Maroon Bells peaks reflection in Crater Lake, Aspen, Colorado. Image credit Marina Poushkina via Shutterstock

7 Most Beautiful Lakes in Colorado

Colorado is one of the most beautiful states to visit, boasting spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, bustling towns, plenty of hiking trails, and jaw-dropping canyons. While some places are more popular than others, there is something to see and do for everyone. Colorado is also well known for its large and beautiful natural bodies of water. These glistening lakes are definitely worth a visit, for the breathtaking views, hiking trails, fishing, and endless family fun.

1. Dream Lake

Dream Lake at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, US. Image credit Nataliya Hora via Shutterstock

A majestic alpine lake tucked into the heart of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Dream Lake is a popular destination for hikers all over the world. The lake is accessible via the Bear Lake Trailhead, and the paved section makes for an easy walk.

Whether you choose to start early in the morning or head off in the evening, the sunrises and sunsets are a sight to behold in this alpine landscape. In summer, visitors enjoy an abundance of colorful wildflowers, while the views of Hallett Peak are stunning year-round.

2. Lake Dillon

Shot of autumnal foliage in the Dillon reservoir landscape in Colorado. Image credit SNEHIT PHOTO via Shutterstock

The Dillon Reservoir, also known as Lake Dillon, sits amongst hundreds of miles of wilderness. There is much to do in terms of fishing, swimming, and boating. The shoreline is nearly 27 miles long, surrounded by the popular destinations of Dillon, Frisco, and Silverthorne.

The reservoir supplies water for the city of Denver, making it as functional as it is fun. There are also numerous campgrounds around the lake, meaning you can spend a little extra time enjoying the woods, wilderness, and scenery.

3. Twin Lakes

Perfect mirrored reflection off of the Twin Lakes, a Colorado mountain paradise. Image credit Roschetzky Photography via Shutterstock

While Twin Lakes is a tiny alpine community located in Colorado, it earned its name from the Twin Lakes Reservoir residing in the area. Located a few miles south of the famed town of Leadville, the reservoir was born from glaciers during the last ice age.

Twin Lakes is a summer destination for all. Visitors can do everything and anything: jump in the clear mountain water, go paddling with friends, head out for a day of fishing, or simply relax on the shoreline. For a lengthier trip, head towards the historic town of Twin Lakes. There, you can immerse yourself in the haunted tales and rich culture.

4. Piney Lake

Alpenglow at sunset in Piney Lake, Vail, Colorado. Image credit Adam Springer via Shutterstock

Piney Lake is one of the prettiest views in Vail, Colorado. With the spectacular Gore range backdrop, the location is perfect for almost every outdoor activity you can imagine. You can camp overnight, canoe all day, or ride on horseback into the sunset.

Visitors can also check out Piney River Ranch, which sits at the foot of the Gore Range. The ranch is the perfect location for a weekend retreat, whether you are celebrating a wedding or simply need a relaxing getaway. Plus, you can enjoy the scenic view of the lake and wilderness.

5. Lake Granby

View of the trail alongside Lake Granby in Granby, Colorado. Image credit mredd via Shutterstock

Known to be the largest body of water in Colorado, Lake Granby sits on the Colorado River. It is just outside of the town of Granby, with over 40 miles of shoreline. The lake came to be in 1950 with the installation of Granby Dam. It now serves as a reservoir and is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.

In summer, the lake is a popular destination for fishing, paddle boarding, boating, swimming, and more. In winter, it is the perfect spot for snowmobilers and ice skaters alike. The lake is also surrounded by the Arapahoe National Forest and a recreation area, which is ideal for camping and hiking.

6. Crater Lake

Crater Lake, Colorado near Maroon Bells. Image credit Jason Kolenda via Shutterstock

Situated in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness just outside of Aspen, Colorado is Crater Lake. The body of water is easily accessible from a popular hiking and biking trail near the White River National Forest's parking lot.

The lake has a surface elevation of 10,075 feet, making the trek a 500-foot climb. The spring waterfalls, the glass-like reflection of the lake, and the beautiful foliage of the trees make for a picturesque view. Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including camping and fishing.

7. Lake San Cristobal

Aerial view of Lake San Cristobal in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in autumn. Image credit Paul Brady Photography via Shutterstock

The second-largest natural lake in Colorado, Lake San Cristobal boasts plenty of different activities, including fishing, boating, camping, and wildlife viewing. Created over 700 years ago, the reservoir resulted from a natural landslide that blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.

It also offers access to the Red Mountain Gulch Day Use Area, perfect for celebrations and intimate gatherings. The lake itself is the ideal spot for a photo op because of its scenic views, and it is just as beautiful and enjoyable to visit in winter, with activities such as ice fishing and skating.

Colorado Lakes That Will Float Your Boat

If you are passing through Colorado, each of these lakes is worth the visit. There is much to do, whether you crave an abundance of outdoor activities, or you want to take in the scenery. No matter where you choose to stop first, these alluring lakes are only a sample of the beauty Colorado has to offer!


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