Why we love it: The central location and large sailing space.
When to go: The winds pick up in September to create the ideal sailing conditions for both the beginner and the consummate sailor.
Whenever I tell my Seattle-based sister about my sailing excursions around Colorado she sounds perplexed. “But, where do you sail?” she demands, as if afraid I might be setting sail in a large swimming pool sans ocean waves. I say, forget salt. For Colorado sailing, it’s all about wind and lakes, like the Cherry Creek reservoir.
On a recent excursion, I rigged up the sails and checked the lines on a little J-22 keelboat in late afternoon. The wind seemed negligible, but when I motored out, the sails immediately caught a strong wind. The reservoir is big enough that I quickly left the dock behind and could almost pretend that my sailboat was not really landlocked.
Labor Day signals the end of the summer festivities on the marina and drives away most recreational motorists, which leaves the reservoir to the more seasoned skippers. If you don’t have a boat, it’s a good time to find one in need of a crew since there is more space to maneuver and it’s easier to learn the ropes (pun intended).
Getting There: From Denver, take I-25 South about six miles. Exit on I-225 North toward I-70. Take Exit 2 for Tamarac Street/DTC Boulevard. Turn right on DTC Blvd. Turn left on East Union Avenue, then right on Dayton Street. Cherry Creek State Park  will be your first left ($9 entry fee). Follow signs to the marina.
—Image  courtesy of Shutterstock.