NOCO Best Rivers, Lakes and Trails
Colorado offers a robust recreational space and is the catalyst for many people migrating here. Drive any direction and you’ll also find NOCO BEST rivers, lakes and trails. For lake areas, there are both public and private destinations leaving you in awe from the surrounding beauty. A quiet stream is an area where anyone can turn their life around. And every field offers its dreams. Okay, enough with the picturesque jargon. Let’s explore, while we uncover these incredible Colorado attractions. for you to become familiar or to get reacquainted. (Article 1/10 of “NOCO’s River, Lakes and Trails. A Guide to Northern Colorado”)
An Introduction to Carter Lake, A NOCO Best
Carter Lake in Loveland, Colorado is one of NOCO’s Best Lakes and only an hour outside of Denver. Sitting almost 6,000 feet high at elevation. The lake is also one of the state’s biggest reservoirs. Along the 1100-acre body of water, you’ll find camping, boat marinas, and little businesses. But you can be miles away from the city. Several events take place in spring and fall. Housing communities and neighborhoods are sparse, but residents are friendly and look after one another. Homeowners of all ages can bury some roots, finding genuine beauty with an organic vibe. However, there’s far more to this area than just waves. Can you picture spending your weekends here?
Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water District
Before visiting the area check out the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. A fascinating part of history since 1937, employees have been managing 1.6 million acres of waterways stretching across 8-counties in NOCO. Carter Lake is the 2nd largest reservoir as part of their Big Thompson Project for the Eastern Slope.
Providing Water for Several Cities
Another fascinating tidbit, Carter Lake provides water for cities such as Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield. The water is replenishing for farmers and their facilities. This lake is not only a luxury, it’s a necessity for everyone, especially agriculture.
Spilling Streams and Rivers
Natural causes lead salmon here with the active rivers coming from Big and Little Thompson? There are streams spilling into the lake and making excellent fishing holes and a yearly event of excitement. During the spring, when the snow is melting, the mountains create optimum circumstance for whitewater rafting. The waterways can get rough where a guide may be appropriate for the ‘newbies.’ However, if you have time to experience this yearly event, it is exhilarating.
Are the Fish Biting?
Interestingly, the water rarely freezes where anglers can take advantage of throwing a line any time. There are several species of trout but many locals gloat over the white bass which run when it’s warmer. Delicious for grilling is kokanee salmon and yet another reason to grab a pole and some bait. Fly-fishing during the spawn is a favorite method for catching if you want a new hobby. The only tough part is this type of fish isn’t always plentiful and is a lucky catch if you do come across one. Can you picture yourself in a pair of rubber waders?
Rent or Dock a Boat
When fishing by boat, there are plenty of accommodations. You can dock at the local marina or offshore. The location provides both double and single boat slips; with or without electrical. They also cater to those with moorings from 20 to 27’. The marina is highly recommended because of friendly customer service. Pontoons and boats are also available for rental. You can also build upper body strength with paddle boarding or take a day drifting. Carter Lake’s Marina offers slips for many size vessels, including sailboats. Wind coming off the mountain, ideal conditions for sailing. Whether you are staying overnight or for good, it’s an excellent place to anchor. Boating and having access to the lake is yet another beautiful reason. Whether you’re looking to visit or build a property, the views are spectacular.
Wildlife is a Thing Here
An attraction for many visitors here is the wildlife. It’s a thing here. The excitement can happen at almost any turn as majestic ram and wild goats roam freely. It is not uncommon to make long-distance acquaintances with bear, elk, and deer. If fortunate, you may stumble upon turkey or owl. You’ll find a sizeable population of birds around the lake. Can you imagine living here, being surrounded by the splendor of the wild?
A word of wisdom for the outdoorsy types: Remember, cougars, snakes and bear are reason to prepare and protect yourself and the wildlife. Approach no wild animal as you’re putting yourself in danger. They’re beautiful animals but need respect to admire from afar.
Types of Homes Found in the Carter Lake Area
Other than being home to animals, the population is less than 4,000. You’ll find a variety of homes and properties from horse farms, to modern mountain mansions. With so much open land, anything is possible. Whether you’re seeking some acreage to build your luxury estate or a parcel for hunting, options are plentiful.
Buyer Beware: With homes built at an elevation of 5,760 you will get some breathtaking, panoramic views. Many of the mountain homes offer 360° backdrops highlighting the lake, mountains, and cityscape. Just imagine building a fire with nightlights flicker in the background? In case you were wondering, the properties here serve their owners well with impressive scenes from multiple angles.
Carter Lake Culture
If you like what you have heard, let’s talk about the town’s culture? Since this is a tourist area, and close to places like Estes Park, you will find a melting pot of people. Traffic sometimes gets thick during peak seasons, but it’s unusual. Shopping is not far with a brief run into the town of Loveland. It is a peaceful environment with homes spread far apart. Chilling out at the end of your day is part of the lifestyle. It is not uncommon to meet up with friendly neighbors for a bonfire or sip of microbrew at the local pub. One thing for certain, everyone seems neighborly. If you’re wanting a fast-paced life, you won’t find it here. The only thing in a hurry may be the animals during the hunt. The slow-pacing is a remedy for many people who come up from the hustle and bustle wanting a chance to relax. NOCO best rivers, lakes and trails can help you unwind or rewind.
But Wait, There’s More!
With light traffic you can make Carter Lake in an hour if coming from Denver. The 55.8 miles is a fast escape coming from the city which is why there are sometimes a lot of visitors. But if you’re looking to buy, you need to pull the trigger if a home is listing. Homes are rarely available in this area, where people quickly snatch up properties. Long-term may turn into short-term decision making with the scarcity.
Jeeping and ATVs
Abundant are the trails found in this part of the Rockies. If you’re into jeeping and ATVs, you must check out Pole Hill Road. This stretch is located off of Highway 36 near Estes Park , but the trail itself is a bit of a challenge when you first approach. About ½ way into the wooded area, it tapers to an easier ride. Regardless of the terrain, the genuine thrill is from the lush scenery and bounce of the shocks. You could not ask for a better part of Colorado to go 4-wheeling or use that Polaris.
5-Star Walking and Hiking Trails
They rate walking and hiking trails 5-stars along Carter Lake. Many people recommend Sundance Trail near Berthoud as a favorite among locals. The trails are usually busy making enough noise to scare away the curious animals, but you still may spot a few. Be sure to bring a camera as you will see plenty of incredible pieces of art curated by Mother Nature herself.
One Reason They Call it “God’s Country”
Whether you are looking to fish, paddle or hunt, Northern Colorado has vigorous land providing a husky outdoor environment, making it THE premier destination. With an incredible backdrop of the Rocky Mountains and wide-open spaces, you can see why it’s considered “God’s Country.” If you want to move to an area to be ‘One with nature’ the upper part of the state is ideal.
Carter Lake is a gift to both residents and visitors. With so many things to see and do, you’ll never experience a case of the hum drums. In fact, you could plan an entire 365-day calendar and still not have enough time to do everything. It’s a special place where anyone can live life to the fullest.