Where to Sail in Colorado

Where to Sail in Colorado | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

As a landlocked state, Colorado is as far away from the ocean as you can get. This, however, doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy some sailing adventures in the Centennial State. Let's walk you through where to sail in Colorado.

Colorado is widely known as an outdoorsy state but the fact that it is a landlocked state makes it quite difficult if you want to enjoy some sailing adventures. The mountain winds are often unpredictable and challenging but as a sailor, you can adapt and still get to enjoy some of your best sailing adventures in the Mountain lakes of Colorado!

If you're accustomed to sailing in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, or something similar, you might be very disappointed when it comes to what Colorado has to offer in terms of sailing. Despite having over 2,000 lakes and reservoirs, which can be an overwhelming number for anyone looking for a great place to sail, we have to admit that none of them are very large, especially when compared with what sailing in an ocean gives you. But even with that, there are some great options where you can sail in Colorado.

One thing that you will notice about many lakes and reservoirs in Colorado is that they're so choked with speed boats that sailing in them would be no fun. But this shouldn't kill your morale if you want to go out there and enjoy the winds on your sailboat. Well, there are a couple of beautiful mountain lakes in Colorado that offer nice settings for sailing as you will have fewer speed boats to deal with and enough wind for your sails.

So if you've been looking to enjoy some sailing excursions in the Centennial State here are the best places to truly enjoy some quality time sailing in the Colorado Rocky Mountains!


Table of contents

Where To Sail In Colorado

The Blue Mesa Reservoir

Spanning over 20 miles and boasting over 96 miles of shoreline, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is, without a doubt, one of the best sailing destinations in Colorado. It is the largest water body in Colorado and an important part of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. With its location just near the town of Gunnison in Western Colorado and just 4 hours from the Colorado Springs, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is a sailing enthusiast's dream.

The fact that it is formed by three reservoirs makes it quite wide-open and an impressive place to mess around in your sailboat. It has several fingers that give sailors the chance to enjoy all the incredible views and amazing attractions that the lake has on offer. The best part about sailing in the Blue Mesa Reservoirs is the fact that you'll never know what the wind will do. It's so challenging as it can go from serious gusts to dead calm in no minute and this is perhaps one of the joys of sailing in a Rocky Mountain lake.

Besides sailing, the Blue Mesa Reservoir is one of the largest trout fisheries in the United States. This means that it's a perfect place to drop your lines and indulge in some fishing adventures as well. In essence, sailing in the Blue Mesa Reservoir will directly connect you with nature as you'll constantly look at the winds, the sky, and hope that some currents may show up.

Grand Lake

If you've been looking for a challenging sailing destination in Colorado, look no further than the Grand Lake. This is a sailing destination where sailors note that the winds will come straight down from the sky, in a manner that would confuse even the best sailors in the world. It is situated at the headwaters of the Colorado River in North Eastern Colorado.

In addition to being the largest and deepest natural body of water in Colorado, its amazing and unique wind patterns make it highly popular with sailors. Imagine a place where wind can change direction and scope by more than 180 degrees at almost any time and in less than a minute!

For many sailing beginners, these odd wind patterns would make your sailing nightmarish but this is discarded by the great scenery that's on offer. In other words, the surrounding scenery will mesmerize you to an extent that you'll probably not realize just how challenging it is to sail in such conditions.

In essence, there are very few things that can beat the majesty that comes with sailing at the Grand Lake. This is a sailing destination that offers a mountain-based body of water and high-altitude wind as your only engine.

Granby Lake

Covering over 7,000 acres, the Granby Lake is the third largest lake in Colorado and one of the best sailing destinations in the state. With a maximum depth of 221 feet and a 41-mile shoreline, this unique man-made lake sits at an altitude of 8,280 feet and is one of the highest places you can sail at in the world.

If you've been thinking about experiencing the joys and challenges of using a pontoon boat, this is perhaps the best place to quench that thirst. You can shift gears from a sailboat to a pontoon boat and explore the many marinas and coves that are part of this marvelous lake. The deep waters of the Granby Lake are also home to some of the world's biggest monster lake trout, as well as brown and rainbow trout.

This lake is located deep within the Rocky Mountains and is a superb destination if you've ever wanted to sail in an area where you're surrounded by mountains and some of the best scenic views in the country.

Chatfield Lake

Located on the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado is a man-made reservoir that's hugely popular with boaters and sailors thanks to its amazing waters, scenic surrounding, and sailing opportunities. It is located 15 miles southwest of Denver and covers an area shy of 1,200 acres, which is just enough if you want to set sail and enjoy the wind on your face.

It's important to note that Chatfield Lake is one of the busiest water bodies in Colorado, especially during summer. This is why it is divided in terms of use zones and both sailing and motor vessels are allowed to use the main reservoir. The fact that the water levels at Chatfield have been rising in recent times should be an added advantage.

When sailing at this impressive lake, you get to access a full-service marina that offers boat rentals as well as an amazing floating restaurant. This lake and its state park is a great destination for a sailing getaway on a weekend with friends and family. You can also enjoy a hot air balloon ride if you are extra adventurous and want to sample the Colorado skies while enjoying the most beautiful sceneries from above.

Dillon Reservoir

Situated in Summit County near the town of Frisco, Lake Dillon is a great sailing destination in Colorado, particularly if you want to experience mountain sailing. Imagine what it would feel like to sail 9,000 feet above sea level! This is a modern 3,233-acre reservoir that can be borderline nightmarish for any beginner sailor or even veteran sailors who are familiar with predictable winds in normal lakes or at the ocean.

While there are no such things as prevailing winds in Dillon Reservoir, you'll have lots of fun by sailing in a lake surrounded at every corner by the mountains. The conditions can be tough but you'll enjoy one of the best sailing experiences especially in a landlocked state. Sailing in Dillon is not always dramatic but you should always expect the winds to change without the slightest of hints.

Boyd Lake

Have you ever thought of going ice sailing? Well, this can sound like a very far-fetched idea but it's quite possible in Boyd Lake. Located in Loveland, Colorado, this lake offers lots of clear ice, winds, and excellent conditions that make ice sailing a possibility.

The winds in this area generally swirl and shift directions and can make your ice sailing adventure quite fantastic. The only challenge would be to deal with the snowy roads that lead to this superb lake.

This 1,700-acre lake is not only perfect for sailing but can be excellent for other water activities such as fishing and water skiing. You can also indulge in camping, hunting, and biking. It is a family-friendly lake that offers warm sandy beaches when the season is warm.

Cherry Creek Reservoir

A scenic oasis near Denver, Cherry Creek Reservoir offers a wide range of water activities in its 880-acre surface area. This reservoir is action-packed with many sailors making it their playground, especially during summer. You'll enjoy a natural prairie of scenic surroundings and gently rolling hills.

This is a great destination if you've been looking to sail right in the city. You'll enjoy gorgeous sunsets, spectacular views, and mild breezes as well as windy conditions The fact that there are always sailors in this reservoir also gives you a perfect opportunity of making new friends while enjoying an exciting and unforgettable sailing excursion. This is also a great place to teach the young ones a thing or two about sailing.

Colorado may be well known for its Rocky Mountains and snowy winters but some of its lakes are excellent for sailing. So if you've been looking to enjoy some mountain sailing, Colorado might be the ideal place for you.

Until next time, happy sailing!

Where to Sail in Colorado
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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