With the sizzle of summer temperatures, you might want to cool off at a lake. Travel journalist and meteorologist Jennifer Broome is constantly exploring Colorado and shares some of her favorite aqua adventure spots you might want to visit.
Here’s the list starting from one less than 30 minutes from downtown Denver to some that would make a great weekend getaway:
Close to Denver
Barr Lake State Park – Fishing and boating are allowed on the northern half of the lake. The southern half of the lake is a nature preserve with boardwalks and gazebos. It is one of the best places in the state to see eagles year round.
Alternatives to Uber Popular Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Easy Access: Lake Irene – This one is easy to get to since it is right off Trail Ridge Road. It has a wonderful picnic area and an easy 0.5-mile loop around the lake. It is close to Milner Pass, which is a great area to potentially see moose.
More Challenging: Sandbeach Lake – Located in the Wild Basin area of RMNP, this is a 9-mile round trip hike with almost 2,000-foot elevation gain. Because it takes some effort to get there, there are no crowds on its wide and sandy shoreline. You can camp, fish, and swim here.
Iconic Lake Destination
Grand Lake – This is the deepest and largest natural lake in the state. It’s located on the west side of RMNP. Rent a kayak or paddleboard for a paddling adventure. You can also go boating, swimming, and fishing.
Lesser-known Lake Destination
Lake Isabel – This lake is in San Isabel National Forest between Rye and Beulah right on Highway 165 along the extension of Frontier Pathways National Scenic Byway. It is in the Wet Mountains, which are a sub-range of Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Non-motorized boating and fishing are allowed.
What about hiking to a lake?
Easy – Lily Pad Lake in Silverthorne
Moderate – Whitney Lake near Vail
Hard – Cathedral Lake near Aspen
What if you don’t want to hike but still see alpine lakes?
UTV/OHV on Alpine Loop from Silverton – rent UTV in town, see Animas Forks, go over 2 passes, and see multiple pristine alpine lakes.