Fire Restrictions in Effect

Fires in metal grates only. Fuel stoves and grills OK (no charcoal). No open flames outside of metal grates. No smoking outside unless on established roads or parking areas.

Southwest of Loveland

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.

Brochure (1.44 MB)
 
Trail Map (3.01 MB)
    

Features

Accessible Activities
Boating
Camping
Drinking Water
Fishing
Hiking
Marina
Permit Required
Picnic Area
Reservable Pavilions
Restroom
Swimming

Accordion

Map
Carter Lake
4011 S County Rd 31
Loveland, CO 80537

From Denver:

  1. Take I-25 North to the Berthoud Exit (Exit 250).
  2. Turn left (west) onto Highway 56 and continue for 9 1/2 miles. (You will pass through the town of Berthoud.)
  3. Watch for the Carter Lake road sign after a sharp curve to the north (right).
  4. Turn left (west) onto County Road 8E and continue for 3 miles.
  5. Stop at the entrance station to purchase Park Entrance Permits, Follow County Road 8E west to the intersection about halfway up the hill. A sign will direct you to continue straight to the South Shore Campground or to turn right to Carter Knolls Campground, the swim beach, Big Thompson Campground, Carter Lake Marina, Eagle Campground, Lowell's Campground and North Pines Campground. The Natural Resources Department is located about 2 miles north of Carter Lake at 1800 South County Road 31.

From Longmont or Boulder:

  1. Take U.S. Highway 287 north to County Road 56 west of Berthoud.
  2. Turn left (west) onto County Road 56.

    Follow direction from # 3 above

From Loveland:

  1. Drive west of Loveland on U.S. Highway 34 to mile marker #85. Watch for the "Carter Lake" sign.
  2. Turn left (south) onto County Road 29. Go 2 miles and turn right (west) onto County Road 18E. Go west another 2 miles. Watch for the park signs.
  3. At County Road 31 turn left and stop to purchase park entrance permits at the entrance station on your right or at The Natural Resources Department. Continue south on County Road 31 another 2 miles to Carter Lake, campgrounds, marina, and swim beach.

From Fort Collins:

  1. Take Taft Hill Road south from Fort Collins to U.S. Highway 34 (Eisenhower) in Loveland and turn right (west).

    Follow directions from Loveland above.

Conditions
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Conditions updated: 06/12/2018

Active wildlife in the area - Please exercise caution and obey all posted speed limits as you approach the Carter Lake area. The wildlife in and around this area is very active and we experience numerous vehicle vs. wildlife accidents throughout the year.

All Carter Lake boat ramps are open for the season. Days and hours vary. View current boat ramp hours.

View current water level of Carter Lake Reservoir.

Hunting is not allowed at Carter Lake.

The swim beach is open for the season.