The Five Clearest Lakes to Visit in Colorado
Colorado is home to many bodies of water, some nearly pristine. The presence of pictorial lakes that you can explore is one of the main reasons to visit the Centennial State. From crystal clear to blue and emerald green, you’ll never run out of options to explore in this state. Most offer plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing, among others. Here are the five clearest lakes to visit in Colorado.
5. Estes Lake Marina (1770 Big Thompson Ave, Estes Park)
Located on the edge of Estes Park and near Rocky Mountain National Park, Lake Estes is one of the clearest lakes to visit in Colorado. If you are looking for an authentic experience on your trip, a visit to this lake will not disappoint. The 75 ha water reservoir is formed by the Olympus Dam and sits 7522 feet above sea level. Its coastline is about four miles and has an area of 185 acres. Estes Lake is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and is on the Big Thompson River. It offers plenty of outdoor activities, including kayaking, boating, and paddleboarding, as do many other regional mountain lakes. The scenic shoreline surrounding this lake offers visitors impressive views of nature and wildlife. While in the water, visitors can enjoy magnificent views of the natural landscapes around this beautiful lake. Estes Lake is arguably the perfect sight for sore eyes and a great vacation spot for people looking to have a fun day out. You don’t want to miss a chance to fish for rainbow trout, hawk or hike along this lake. According to Colorado.com, swimming is not permitted in Estes Lake, but visitors can splash around in the designated area of the reservoir and play in the sand. The lake’s green spaces provide plenty of picnic shelters and tables for relaxing or having a mid-afternoon BBQ. You can also jog, walk, bike, or skate the trail around this lake while enjoying the views of the Estes Valley and the pristine Rocky Mountains around Estes Lake.
4. Monarch Lake (Grand County)
Monarch Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Colorado, located east of Granby in Grand County. Also known as Monarch Reservoir, this lake offers magical breathtaking views with mountain vistas, hiking trails, and campsites nearby. It is perfect for lounging, swimming, picnicking and paddle boarding. The reservoir is also one of the best lakes for kayaking in Colorado. Visitors appreciate the calm of the body of water because there is no navigation or motorized activities. Monarch Lake provides the desired postcard backdrop with crystal clear waters and an elegant setting worth taking a trip for. It is one of the most popular destinations, making the Monarch Lake Trail in the Arapaho National Recreation Area a very popular trail. According to Alex on the map, you might want to arrive early enough to avoid the crowds. Also make sure to visit on a favorable weather day.
3. Dream Lake (Larimer County, Colorado)
Dream Lake is located in the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park and surrounded by Alpines. It provides a fantastic backdrop of Hallet Peak and includes a serene body of water suitable for visitors of all ages. The lake is formed by large glaciers that carve deep canyons and cirques. Dream Lake is known for its stunning features including the surrounding steep cliffs and trailheads stretching over two miles. Its crystal clear water and captivating views around this lake make it one of the most visited and photographed places east of the Continental Divide. The water reservoir is ideal for hiking and snowshoeing. April to November are the best times to explore these trails. Also, it should be noted that dogs are not allowed in the park when planning your visit.
2. Two Rivers Lake (Larimer County, Colorado)
Nestled in a shallow basin below the Continental Divide, Two Rivers Lake is one of the beautiful lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park and one of the region’s hidden treasures. It is famous as the headwaters of Mill Creek and offers spectacular views from the west, with a 12,129-foot-tall mountain reflected in the shallow, tranquil clear waters. The beautiful lake is a twin to Lake Helen, which overlooks the headwaters of Fern Creek. Two Rivers Lake offers breathtaking views with calm waters and majestic mountain scenery. You can hike, camp or explore wild camping surrounded by evergreens. Nearby are the backcountry campsites of Lake Fern and Lake Odessa, but you must acquire a permit to camp.
1. Lake Isabella (San Isabel National Forest, Pueblo)
Lake Isabelle, near Boulder, is one of Colorado’s cleanest and clearest lakes. It is an alpine reservoir, rising to around 11,000 feet, and a hidden gem. The crystal clear mountain lake is in the pristine nature of Indian Peak, and its crystal clear water makes it more attractive and unique. Lake Isabelle is surrounded by pine forest and rocky peaks with native moose and spring wildflowers. It is a popular summer destination, especially for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, and fishing. According to Onlyinyourstate, Lake Isabelle is open year-round, but the best time to visit is early summer or late spring. Apart from the heavy snowfalls which can make it inaccessible, the water of this beautiful clear lake is drained from the end of July to the beginning of August. The mountainside and surrounding trees are also an attractive sight for visitors throughout the year.