Colorado is a state filled with natural wonders that can be the perfect destination for every kind of traveler during each season of the year. During fall, the Rocky Mountains give the perfect landscapes for hikers, and winter is the best season for hitting the slopes in Aspen.
However, for the warmer seasons like spring and summer, Colorado's many lakes offer beautiful sceneries to explore, fun water activities that the whole family can enjoy, and relaxing spots where the only audible things are birds chirping and the leaves blowing in the wing.
And, out of the state's over 4,000 lakes, there are a few that manage to stand out thanks to their sheer beauty and availability to tourists.
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Starting off strong, Grand Lake is known as the "Western Gateway" to the Rockies, serving as a beautiful lakeside setting that frames the mountainside for hikers to admire. But it also works the other way around, as the Rocky Mountains perfectly surround the lake and paint themselves in hues of red during every sunset.
Thanks to being right next to a snowy setting and having clear trails, Grand Lake has received the title of Snowmobiling Capital of Colorado. So, during winter, it can give a quick adrenaline rush before or after going up the Rockies.
With more than 500 surface acres, Grand Lake is the largest and deepest body of water in all of Colorado.
As a more child-friendly alternative, Steamboat Lake's calmer demeanor and clear meadows make for a great camping spot to experience the outdoors and skip along the shore.
The lake is also ample enough for small boats to sail through, which allows for many water sports like kayaking and water skiing to take place. And wildlife constantly roams around the nearby forests, so everyone should keep their food secured and avoid wandering into the wilderness.
With year-long access, Crater Lake has some of the most picturesque landscapes around the Rocky Mountains area. The lake's clear water gives a perfect reflection of the Maroon Bell peaks, and, with a valid Colorado fishing license, people are free to try their luck in catching the native trout that inhabit the lake.
Arriving at Crater Lake isn't an easy task, though, as visitors must hike a moderately difficult trail for over 3.5 miles. This can be seen either as a hindrance or the perfect start for getting the blood flowing before getting to the lake.
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There's a short trail within the Rocky Mountain National Park that travels through an array of some of the area's best lakes.
Starting off at Bear Lake, it's only half a mile until the first stop at the small and mossy Nymph Lake, which gives a great view during the summer when the lily pads are starting to bloom.
It isn't until being 1.1 miles into the trail that the first breathtaking lake, Dream Lake, can be reached. As its name says, the contrast between the rocky terrain and clear water during the early hours of the morning makes for an unreal sight.
Following right after Dream Lake, at the 1.8-mile mark, comes Emerald Lake making the perfect ending to the trail, as the lake is met with Joe Mills Mountain in the background, giving a stunning reward for those who make it to the end. And, although the trail isn't particularly long, the second half gets a bit rocky, so expect uneven terrain.
For a more handicap-accessible trail in the area, try the Bear Lake Loop.
A water sanctuary placed among a luscious forest and surrounded by light waterfalls, Hanging Lake is a hidden gem that can be found in the northeast of Glenwood Springs.
The lake was formed due to a geological fault that caused the lake bed to fall from the valley floor above, leading as a result to a mix between natural grottoes and exposed roots.
And, due to the nature of the lake, it's extremely protected by the national forest service. This means that it's forbidden by law to swim in the water, or bring pets, and it's mandatory to make reservations in order to take the trail that leads to the lake.
Reservations can be made through the Glenwood Springs website.
With long shorelines and ample man-made design, Shadow Mountain Lake has a beach-like feeling that breaks from other mountain-cluttered landscapes that make Colorado, all while still having Shadow Mountain in the background for the perfect pictures.
Due to the lake's sheer size, Shadow Mountain Lake is always open for water activities. Paddlers can enjoy the calm waters in a kayak, while anglers are free to catch the different kinds of salmon and trout that inhabit the lake.
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Two is always better than one, and that's exactly the case for the Twin Lakes. They are a set of interconnected lakes formed by glacier activity and later enlarged from mining activity after the discovery of gold within the Aspen area in 1879.
Due to the high population of trout within both lakes, they're perfect for shore fishing, and campers can get a daily glimpse of Colorado's tallest mountain, Mount Elbert, from the southernmost shoreline.
As part of a trail of the same name, the calmness of Monarch Lake makes it great for fishing and picnicking with the whole family. The trail that leads up to the lake is an easy 4-mile-long hike that takes visitors through shaded forests, slight slopes, and beautiful blossoming flowers during spring. During heavy winter snow, hikers might need to bring snow shoes, so be prepared for the season.
A lake doesn't need to have lots of trees or tall vegetation to be beautiful, and Chasm Lake is a prime example of this. The lake is part of an intermediate-level hiking trail that starts at the Longs Peak Ranger Station and leads visitors through a 4.2-mile hike through mountainous landscapes before meeting up with Chasm Lake.
The lake is relatively small, though, and the only few activities that can be performed once there is walking along the shoreline (or on top of the lake when it freezes over during winter) and sightseeing the chasm's magnificence.
During winter, the trail becomes slippery from the ice, so bringing foot spikes is a must to avoid falling.