Popular Lakes and Rivers to Explore Near Denver

Barr Lake State Park | Intricate Explorer

Whether you enjoy boating, fishing, swimming, or relaxing on a freshwater beach, Denver has picturesque bodies of water offering all the waterfront fun you can hope for just a short drive away. Let’s look at some of the most popular lakes and rivers near Denver.

Chatfield Reservoir

Chatfield Reservoir is at Chatfield State Park in Littleton. The park is popular for hiking and camping, but the reservoir itself is the big draw. Chatfield is one of the top places near Denver for boating. This large body of water accommodates sailboats, motorboats, and jet skis, which can launch from one of its two boat ramps. A marina offers rentals and storage as well. On a sunny day, you’ll always find water skiers and wakeboarders on the water or swimmers and sunbathers along the beach at Chatfield Reservoir.

Sloan’s Lake

Sloan’s Lake, in Sloan’s Lake Park, is the biggest lake in Denver. It is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, restaurants, and hiking and biking trails. Sloan’s Lake allows non-motorized boats on the water, and it is a popular fishing destination in the heart of the city where people can escape the concrete jungle.

Sloan’s Lake | Steve Adams

Bear Creek Lake

Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood stretches for over 2,600 acres and consists of three lakes, but Bear Creek Lake offers the most recreational fun for visitors. It is a small, picturesque lake that allows motorized boats and water sports. The nearby Big Soda Lake, which is in the same park, is better for swimming and has a pleasant beach.

Aurora Reservoir

In the suburb of Aurora, the 800-acre Aurora Reservoir does not allow motorized watercraft, but there is still plenty for visitors to do. Swim beaches line the water’s edge, and many enjoy picnics or sunbathing on the sand. The reservoir is also popular for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and sailing. There is even a scuba diving area brave visitors can explore.

Cherry Creek Reservoir

Cherry Creek Reservoir is a significant aspect of what makes Cherry Creek State Park one of the most popular parks in the Denver area. Offering scenic mountain views from the water and a swimming beach along its shores, the reservoir is a hub for sailing, boating, and relaxation. The park also offers picturesque hiking trails along the coast. 

Cherry Creek State Park | Max D

Evergreen Lake

Evergreen Lake is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the gorgeous Dedisse Park. The lake does not allow motorized boats, but canoers and kayakers love paddling around the area. In the winter, the lake is frozen solid and is ideal for hockey and ice skating, but in the summer, it is the perfect place for a weekend day trip for swimming and/or laid-back boating.

Evergreen Lake | Logan Moreno Gutierrez

Barr Lake

Just 20 miles from Denver in the picturesque Barr Lake State Park, Barr Lake is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Many visit this large lake to boat, fish, and swim, and for those interested in birding, you are likely to spot some eagles if you arrive at the right time. The park also offers a boardwalk on the water, an archery range, and nearly nine miles of hiking trails.

Barr Lake | Andy Sanchez
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