guides

Our Favorite Colorado Reservoirs & Lakes

By Kyrie Collins, Sarah Hauge, Nicole Hoeper, Debra Jaramillo, Kristin Kindred, Michele Pullo, Christen Reiner, Melissa Shrader - Colorado Macaroni Kid Publishers June 1, 2019

There's nothing like hanging out near a body of water in the summertime. The Colorado Macaroni Kid publishers love visiting local reservoirs and lakes with our families. We've gathered information for some of our favorites to make your summer planning a little easier!

Many of the reservoirs and lakes listed below are open year-round. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.

Fishing in Colorado
To fish in Colorado, fishing permits are required for residents ages 16 and older. Free Fishing Weekend in Colorado is the first weekend in June each year. For the 2021 season, residents may fish without a permit throughout Colorado on June 5th and 6th. To learn more about fishing or to purchase a season fishing pass, visit Colorado Parks & Wildlife.



Aurora Reservoir 
5800 Powhaton Rd., Aurora
Photo Credit: Kristin Sancaktar

Summer Hours:   

  • May & August: 5:30 AM–9:00 PM
  • June & July: 5:00 AM–9:30 PM

Amenities: Playground, archery range, SCUBA, open water swim area, restrooms (port-o-lets), shelters, picnic tables.

Daily Fees: $10/vehicle. Save with an annual pass.



Bear Creek Lake Park
15600 W. Morrison Rd., Lakewood
Photo Credit: Beth Marketos

Summer Hours (May-September): 6:00 AM–10:00 PM

Amenities: Hiking, picnicking, camping, fishing, boating, windsurfing, mountain or road biking, swim beach, archery range, educational programs, horseback riding, paddle sports, water skiing, and wakeboarding. 

Daily Fees: $10/vehicle. Save with an annual pass. Camping starts at $35.



Boulder Reservoir
5565 N. 51st St., Boulder
Photo Credit: Meredith Lux

Summer Hours:
 • April 1-May 27: 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
 • May 28-September 6: 7:00 AM–9:00 PM

Amenities: Boating, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, 5.3-mile loop trail for multi-use.

Daily Fees: Adults (19-59) $11 | Youth (13-15) $6.50



Carter Lake
4011 S. County Rd. 31, Loveland
Photo Credit: grfx4 from Pixabay

Summer Hours: 6:00 AM–10:00 PM 

Amenities: Fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, rock climbing, swimming, accessible activities, picnicking, scuba diving. Dogs are allowed. 

Daily Fees: $9/vehicle. $9/boat trailer. $18 for vehicle + boat trailer. Camping starts at $20.



Chatfield Reservoir
11500 N. Roxborough Park Rd., Littleton

Photo Credit: Christen Reiner, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Lakewood-Littleton

Summer Hours: 5:00 AM–10:00 PM*
*24-Hour access for campers, active fishermen with valid fishing licenses, and those boating with approved lighting

Amenities: Biking, boating, camping, off-leash dog park, educational programs, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, hiking, camping, ice fishing, jet skiing, picnicking, snowshoeing, sailboarding, swimming, volleyball, model airplane flying, water skiing, wildlife viewing, and winter camping.

Daily Fees: $10/vehicle. Save with an annual pass. $3/dog off-leash pass. Camping starts at $36.



Cherry Creek Reservoir
4201 S. Parker Rd., Aurora
Photo Credit: Christen Reiner, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Lakewood-Littleton

Summer Hours: 5:00 AM–10:00 PM

Amenities: Year-round camping, dog off-leash area (DOLA), horseback riding, shooting range, marina rentals (pontoons, deck boats, jet skis), fishing, swimming, 35 miles of multi-use trails.

Daily Fees: $11/vehicle. Save with an annual pass. $3/dog off-leash pass. Camping starts at $28.



Flatiron Reservoir
1800 S. County Rd. 31, Loveland
Photo Credit: Melissa Shrader, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Fort Collins and Macaroni Kid Loveland

Summer Hours: 6:00 AM–10:00 PM 

Amenities: Fishing, picnicking, and family camping. Swimming and boating are not allowed here, but nearby Carter Lake offers both.

Daily Fees: $9/vehicle. $9/boat trailer. $18 for vehicle + boat trailer. Camping starts at $20.



