Nothing beats the heat like a sun-splashed swimming hole — the perfect place to take in Colorado’s most dazzling landscapes and revel in the best of season with all of your favorite people. Find out what makes summer on our lakes and waterways so special by following a water-activity-focused itinerary featuring some of the state’s best swimming holes and a handful of other favorite warm-weather pastimes.
Jackson Lake State Park features a large reservoir with sandy beaches and 240 campsites.
The water is shallow and warms up quickly in the summer. Swimming is allowed on the west shore out to the no wake buoys.
Jackson Lake is an “Oasis on the Plains” for all types of splash-worthy fun, including boating, fishing, sailboarding and water skiing.
Live music and dancing in a casual atmosphere in the heart of Fort Morgan. Take note of the infamous toilet seats that decorate the historic bar’s walls, which once served as the grand lobby of the Queen Hotel, opened in 1930.
Just west of Fort Collins, 6.5 miles of water beckons visitors to come out and play! Surrounded by 1,900 acres of public lands, this reservoir has it all: fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing and water skiing.
Grab a complimentary breakfast at the Hampton Inn Fort Morgan before making your way to Fort Collins.
Convenient access, clear water, challenging rapids and beautiful scenery make the Cache la Poudre a river-runner’s paradise May through September. Kayaks are suitable on various stretches of the river; just make sure you use an experienced commercial outfitter. From Class I all the way to Class V, we have rapids for every age and ability.
Rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard from a local outfitter like Mountain Whitewater or Harding Kayak Rentals
If you’re visiting on a Thursday, check the events calendar on New Belgium’s website to see if there’s a Bike-In Cinema event that evening. Riders spread out on blankets beneath the stars to sip beers and watch a flick.
Welcome to Denver’s natural and spacious backyard playground. Open seasonally in the summer, the sandy beach at Cherry Creek State Park has a roped-off swimming area that is a great place for water play. There is a bathhouse with restrooms located at the beach for convenience.
Your next stop is Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, a city in the Denver area.
Where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River meet and mingle, you'll find the unique and scenic Confluence Park. Watch kayakers brave the rapids on custom-designed chutes, sunbathe on the sandy banks and enjoy panoramic views of downtown Denver.
Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from Denver’s Confluence Kayaks.
See what’s playing at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre, home to pair of geologically formed sandstone monoliths that promote seamless acoustics for only-in-Colorado concert experiences. The open-air theater in Morrison (just 15 miles west of Denver) has charmed musicians from nearly every genre.
With the dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the background, Shadow Mountain Lake is a high-elevation reservoir offering breathtaking views and plenty of outdoor activities, including swimming, boating and fishing.
After breakfast, drive to Granby, about 85 miles northwest of Denver. Get your camera ready — it's a scenic route that climbs into the high country.
Situated on the Colorado River, just outside of the town of Granby, Lake Granby is the third-largest body of water in Colorado. Get your Colorado fishing license — the lake is continuously stocked with trout and kokanee salmon.
The campground is situated between the southern shore of Shadow Mountain Lake and the banks of the Colorado River, at an elevation of approximately 8,300 feet.
Discover sweet post-dinner stargazing spots on the shores of Shadow Mountain Lake, just a short stroll from Green Ridge Campground.
Liquid Descent, with outposts in Kremmling and Idaho Springs, offers whitewater-rafting adventures on Clear Creek and the Colorado River. Their Upper Colorado River excursion is a great option for families or first-time paddlers looking for a scenic float trip with wildlife-spotting opportunities and mild rapids.
After breakfast in Grand Lake, drive about 40 miles to Kremmling, where you’ll hook up with Liquid Descent Rafting for a half-day whitewater-rafting excursion down the Upper Colorado River.
Nestled along the Blue River on Hwy. 9 just south of Kremmling, Green Mountain Reservoir is a hot spot for camping, fishing, boating and lounging on the shore in the sunshine. Swimming access is available from multiple lakeside campgrounds, including McDonald Flats, Prairie Point and Willows.
On your way to Twin Lakes, stop in Silverthorne for some morning grub.
Colorado’s highest peak — 14,439-foot Mount Elbert — is reflected in the state’s two largest glacial lakes, which are flanked by a charming little village of the same name. While the lakes are situated at 9,200 feet, the cool waters are perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day. If the water is too brisk for your taste, rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard in town.
Drive about 20 miles north to Leadville — the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,152 feet — to grab some afternoon eats.
Scenic narrated tours of Twin Lakes, located among the highest peaks in Colorado. Tour includes both the upper and lower glacially formed lakes and a tour of the historic Interlaken resort, established in the late 1800's as a getaway for wealthy mining tycoons. Magnificent scenery, information about the geology of the area, wildlife, history and folklore await!
Before heading back to your home for the evening at the Twin Lakes Roadhouse Lodge and Cabins, share stories of your journey over a night cap at the Twin Lakes Inn Saloon.