Colorado Water Activities

When conjuring images of Colorado, snow-capped mountains and steep rock walls are often the first pictures that come to mind. However, the state also offers several world-class aquatic activities—from boating and fishing to swimming and whitewater rafting, the Centennial State certainly has it all.


Colorado is home to more than 2,000 lakes and reservoirs, including the famous Grand Lake, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Lake Dillon, and Lake Granby. In addition to its 41 Colorado State Parks, the state houses some of the most beautiful waterways in the country. We have detailed some of the most popular water activities in the state, providing names of the best rivers, reservoirs, and lakes for recreation.


Fishing—Unsurprisingly, fishing is one of the most popular water-related activities. In Colorado, you will have the opportunity to catch more than 35 species of warm- and cold-water fish. The famed rainbow trout lives in cool Rocky Mountain streams, and walleyes like sunny, warm reservoir waters. Some of the best fishing destinations include: Pearl Lake State Park, Steamboat Lake State Park, Eleven Mile State Park, and Standley Lake.


Boating—Colorado offers a wealth of boating opportunities—from peaceful excursions to high-speed motorboat rides. However, if you want to experience boating in our beautiful state, ensure it adheres to all state licensing. No matter what type of adventure you’re looking for, Colorado has what you want. Some of the best boating destinations include: The Blue Mesa Reservoir, Chatfield Reservoir, Grand Lake, and Lake Granby.


Rafting—Colorado rafting season begins each spring; both gravity and sunlight melt the state’s winter snow to create some of America’s most thrilling whitewater adventures. Additionally, while adrenaline junkies can get their speed fix, families can opt for slower, calmer waters. Some of the best rafting destinations include: Browns Canyon, Cache la Poudre River, Clear Creek, and Royal Gorge Bridge.


Swimming—The most accessible and timeless water activity, swimming opportunities are widely available in Colorado. Though the state is landlocked, it boasts thousands of miles of shoreline. Some of the best swimming destinations include: Boulder Reservoir, Chatfield State Park Reservoir Grand Lake, Wellington Lake, and the Blue Mesa Reservoir.