bodies of water are continuous, with nothing but a few gates separating the two. Still, the Shadow Mountain Lake has a character all its own. It’s much larger than Grand Lake, though the water is more shallow. Its spaciousness means there’s plenty of room to stretch out and explore even in the busy season. Anyone who wants to rent a boat on Shadow Mountain Lake can do so at the Trail Ridge Marina since boats rented on the Grand Lake side cannot be taken over into the Shadow Mountain Area.