Fossil Creek Reservoir
3340 Carpenter Rd., Fort Collins
Photo Credit: Melissa Shrader, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Fort Collins and Macaroni Kid Loveland

Summer Hours: Daily from dawn to dusk

Amenities: Bird watching, hiking trails, .25-mile paved walking loop, picnic shelters, .76-mile hike to a viewing area.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area is designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. It provides crucial habitat to bald eagles, raptors, and many species of shorebirds, songbirds, and waterfowl. 

Dogs, bikes, and horses are not allowed at Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area.

Daily Fees: FREE entrance. FREE educational activities from June to October.



Horsetooth Reservoir
4200 W. County Rd. 38 E., Fort Collins
Photo Credit: Melissa Shrader, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Fort Collins and Macaroni Kid Loveland

Summer Hours (March-October): 6:00 AM–10:00 PM

Amenities: Fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing, water skiing, accessible activities. Dogs are allowed.

Daily Fees: $9/vehicle. $9/boat trailer. $18 for vehicle + boat trailer. Camping starts at $20.



Lake Ladora at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge
 6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City
Photo Credit: Debra Jaramillo, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Stapleton-Commerce City-Northfield

Summer Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Amenities: 1.8-mile hiking trail, boardwalk views, bird watching, public fishing, wading (with calf, hip, or chest waders) after Memorial Day.

Daily Fees: $3/fishing, Save with an annual pass. Kids 15 and under are free. High school and college students fish fee-free with a valid ID.



Lake Mary at Rocky Mountain Wildlife Refuge
6550 Gateway Rd., Commerce City
Photo Credit: Debra Jaramillo, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Stapleton-Commerce City-Northfield

Summer Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Amenities: Half-mile trail, bird watching, floating boardwalk, fishing pier, accessible dock, public fishing, wading (with calf, hip, or chest waders) after Memorial Day

Daily Fees: $3/fishing, Kids 15 and under are free. High school and college students fish fee-free with a valid ID.



Pinewood Reservoir
Pole Hill Rd., Loveland
Photo Credit: Melissa Shrader, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Fort Collins and Macaroni Kid Loveland

Summer Hours: 6:00 AM–10:00 PM

Amenities: Kayaking, camping, fishing, accessible activities, biking, camping, picnic area.

Daily Fees: $9/vehicle. $9/boat trailer. $18 for vehicle + boat trailer. Camping starts at $20.



Prospect Lake
619 Prospect Lake Dr., Colorado Springs
Photo Credit: Nicole Hoeper

Summer Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Amenities: Paddleboards and kayaking rentals with SUP at the boathouse, swimming at (YMCA) Prospect Beach, fishing, boating*, two nearby playgrounds, tennis courts, skate park, National Firefighters Memorial, walking/biking trail.

Note: Gas-powered motorized watercraft are prohibited on the lake, All boats/ vessels must be operated in a wakeless manner.

Daily Fees: FREE!



Rueter-Hess Reservoir
Rueter-Hess Reservoir (behind the Frank Jaeger Dam), Castle Rock
Photo Credit: Brenda Bushey

Summer Hours: Access to the reservoir is on a reservation-only basis; the trail is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Amenities: Rosie Rueter Trail and Incline Challenge, recreational programming such as paddle boarding and kayaking on certain days. Future recreational opportunities may include soft-surface trails, non-motorized watercraft, and fishing.

Daily Fees: $15 per watercraft on specified Paddle Days, Friday-Sunday from May 28-September 6. Reservations open 7 days prior to each event. Check the website here for up-to-date reservation information.



Union Reservoir
461 County Rd. 26, Longmont
Photo Credit: Michele Pullo, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Boulder and Macaroni Kid Longmont

Summer Hours: 6:00 AM–9:00 PM

Amenities: Wakeless boating, swimming, picnic areas, dog off-leash area, fishing, sailing (Union Sailing Club), windsurfing, paddleboard/kayak rentals (Rocky Mountain Paddleboard).

Daily Fees: $10/weekday vehicle. $12/weekend vehicle. $5/watercraft. $8/boat trailer. $2/bicycle or walk-in.


Our Favorite Colorado Reservoirs & Lakes ~ The Macaroni Kid Guide was compiled by the publishers of the following Macaroni Kid sites. Check them out to Find Your Family Fun®!

Macaroni Kid Aurora
Macaroni Kid Boulder
Macaroni Kid Colorado Springs
Macaroni Kid Englewood-Greenwood Village-Centennial
Macaroni Kid Fort Collins
Macaroni Kid Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree
Macaroni Kid Lakewood-Littleton
Macaroni Kid Longmont-Frederick
Macaroni Kid Stapleton-Commerce City-Northfield