Guide to Boating on Grand County's Lakes

Is there anything better in summertime than boating on a mountain lake? If you ask us, the answer is "no, not really." While Colorado has dozens of great reservoirs and lakes to set sail on, few destinations offer so many choices in one place as Grand County.

To help you navigate our five mountain lakes, we've compiled a guide to boating them:

Grand Lake

What makes it special: Colorado's largest natural lake also competes for Colorado's prettiest. With the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park serving as a backdrop — and regular moose sightings in the shallows — Grand Lake is a wonderful place to set sail on a summer's afternoon. As an added bonus, the charming town of Grand Lake resides on its northern shore and provides ample dining, shopping, and local character.

Best way to enjoy it: Embrace the solitude of Grand Lake from a sailboat or a lake kayak. At dusk, the peaks that adorn the eastern horizon often catch the sunset's golden rays, creating a beautiful spectacle.

Shadow Mountain Lake

What makes it special: Often overlooked by its neighbors to the north and south — Grand Lake and Lake Granby — Shadow Mountain Lake is a beautiful hidden gem with easy access off of Highway 34 as well as from Grand Lake. Since Shadow Mountain Lake is connected to Grand Lake, you can enjoy both bodies of water from the same boat.

Best way to enjoy it: Start your day early in the morning with a spin around the lake's uninhabited western shore. You can also camp on the lake shore at Green Ridge Campground near the dam.

Lake Granby

What makes it special: At 7,000 acres, Lake Granby is one of Colorado's largest bodies of water. It's numerous coves and marinas make it a justly popular place for sailers, boaters and jet-skiers. For fisherman, the lake's appeal lurks in the deep — lake trout. Known as one of the best "mackinaw" fisheries in the country, the reservoir also harbors a healthy population of kokanee salmon.

Best way to enjoy it: While Lake Granby offers a wide array of camping and home rental options nearby, it is best enjoyed with a pontoon boat. Rent one from one of the lake's marinas, and enjoy the company of friends on this scenic lake.

Williams Fork Reservoir

What makes it special: Located well off the beaten path, Williams Fork Reservoir appeals to those looking for some peace and quiet, and a lot of hungry fish. Deep in the reservoirs waters lurk several trophy sized northern pike. (Please note that the lake's boat ramps don't accommodate all motorboats. See the official website for more information).

Best way to enjoy it: Due to its exposure and location between several distant mountain ranges, Williams Fork Reservoir gets a lot of wind — much to the delight of windsurfers. Because of the chilly snowmelt-fed waters, a wetsuit is not just recommended; its virtually required.

Wolford Mountain Reservoir

What makes it special: Located in the northern section of Middle Park just beyond Kremmling on Highway 40, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers a stark beauty that is unique to Colorado. Windswept mountain plains and sage-dotted land surround its shores. Out on the water, boaters can enjoy fishing for rainbow and brown trout, as well as kokanee salmon.

Best way to enjoy it: With its beautiful location and gorgeous views of the nearby Gore Range, Wolford Mountain Reservoir offers sublime camping.

Get Inspired & Explore

The Best Rafting and Kayaking Close to Denver

When it comes to rafting and kayaking close to Denver, you have got to head to the source. And by that, we mean the source of one of North America's greatest rivers, the Colorado. Originating in Grand County, the Colorado River has been thrilling rafters and kayakers for its entire course ever since these endeavors became recreational sports. And the stretches around Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling and…

Read More
5 Majestic Things to Do on the Lakes of Grand County

If the Rocky Mountains are the soul of Grand County, than the lakes are certainly the heart. With their pristine deep waters and seemingly endless miles of shore, the "big three" located in the center of the county — Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Lake Granby — garner most of the attention, and rightfully so. Their facilities for boaters, lurking trophy trout and endless potential for…

Read More
Guide to Grand County's Rivers

While Grand County's lakes and reservoirs serve up enough recreational options to keep any summertime vacation busy, our rivers are just as enticing. Review our quick guide to Grand County's four major rivers and how to enjoy them.

Read More