Arapaho National Recreation Area CO

I’m currently planning a canoeing/kayaking trip for late July and early August and Arapaho National Recreation Area (CO) has made my final list. Two things I’m looking for is hopefully great fishing while were there, and good camping spots. The trip will either be 2 nights/3 days or 3 nights/4 days. Does anyone have any good suggestions for this area? The Rec area consists of 5 lakes: Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Monarch Lake, Willow Creek Reservoir, and Meadow Creek Reservoir. I believe their is a waterway connecting Grand and Shadow.

Or- if anyone has any other suggestions for a similar trip in Colorado I would be open to those also. Anyone here ever paddled/fished Big or Little Lake Molas (sp?) in CO?

Thank you in advance!

Call ahead

There is a lot of beetle killed pine in that area and some campgrounds may be closed because of falling timber hazards. Otherwise it is a beautiful area and the fishing is good. Call the forest service and ask about conditions before you go. Make reservations well in advance. With the price of fuel this summer a lot of the 3 million people living along the Front Range from Ft. Collins to Pueblo will be filling up campgrounds closer to home.

Thanks- Also stumbled across Barr Lake & Pearl Lake. How about these? Are there any lakes in CO that you would head and shoulders recommend above others? (Don’t blame you if you don’t even if you did, sometimes its nice to keep those spots to yourself : )

Barr and Pearl
I’m not familiar with Pearl. Barr Lake is a CO State Park. There is no camping there. It’s a nice place, but paddling is limited to a kind of circular area (about 2/3 of the lake) that is sort of plain. The pretty part is off limits as a bird habitat. During the time of year that you had speculated visiting you would get pretty warm at Barr. It is on the plains, not in the mountians. There are a lot of mountain lakes within about 30 miles of the I-70 corridor. Dillon is the closest and has also had campgrounds closed for dead tree removal. Some have been reopened. Again, call ahead for conditions. If you went south of I-70 toward Leadville you would find Turquiose Reservoir and Twin Lakes, both of which are pretty - and so far - less beetle kill. If you don’t mind small in size and big in pretty, try for Sylvan Lake (a CO State Park) West and South of Vail. Good fishing there. You can hardly go wrong with any of the mountain lakes. They are all beautiful, though not all are big. One thing they do have in common is being filled from snow-melt. This makes the water quite cold. You won’t want to be a swimmer for very long. Colorado State Parks has a nice web site. I didn’t copy the link to paste it before I started writing, but you can google it easily. Again, make reservations somewhere as soon as you can. These places book far in advance regardless of the fuel situation.

New Spot
I decided Arapaho was a negative. New location is around Leadville at Turquoise Lake and maybe 1 or 2 more. Anyone fished or paddled here? Thanks.

Nice choice
The fishing is usually pretty good there. Lots of room to paddle. A couple of cautions, I don’t know where you live, maybe Kansas (KS paddler)but Turquoise is around 10,000’ above sea level. Take your time to become acclimated to the thin air. Stay hydrated, it’s your first line of defence against altitude sickness. Also, respect the weather. The afternoon Thunderstorms can turn the lake into a real churn. It can also snow any time of year up there, but hail, groppel or sleet would be more likely. Catch a meal at the Golden Burro in Leadville. You won’t be disappointed.


– Last Updated: May-15-08 12:20 PM EST –

Yes, Ks is home to me. I'll make sure and watch out for the t-storms. By the way, what is groppel? Thanks for the good-eats suggestion, sounds like that would put a good end to a nice day of paddling and fishing. Look to be there around Late July.

Snow pellets
It kind of looks like little cog wheels. It comes in looking like soft hail and usually turns the ground speckled white before the cloud blows away. Have a safe and enjoyable trip. Leadville is a neat little town to poke around in after fishing.