Denver is not known for having a lot of lakes, rivers, or reservoirs, but we do have some and the residents enjoy these in the summer months. There are some that allow motorboats and water skiing, and some restrict visitors to non-motorized vehicles. There are quite a few within the Denver metro area, and several more taking only a short drive.
Aurora Reservoir -
Aurora Reservoir is located in Southeastern Aurora and offers lots of outdoor activities. You can bike, hike, run, or walk the dogs all year long, and during the summer you have more options. You can only put non-motorized vehicles on the lake. After the ice clears in March, you can access the water.
- Swim beach (Only open during summer months)
- Picnic areas
- Paddle boat rentals
There are 8 miles of trails around the lake, and you will see many taking advantage of the beautiful weather we have here in Denver. Dogs are allowed in the park (not on the beach or in the water, but must be on a leash, and owners must pick up after them.
Barr Lake State Park -
It is known that Barr Lake has many bald eagles that nest and fly in and around the lake and 350 species of birds in the area. On any given day you will find people walking along the trails around the lake toting binoculars and cameras. You can see many nests in the trees (especially after the leaves have fallen). You can also see the eagles perching on the top of these trees pretty easily as well.
When this lake is full, it covers around 2,000 acres. The lake is open to sailboats, hand-propelled crafts, and boats with electric trolling motors or gas motors less than 10hp. You will see many hikers with their dogs walking - there are numerous trails within the park, including the 8.8-mile Barr Lake Perimeter Trail, a 1.3-mile Gazebo Boardwalk, and a Neidrach Nature Trail through the wetlands. On the trail into the wildlife refuge, dogs are not allowed. You will see many riding horses throughout. Waterfowl hunting is permitted during the season - reservations are required.
Chatfield State Park -
Float your boat in the lake, bicycle or hike on a trail that provides scenic views of the neighboring foothills and Platte River valley, camp, ride a horse and even fly a model airplane - all at Chatfield State Park, nestled next to the foothills southwest of Denver.
Boaters of all types – from water skiers to fishing enthusiasts to canoeists and sailors - enjoy Chatfield Reservoir’s waters. Boat rentals, a floating restaurant and a marina are also available at Chatfield. Campers have their choice of 197 campsites all with electrical hookups and many with full hookups (water, sewer, and electric), in four campgrounds at Chatfield. All campsites are within walking distance to the lake and have picnic tables and grills. Facilities include flush toilets, hot showers, laundry, centrally located water, fire ring and a sanitary waste station. In addition to the 197 single-family campsites offered at Chatfield, there are ten reservable Group Camping sites available.
Cherry Creek Reservoir -
You can enter into this park from two locations - one South of I-225 off Parker Road and the other is off Union and Dayton in the Denver Tech Center. There is an east and west boat ramp, and motorized boats are allowed on this reservoir. Paddle boards, kayak boats, and jet skis (you can rent jet skis at the lake) are also allowed. Boating is allowed from 3/1-11/30 if there is no ice on the lake.
~ Park has 880 surface acres
~ Park is open from 5 am to 10 pm daily
~ 12 miles of Biking and hiking trails - must wear a helmet
~ Bird Watching - You will find various raptor species including the banded eagle, red-tailed hawk, northern Harrier, and ferruginous hawks along with songbirds, waterfowl, and shorebirds.
~ Fishing is allowed with a required license
~ Park Passes are required - Entry fees
~ Camping is allowed, but must make reservations online, and this link can be used for annual passes, dog off-leash passes, fishing licenses, watercraft registrations, or the park's self-service stations to purchase passes for day use. There are 135 renovated sites some with full hookups and tent sites available
~ Want to know the water temperature of the reservoir or weather conditions?
~ Dogs are welcome, but you must clean up after them, and they must be on a leash (with the exception of the off-leash dog park.
~ Picnic areas available
~ You will find some flying model airplanes on the west side of the Park
~ Swimming and there is a beach
There are a few other "ponds" that are located in the center of neighborhoods, which do not allow motorized vehicles, but fishing is allowed. I would recommend checking online before you make the decision on where to fish.
**Entry #2 for September - blog series