12 Breathtaking Lakes To Swim In Colorado

Colorado is one of the states in the west of the good ol’ United States, known for its majestic mountain ranges, diverse landscapes, and stunning natural scenery. 

Do you all know what else it’s famous for? Them picturesque lakes will take your breath away and offer many activities. And let me tell you, takin’ a dip in the lakes ain’t just a way to beat the summer heat; it’s downright good for you! 

You can get serious health benefits, like stronger heart muscles, tougher muscles and stamina, and much less stress and worry. 

This article has 12 different lakes to explore, so saddle up and let’s swim.

1) Lake Dillon

Lake Dillon is a beautiful reservoir situated in Summit County, Colorado. You can’t beat the view of those majestic mountains surrounding the lake, especially the Tenmile Range and the Gore Range. It’s tubular!

Lake Dillon

How Far Is It From Colorado?

The journey to Steamboat Lake is quite exciting if you’re traveling from Colorado; it is 50 miles. You’ll need to drive for roughly 1 and a half hours to be at Lake Dillon.

Must-Try Activities

But let’s get real; everyone comes to Lake Dillon for the gnarly range of activities you can do on and around the lake. You can dip your toes in the water and have a wicked good time swimming during summer. 

Many fish species exist in these waters, including trout, kokanee salmon, and arctic char. Catching these fish is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’ll get!

That’s not all! You can also hit up the lake with your boat or rent one from the Dillon Marina and go on an epic boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding journey. The options are endless!

2) Blue Mesa Reservoir

Colorado’s Blue Mesa Reservoir is your ultimate destination if you yearn for a splash of adventure! This picturesque lake is in the beautiful Gunnison County and is the largest body of water in the entire state! That’s right, folks, it’s HUGE! No wonder it’s one of the most Instagrammable places in Colorado!

Blue Mesa Reservoir

How Far Is It From Colorado?

Now, I know what you’re thinking – how long would it take to reach there? If you’re driving from Colorado, roughly 172.5 miles away, get ready to buckle up and endure a 4-hour-long road trip. 

Must-Try Activities

If you’re an avid fisherman, Blue Mesa Reservoir is the place to be! It’s home to many fish species, including trout, salmon, and pike. 

You can fish from the shore or rent a boat and head out into the deep blue. But let me tell you, fishing from the shore can get pretty competitive, so make sure you bring your A-game!

The fun doesn’t stop there! You can also enjoy boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. And let me tell you, the water is so clear that you can see your toes wiggle!

3) Grand Lake

Grand Lake is a natural wonder located in Grand County, Colorado. It’s the biggest natural lake in Colorado and is surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery. That means it’s not just any lake; it’s the granddaddy of all lakes in the state!

Grand Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

Now, if you’re coming from Colorado, you’re looking at a solid 98-mile journey to Grand Lake. 

Must-Try Activities

Grand Lake is home to some of the clearest water you’ll ever see. And that’s not just my bias; it’s a scientific fact! That crystal-clear water makes it perfect for all kinds of water activities, like swimming, fishing, and boating. 

And let me tell you, the fish are biting like crazy in this lake. You can catch trout, salmon, kokanee, and even more fish than you can name!

National Park is nearby and has an array of hiking trails suitable for all experience levels. And while you’re hiking, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like elk, moose, and deer. You never know what kind of furry friend you might encounter out there.

4) Lake Granby

Lake Granby is this massive, gorgeous lake that’s smack dab in Grand County, Colorado. This state’s famous for many things, like the spicy green chili peppers and the legalized weed, but Lake Granby’s on the list.

Lake Granby

How Far Is It From Colorado?

Maybe not a million, but it’s pretty dang huge. And get this: the distance from Colorado to Lake Granby is 79.6 miles. That’s like driving to the moon and back, except no air or cool spacesuits are involved.

If you plan on driving up there, you better pack snacks and energy drinks because it will take 2 hours. 

Must-Try Activities

There are tons of fun things to do at the lake! You can go fishing, boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding, and let me tell you; it’s like being a pirate or a mermaid or something equally awesome.

You can catch all sorts of fish at Lake Granby, like trout, salmon, and pike. And who knows, maybe you’ll even reel in a giant squid or sea monster. Okay, I know that’s highly unlikely, but let me dream, alright?

And if you’re feeling up for some adventure outside the water, you can go hiking or camping in the nearby Arapaho National Recreation Area. Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? 

But really, it just means there are a bunch of trees and mountains to explore. There are trails for every level of hiker, from beginners to those crazy ones who like to run up and down mountains for fun.

