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Boat tours of Twin Lakes come with a striking view of 14,539-foot Mt. Elbert. —Photo by Mike Fennell

3 Lakes To Visit in September

Escape the heat at these refreshing bodies of water.

By |

Not all Coloradans delight in freestyling through more than a mile of frigid waves. Fortunately, those interested in lake leisure (as opposed to labor) have more than 2,000 bodies of water to choose from. And since most of them are nearly as chilly as Dillon Reservoir, they’re also ideal late-summer spots to cool off.

Float Away: Twin Lakes

Driving distance: 2 hours

Water temp in September: 50 degrees

With these liquid beauties come breathtaking mountain panoramas, making Twin Lakes ideal for boating of all kinds. While you admire Mt. Elbert in the distance, a Twin Lakes Interlaken Boat Tours guide will delve into the glacial formation of the area’s lakes over the course of a two-hour trip ($20). Or rent a vessel from Twin Lakes Canoe and Kayak Adventures ($95 for four hours) to paddle across the conjoined 1,700-acre lakes.

Bonus: Armed with a map from the visitor center in Leadville, take a self-guided driving tour of the mining district to discover more about the region’s rich past.


Cast Off: Lake Granby

Driving distance: 2 hours

Water temp in September: Mid- to high 60s

Pack your fishing license to take advantage of this clear reservoir’s impressive stock of trout. Novice anglers can learn the basics of casting and cleaning in Fishing With Bernie’s Catch Your Limit (four small fish per person) class. Those focused on landing “the big one” will want to try Bernie’s Catch Big Fish expedition, which teaches you to reel in 30-inch—and longer—lake trout. Both trips start at $400 for two people.

Bonus: If you’re already ditching work the Friday before Labor Day weekend, stop by the Granby Farmers and Artists Market from 2 to 7 p.m.


Stand Up: Ridgway Reservoir

Driving distance: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Water temp in September: High 60s to low 70s

Ridgway Reservoir’s calm water makes the 1,030-acre lake near Ouray perfect for learning stand-up paddleboarding with Rigs Adventure Co. (from $85 for 2.5 hours). Plus, the views of the magnificent San Juans are a major improvement over the apartment buildings that often crowd your sightline when you SUP closer to Denver.

Bonus: A yurt in adjoining Ridgway State Park’s Dakota Terraces Campground ($80 per night) puts you just a 20-minute walk from Ridgway Reservoir’s shores and comes with access to hot showers and laundry facilities.

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