Best Lakes in Colorado to Live On

Visiting a lake is a very relaxing and peaceful experience, but living near a lake is even better.  You’ve often got great views, you’re closer to nature, and have a number of activities you can experience out on the water. If you live in Colorado or plan on moving to the centennial state, there are a number of lakes to explore. Let’s look at five of the best lakes in Colorado to live on.

Lake Granby

Best Lakes in Colorado to Live On

One of the best lakes in Colorado to liv on is Lake Granby. Lake Grandby has two sister lakes: Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain Lake. Together the three lakes offer over 150 miles of coastline—forty of them around Lake Grandby alone.

  • The Lake and Surrounding Area

Located on the Colorado River, Lake Grandby is Colorado’s third-largest lake with over seven thousand acres in area. It was created in the fifties when Grandby Dam became part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. It is one of the project’s twelve reservoirs.

Lake Grandby collects 200,000 acre-feet of water annually.

  • Boat Regulations

Boating and yacht races are favorite sports on Lake Grandby. On all Colorado lakes, boat operators must be sixteen or older.

  • Nearby Towns

One of the best Colorado mountain towns is Fraser, CO. Located only half an hour from Lake Granby, it is surrounded by the beautiful Rockies and is one of the most affordable mountain towns in Colorado. With a population fewer than two thousand, Fraser is just off US-40 northwest of the popular Winter Park ski resort. Here is a great selection of homes in Fraser, Colorado

  • Things to Do

Lake Grandby’s many coves and marinas afford sailors, fishermen, and boaters lots of places to launch their boats.

Water skiing and jet-skiing are popular on this large lake. Rent a pontoon boat and tour the lake. Granby Lake Yacht Club, home of the famous yacht race, is the highest-elevation yacht club in the state and one of the few in the world.

There are lots of opportunities for hiking and camping at Arapaho National Recreation and Indian Peaks Wilderness surrounding the lake. 

Avid anglers fish for trout and salmon in the lake’s stocked waters.

Grand Lake

Visit the Best Lakes in Colorado

  • The Lake and Surrounding Area

Grand Lake is one of Lake Grandby’s sister lakes. It is one of the state’s most beautiful lakes and its largest natural lake. Located at the headwaters of the Colorado River it is the largest, deepest natural lake. Rocky Mountain peaks overlook the surrounding area. It’s one of the best lakes in Colorado to live on and a very popular tourist spot.

  • Boat Regulations

You must be sixteen or older to operate a boat on Grand Lake. Alcohol may be on the boat but the driver must be under the legal limit. 

  • Nearby Towns

The scenic town of Grand Lake is located on the north shore of Grand Lake. It offers opportunities for shopping at quaint shops, dining at unique eateries, and strolling the streets enjoying the local color.

  • Things to Do

Rocky Mountain National Park, overlooking Grand Lake, brings opportunities for hiking, mountain climbing, camping, bird watching, and photography. You might even spy a moose or two.

Grand Lake is a quiet lake where you can enjoy spectacular sunsets. It’s also a great place to go boating, canoeing, kayaking, sailing or fishing.

Stop in at historic Grand Lake Marina. Rent a pontoon boat, whaler, kayak or canoe and tour the lake.

Lake Dillon

Lake Dillon Colorado

  • The Lake and Surrounding Area

With a volume of 250,000 acre-feet, Lake Dillon is actually a freshwater reservoir in Summit County just south of I-70. It supplies water to Denver, its closest metro city. The lake’s primary outflow is Blue River.

  • Boat Regulations 

In Colorado, you must be sixteen to operate a motorboat. 

  • Nearby Towns

The towns of Frisco, Silverthorne, and Dillon are located a few miles from Lake Dillon. Lake Dillon is located between Dillon and Frisco. Within these small towns, visitors can stroll, take in the sights, enjoy dining in unique eateries and shop the quaint boutiques. They can also attend outdoors events, sample local brewery products, tour museums and buy fresh products at local farmers’ markets.

Once located in the center of Lake Dillon, the town of Dillon was named for a prospector, Tom Dillon in the late 1800s. Blue River Valley became a reservoir causing the town to have to relocate not once but twice.

  • Things to Do

In the winter, visitors can try out sleigh rides, cross country skiing, snow kiteboarding, snowshoeing and even ice fishing in Dillion, Frisco, or Silverthorne.

During any season, Dillion Marina offers fishing, water skiing, swimming and boating activities.

There are also opportunities for local farmers’ market, theatre, golf and hiking the trails around Dillon Lake.

Horsetooth Reservoir 

Over 550,000 visitors come to Horsetooth annually. Visitors can find plenty to do around the lake with local events, quaint eateries, and shops with local crafts and souvenirs.

  • The Lake and Surrounding Area

Located in southern Larimer County, this large reservoir lake sits in the foothills of the Rockies.

Horsetooth Reservoir runs north-south for a length of six and a half miles, half a mile in width. Constructed as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project both Horsetooth and its sister Carter Lake hold water diverted eastward.

  • Boat Regulations

On the lake, you must be sixteen to operate a motorboat. Life preservers in the correct size for each person in the boat must be available. Children must wear them. A throwable PFD must be on boats over sixteen feet long.

Boats must travel on the lake counterclockwise.

During skiing, the boat must have a driver and an observer.

  • Nearby Towns

Horsetooth Reservoir is west of the city of Fort Collins, and on the western side of the Dakota Hogback, It also supplies water to Greeley. These towns have become sites for housing development in the last twenty years. Tourists and local residents have built cottages, cabins, and a large home with striking views of the reservoir and the foothills.

  • Things to Do

In the 1,900 acres of public lands around Horsetooth Reservoir, tourists can swim only in the designated Swim Beach area.

Fishing from the shore or from private or rented boats is very popular. Other lake activities include kayaking, water skiing, canoeing, and jet-skiing. 

Climbing, cycling, hiking, mountain biking, and bouldering are also popular. 

Walking along the Foothills Trail on the east ridge of Horsetooth Lake affords spectacular views of the reservoir.

Green Mountain Reservoir

Things to Do at Green Mountain Reservoir

  • The Lake and Surrounding Area

Also located in Summit County, Green Mountain Reservoir was formed in the thirties and forties when the United States Bureau of Reclamation built a reservoir and dammed the river as part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

In the foothills of the Rockies, the lake is 2,125 acres.

  • Boat Regulations 

While canoes, kayaks and other non-motorized craft may launch anywhere, motorboats must launch at a marina.

All boats must be inspected before they are launched. 

PFDs must be aboard for each passenger. Children must wear them.

  • Nearby Towns

Silverthorne and Kremmling are located near Green Mountain Reservoir. Each has year-round outdoor activities and thriving arts and cultural opportunities. The towns welcome tourists with magical mountain views, scenic trails, dining adventures, and shopping experiences.

  • Things to Do

Camping, fishing, hiking, climbing and water sports are available on Green Mountain Lake. 

Bicycling, walking and jogging the scenic trails are also favorite pastimes.

Grand Park is a beautiful mountain community in close proximity to Lake Grandby and Grand Lake. If you’re interested in living the mountain life with the possibility of water activities nearby, learn more here.