5) Bear Lake

Bear Lake is this amazing, calm lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. It’s a real beauty; people come from all over to see it. 

Bear Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

The trip from Colorado to get there is about 538 miles long, so you better prepare for a long drive. But trust me; you won’t regret it once you get there!

Must-Try Activities

There’s so much to do at Bear Lake; you’ll never get bored. You can go swimming, boating, kayaking, or paddleboarding – whatever floats your boat. But if you ask me, fishing is where it’s at. All kinds of fish are in the lake, like trout and salmon. You can fish from the shore or boat and go to the lake. It’s a real blast!

And if you’re not into water stuff, don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do. You can go hiking and check out the wildlife. Rocky Mountain National Park has many trails, so no matter how good (or not-so-good) you are at hiking, there’s something for you. And let me tell you, the views are incredible. You can see mountains for miles and miles; it’s something else.

6) Steamboat Lake

Steamboat Lake is a magnificent and tranquil lake in Routt County, Colorado. This stunning water body is famed for its peaceful surroundings and breathtaking views of the mountains that encircle it.

Steamboat Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

The journey to Steamboat Lake is quite a haul if you’re traveling from Colorado. You must drive for roughly 3 hours, covering approximately 159.1 miles. But trust me; it’s well worth the effort because there’s so much to do and see here.

Must-Try Activities

One of the standout features of Steamboat Lake is its impressive size. Covering an area of over 1,100 acres, it has a maximum depth of 35 feet, offering plenty of opportunities for water sports and other fun activities. There’s something for everyone.

Speaking of fishing, Steamboat Lake is a paradise for anglers, thanks to the diversity of fish species that inhabit its waters, including trout and salmon. You can try your luck from the shore or rent a boat and venture into the deep blue yonder.

But that’s not all. Steamboat Lake is also a popular spot for hiking and camping, and there are plenty of trails in the nearby Routt National Forest to explore. From easy strolls to more challenging hikes, there’s a path for everyone with stunning mountain views to enjoy.

7) Maroon Lake

Maroon Lake is one spectacular sight in Colorado’s Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area. It’s crystal-clear water that’s so clear; it’s like staring into a mirror. And when you peek around, you can’t help but be stunned by the beauty of the towering mountains surrounding it.

Maroon Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

If you’re coming from Colorado, you’re in for a bit of a trek, as it’s a long haul of about 183.0 miles and a 4-hour drive. But trust me; it’s worth it. At Maroon Lake, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy.

Must-Try Activities

Swimming and Hiking are popular here. The trails range from easy-peasy to challenging. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is a smooth ride that’ll take you on a stroll and get some killer views of the lake and mountains. 

But if you’re looking for a real challenge, the Maroon-Snowmass Trail is where it’s at. Be prepared for a bit of a workout, but the views are beyond worth it.

If fishing is your thing, then Maroon Lake is the spot for you. There are all kinds of fish swimming around, from trout to salmon. You can cast your line right from the shore or rent a boat and head out to deeper waters.

8) Lake San Cristobal

Lake San Cristobal is a beautiful place that makes you wonder, “Why can’t every place be this beautiful?” 

Lake San Cristobal

Located in the majestic San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, this natural lake is so crystal clear and blue that it almost looks like it’s been Photoshopped. But trust me, and it’s the real deal.

How Far Is It From Colorado?

If you’re driving from Colorado, prepare for a ride of about 213.0 miles. But trust me, the view at the journey’s end is worth every minute. Once there, you can choose from various activities, including hiking, fishing, and camping. 

Must-Try Activities

The lake offers many recreational activities, and swimming is one of the highlights. Whether you want to swim from the shore or rent a boat to explore the lake, you’ll find the water refreshing and rejuvenating on a hot summer day. 

Hiking at Lake San Cristobal is like stepping into a nature lover’s dream. Several scenic trails wind through the mountains, offering breathtaking lake and wilderness views. 

Try the Alpine Loop Trail for a real challenge, but it’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for something more leisurely, the Lake Fork Trail has stunning views of the mountains and river.

9) Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes is a duo of eye-catching lakes nestled in the heart of the majestic Rocky Mountains in colorful Colorado. The lakes are like diamonds, known for their crystalline water and breathtaking views, making them a hotspot for outdoor buffs and nature lovers alike.

Twin Lakes

How Far Is It From Colorado?

If you’re coming from Colorado, it’ll take you a whopping 2 hours to drive the approximately 101.3  miles distance to reach Twin Lakes. But the drive is worth it! 

