Carter Lake

Come enjoy the swim beach at Carter Lake [Photo: Judy Swenson] Great views [Photo by Dave Marvin] Playground for the kids [Photo by Dave Marvin] The start of a great camping trip [Photo by Dave Marvin] Cruisin' the Lake [Photo: Pam Cramer] Snowy Carter Lake [Photo: Kathy Datsko] View from the Knolls  [Photo: Unknown] Camping near the water [Photo: Dave Marvin]

Three miles long and about one mile wide, this beautiful 1,100-acre reservoir is surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands. It's a great place for fishing, sailing, water skiing, camping, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, and rock climbing.

As part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to divert water from the west slope to the east slope for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower generation, the reservoir is jointly operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District who manage water levels for irrigation, municipal, and industry use. Larimer County manages recreation.

Carter Lake requires entrance and camping permits, and is open year round. At 5,760 feet in elevation, it is nestled in the foothills southwest of Loveland, Colorado, and northwest of Berthoud, Colorado.

General Regulations

For specifics, ask a ranger for a copy of the Regulations Brochure.
  • Life preservers of the appropriate sizing are required for each person on a boat, and must be worn by children at all times. In addition, a Type IV throwable PFD is required on boats longer than 16 feet.
  • Boat travel direction - counter clockwise.
  • An observer (in addition to the driver), with an orange or red flag, must be on the boat during water-skiing activity.
  • Swimming is prohibited except at the swim beach at Carter Lake at Dam 2. Swim beach hours vary. Call 970-619-4570 for current schedule.
  • Cliff diving or jumping in the water is extremely dangerous and prohibited in all areas.
  • Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Collection of firewood, including cutting of trees and branches, is not allowed.
  • Firearms or fireworks are prohibited.
  • Glass containers are not allowed.
  • Public consumption of alcohol above 3.2% is prohibited (no kegs allowed).
  • Dogs must be on leashes not longer than 10 feet at all times. Dogs are not allowed at the swim beach.
  • Due to Homeland Security restrictions, no recreation activity is allowed on dams or within 100 feet of dams when on land.

Directions

Trails

Concessionaires

Boating

Camping

Park Entrance Permits

Fishing

Water Levels

Tips and Info