Paddle Safely this Summer

    Whether you are a kayaker, canoer, or stand-up paddleboarder, it is important to understand the rules and regulations paddle craft must abide by at Larimer County reservoirs.

    • Know before you go: Check the weather, and look west before heading up to the reservoir. In Colorado, the weather changes quickly and often. Make sure you are taking the correct equipment for whatever the weather brings.
    • Wear It: In Colorado, it is required for paddlers to have a PFD on their craft at all times. We recommend you wear your PFD at all times when on the water. Children 12 and under are required to wear their PFD with a penalty of a $100 fine. 
    • Have the correct equipment: Paddlecraft must be equipped with enough PFDs for everyone on board, and each paddler needs to carry a whistle with them. Also, bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. 
    • Make a float plan: Tell someone what your plan is. Include the number of people in your group, a description of the crafts with the group, the safety equipment on board, and when you expect to return. 
    • Dogs: Have your pet wear a PFD. Water can be choppy at the reservoirs and can easily overwhelm an animal. Keep them on a leash if they are unsure swimmers, and avoid wakes from boats.
    • Stay Close to Shore: Non-motorized craft are at greater risk in the channel. Play it safe - keep to the calmer waters in coves and stay close to shore.
    • Be Bright: Stay visible to motorized boaters, especially at dusk. Choose colorful and/or reflective craft, clothing, and PFDs. Never lie on your board in a wake zone!

    Paddle Boarder at Horsetooth Reservoir


    Individual kayaking at Horsetooth Reservoir

    Choosing the Correct PFD

    There are a number of different types of life jackets on the market. Review 

    from the U.S. Coast Guard for a detailed guide on how to select the right PFD for you.

    Safety Starts with You


    Where to Paddle in Larimer County

    Located West of Loveland, Carter Lake is one of the best places in Northern Colorado for paddlecraft of all kinds. Nearly three miles long, with over 1,100 acres of water area, paddlers are welcome to visit. Boat launches are located at the Marina, North Pines, and South Shore, and the west side of the lake is a no-wake zone. Please review

    for a more detailed view of where to launch your paddle craft from.

    Entrance Permits are required for day use at Carter Lake.

    As the largest waterfront space in Larimer County, Horsetooth Reservoir is a popular location that draws in paddlers of all skill levels. Paddle craft are permitted to launch from the shore at Inlet Bay, South Bay, Satanka Cove, and the Sunrise Swim Beach. See  this map for more details on where to launch paddle craft from at Horsetooth Reservoir. 

    Entrance Permits are required for day use at Horsetooth Reservoir. 

    Nestled in the foothills West of Loveland is Pinewood Reservoir. Only non-motorized, hand-launched watercraft are allowed on this 100-acre reservoir, thereby making Pinewood a favorite spot for paddlers in Larimer County. Paddlers are permitted to launch their watercraft from the Blue Mountain Trailhead and Pinewood Campground. View 

    for a more detailed look at the Pinewood Reservoir area.  

    Entrance Permits are required for day use at Pinewood Reservoir.