Must-Try Activities

Twin Lakes is your spot for a splash! You can cannonball from the shore or rent a paddleboat to paddle around the lake and find your favorite spot to dive.

Hiking is a popular activity at Twin Lakes and no wonder! The mountains surrounding the lakes offer some of the most picturesque trails you’ll ever see. The Interlaken Trail is a must-do for hikers, offering jaw-dropping views of the lakes and the neighboring peaks.

With the lakes brimming with various fish species, including trout, salmon, and pike, you can be sure to hook a catch of your liking. You can cast your line from the shore or rent a boat to venture out onto the lakes and find your perfect fishing spot.

10) Turquoise Lake

Turquoise Lake is a body of water that’s just stunning, situated in Lake County, Colorado. You won’t believe it, but it’s up high, 10,152 feet above sea level! It’s surrounded by these mountains that are just breathtaking; no wonder it’s so popular with those who love the great outdoors.

Turquoise Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

To get to Turquoise Lake, you’ve got to travel around 82.4 miles from Colorado, which takes about 17 hours by car. But don’t worry, once you get there; you’ll find plenty of campsites to kick back and relax. It’s the perfect place for a weekend getaway!

Must-Try Activities

Now, what makes Turquoise Lake special is the water. It’s so clear; you can see right to the bottom. And if you’re into swimming, this is the spot for you! It’s not too deep, just 75 feet at its deepest, and two small streams feed it.

The lake is home to several types of fish, like rainbow trout, brown trout, and kokanee salmon, so you can bet that fishing is a popular pastime. And if you’re into boating or kayaking, there’s a marina nearby where you can rent a boat.

 But don’t forget about the hiking trails! You can explore the area around the lake on the Turquoise Lake Trail or the Timberline Lake Trail.

11) Lake Pueblo

Lake Pueblo, located in Pueblo County, Colorado, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. It’s like a refreshing oasis in the hot and dry Colorado desert. You can dive into its clear blue waters and swim to your heart’s content or laze on its sandy beaches while sipping a cold drink.

Lake Pueblo

How Far Is It From Colorado?

If you’re traveling from Colorado, be prepared for a long, winding journey of approximately 142.8 miles. But once you arrive, you’ll be greeted with various activities.

Must-Try Activities

During peak season, Lake Pueblo has many lifeguards watching over swimmers, so you don’t have to worry about anything except having fun. It’s so safe that even a sea cucumber can swim without fear.

Fishing at Lake Pueblo is like casting a line into a treasure trove. The lake has various fish, including trout, bass, and catfish. You can fish from the shore or rent a boat and explore the waters, feeling like a pirate searching for treasure.

Boating is an absolute blast at Lake Pueblo, with plenty of boat ramps for launching. You can water ski, wakeboard, tube, and even imagine you’re a fearless Viking as you navigate the lake’s waters.

For those who prefer to explore the land, hiking is a great way to exercise and enjoy the stunning views. The Pueblo Reservoir Trail is a popular option, offering breathtaking vistas of the lake and the surrounding hills and canyons.

12) Jackson Lake

Jackson Lake, located in the beautiful Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, is like a giant bowl of refreshing goodness, just waiting for you to dive in! This natural lake is so inviting that swimmers of all ages flock to it during the scorching summer months. 

Jackson Lake

How Far Is It From Colorado?

The drive from Colorado to Jackson Lake may be long (around 139.4 miles, to be exact), but trust me. It’s worth it. Just be sure to plan and arrive early to snag a parking spot, especially during peak season when things get pretty crowded.

Must-Try Activities

But let’s not forget about the anglers out there! With cutthroat trout, lake trout, and mountain whitefish all swimming around, this lake is a real fisherman’s paradise. And the best part? You can rent a boat or fish right from the shore! Just get a fishing permit before you go, or you’ll be in trouble with the park rangers.

 Whether you’re into kayaking or canoeing or want to try your hand at some water skiing or wakeboarding, this lake has got you covered.

And if all that water activity has left you feeling a little tired, why not hit the trails? With so many winding paths through the nearby mountains and forests, you will surely find a hike just right for you.

Summing it up!

As we end our discussion about swimming in lakes near Colorado, lemme tell you some key things to remember. Firstly, checking for any warnings or red flags before diving in is important because some lakes could be yucky with germs or other hazards. Secondly, be mindful of local rules like fishing and boating restrictions so we can all have a blast without any trouble. 

Also, don’t forget to bring some gear like sunscreen and life jackets, and drink lots of water to stay refreshed and hydrated. Considering these precautions, a trip to Colorado’s nearby lakes can be a sick way to cool down on a hot day!