Make a Splash this Summer
There are several natural swimming spots just a short trip away from Castle Pines that offer an outdoor oasis to take a dip and cool off. Other watering holes may be a few hours away, but they could easily be worked into a trip en route to other destinations in Colorado and are worth the stop. Here are some spots we found to make a splash:
Cherry Creek Reservoir – One of the closest and most well-known bodies of water is in Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora. This 880-acre reservoir has a roped-off swim area and a sandy beach.
Four Mile Creek – About 10 miles east of Guffey lies a secluded swimming hole called Paradise Cove. Known for its beauty, it is officially named Guffey Gorge. After a short, half-mile hike near Cripple Creek, adventurous water seekers can choose from three different cliff faces to jump into cool water. Or, swimmers can scamper down rock steps to the small watering hole with towering red rocks and a small waterfall.
Big Soda Lake – Near Bear Creek Lake Park in Lakewood, this very popular lake has a designated swim area and a lap swimming lane that parallels the shore.
Horsetooth Reservoir – Just west of Fort Collins, this man-made lake created by four dams encompasses 6 1/2 miles of water surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land … and probably a few CSU students cooling off!
Cache La Poudre River – Just like Horsetooth Reservoir, this river is northwest of Fort Collins and a popular destination for Coloradans. In the mid-to-late summer months, this scenic river is perfect for tubing and swimming. At Legacy Park or at Picnic Rock near the Poudre Canyon, there are rope swings and a beach area.
Boulder Creek – Keeping CU students cool with snow runoff from the Rockies for years, Boulder Creek is 31.4 miles long so tubing is a given. Walk along the Boulder Creek path and look for a good spot to wade. Suggested areas to relax include east of the Settlers Park Trailhead, by Eben G. Fine Park, and the area near the Boulder Farmers Market under Broadway.
Wellington Lake – Near Bailey, this lake is privately owned but open to the public. The serene 167-acre lake offers blue waters and fantastic views.
Ruedi Reservoir – Located just outside Basalt, near Aspen, in the White River National Forest, this reservoir was created by the construction of the Ruedi Dam and has nearly 1,000 acres of water. Hike up Red Table Mountain for a panoramic view or lounge at the beach.
Adrenaline Falls – Located in the San Juan National Forest, Adrenaline Falls earns its name with being a cliff jumping spot for adrenaline seekers. Beautiful pine trees and massive rock formations surround this large watering hole.
Big Dominguez Canyon – In the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, near Gunnison, Big Dominguez Canyon has watering holes, feature waterfalls, picturesque rock formations, dramatic cliffs and even a collection of Native American rock art petroglyphs.
Before visiting any of these sites, check the corresponding website for information regarding reservations, park entry fees, closures, distances, elevation, conditions and safety. Many sites are designated “swim at your own risk.” Also, be aware of low water levels or strong currents and obey all signage.
By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo