May 24  |  Our Communities


12 Places to Go Boating in Northern Colorado This Summer

We already know Northern Colorado is a haven for outdoor recreation. It’s the birthplace of modern bouldering, located just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park and is home to countless natural areas and parks. During the summer months, those parks turn into summer getaways — especially for boaters, kayakers and paddle boarders.

If you’re a boating or fishing aficionado already, you’ve probably heard of Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park and Carter Lake, but our list has 12 boating destinations total! So keep reading to find out where you can get on the water with both your motorized and non-motorized watercrafts. Enjoy!

 

Horsetooth Reservoir | Fort Collins

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Boating in Fort Collins Loveland Estes Park Northern Colorado

Six and one-half miles of water surrounded by 1,900 acres of public lands makes Horsetooth Reservoir one of our favorite recreation destinations in Northern Colorado. Both on water and off, recreation includes fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing and water skiing.

If you don’t have your own watercraft, Inlet Bay Marina is a rental facility located on the southwest end of the reservoir. For more than 20 years, this family-owned shop has been providing rentals and information for motorized and non-motorized excursions alike!

Before you go boating with your motorized watercraft, it must be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species. For more information, including exceptions and inspection hours, click here.

 

Boyd Lake State Park | Loveland

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Boasting 1,700 acres of water, Boyd Lake allows all types of watercraft, including ski boats, fishing boats, jet skis, sailboats, canoes and kayaks. Swimmers can also enjoy the water from the sandy beach and the campground is home to 148 paved, pull-through sites that can accommodate vehicles up to 40 feet in length.

Boat registration is offered through the Visitor Center; you can get further information on that here.

 

Carter Lake | Loveland

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Boating in Fort Collins Northern Colorado

Located just southwest of Loveland and northwest of Berthoud, Carter Lake is a 1,100-acre reservoir surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. At three miles long and about one mile wide, the park is the ideal destination for fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving and even rock climbing!

Before you go boating with your motorized watercraft, it must be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species. For more information, including exceptions and inspection hours, click here.

 

Pinewood Reservoir | Loveland

Get directions | Park info | Non-motorized allowed

This picturesque 100-acre reservoir is located just a few miles northwest of Carter Lake. The water is surrounded by 327 acres of public lands and the water allows for hand-launched rafts, kayaks, float tubes, canoes, windsurfer boards, sailboards, stand-up paddleboards, inner tubes and the like.

 

Windsor Lake | Windsor

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Located at Boardwalk Park in Downtown Windsor, Windsor Lake offers a dog park, a swim beach, fishing and both motorized and non-motorized boating. Kayak, hobie board, paddle board, canoe and aqua trike rentals are available on site and you can see the hours here. Outside of these rentals, all watercraft must have a current Town of Windsor permit to use the lake. For details on how to get your permit and what it will cost, click here.

 

West Lake | Red Feather Lakes

Get directions | Park info | Non-motorized allowed

Boating in Fort Collins Northern Colorado

Located near Red Feather Lakes, West Lake is a 25-acre, no-wake boating option surrounded by other nature, camping and hiking opportunities. Boating is restricted to small watercraft powered by hand, wind or electricity. So bring your kayaks, sailboats and other non-motorized watercraft for a relaxing day on the water!

 

Dowdy Lake | Red Feather Lakes

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Dowdy Lake is a larger, 115-acre, no-wake lake, located just northeast of West Lake. Motorized boats are allowed on the lake but a 10 MPH speed limit is enforced. Feel free to bring your hiking boots to explore and your fishing poles to catch brown, brook, cutthroat and lake trout!

 

Timnath Reservoir | Timnath

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Timnath Reservoir is a haven for residents of this small NoCo town. Available to Timnath residents and their guests only, Surface Use permits allow for motorized and non-motorized boating, fishing from a boat, water skiing and swimming from a boat. Learn more and apply for your permit here.

 

Lake Estes | Estes Park

Get directions | Park info | Motorized + non-motorized allowed

Boating in Loveland Northern Colorado

Located on the Big Thompson River, Lake Estes has a shoreline of about 4 miles and a surface area of 185 acres. With the Lake Estes Marina on-site, this is your one-stop shop for water fun during the summer! The marina store rents kayaks, paddle boards, paddle boats, canoes, 10-person pontoon boats, rods, reels and more. The store also sells fishing supplies, snacks, souvenirs and State of Colorado fishing licenses so you can make a full day of it!

For a full list of boating regulations and hours, click here.

 

Dixon Reservoir | Fort Collins  

Get directions | Park info | Non-motorized allowed

Surrounded by the wilderness, birding and hiking paradise that is Pineridge Natural Area, Dixon Reservoir is a popular choice for fishing and non-motorized boating. All 44 acres of water are stocked with bluegill, channel catfish and black crappie so grab your poles, your paddles and your kayak and hit the water!

 

Seaman Reservoir | Fort Collins

Get directions | Park info | Non-motorized allowed

Boating in Fort Collins Northern Colorado

Tucked away from the noise of the highway, Gateway Natural Area offers hiking trails, fishing, picnic tables with grills, informational kiosks, a natural playground and a designated launch area for kayaks and canoes in Seaman Reservoir.

 

McMurry Natural Area | Fort Collins

Get directions | Park info | Non-motorized allowed

McMurry Natural Area offers two ponds and river frontage for fishing, hiking and other outdoor excursions. On the eastern pond, you’ll find a boat launch for non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks and other human-powered watercraft.  

 

Did we miss your favorite?  

In the comments below, let us know where you go boating in Northern Colorado!


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