Cherry Creek Lake is a popular retreat in Colorado, not far from the cities of Denver and Aurora. Cherry Creek Dam was constructed in 1950 for flood control and Cherry Creek Lake was created as a result. Today, the lake draws many visitors for recreational activities. Cherry Creek Dam and reservoir is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is managed by the Corps of Engineers as well as its partners which include Colorado State Parks and the nearby cities of Denver, Aurora, and Greenwood Village.
The lake has much to offer visitors, whether you want to be out on the water or remain on land. There are several miles of trails around Cherry Creek Lake that range in both length and difficulty. Many picnic areas are scattered around the lake providing a perfect spot to take in the scenic views over a meal or snack. On the water, boating and fishing are appealing to visitors. Two boat ramps provide access to the water with a minimal wait, even during the peak season. The fun doesn’t stop in the winter. Ice fishing and sledding make for a day filled with wintery activities.
Cherry Creek State Park is on the shores of Cherry Creek Lake. The state park provides access to many of the recreational activities the lake has to offer. Additionally, the state park has 135 campsites, many of which can accommodate RVs. These campsites fill up quickly due to the park’s popularity. You’ll want to make a reservation well in advance of your visit. One camping loop remains open during the winter, though some services may be unavailable or limited.
Cherry Creek Lake is a perfect day or weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located in southeast Denver and just south of Aurora, it’s a short drive from either city. The lake can easily be accessed from I-225.
The roads leading to the lake and state park are maintained throughout the year, even during the winter months. Though the roads are plowed, take caution when driving in the snow and ice. Some park services may be limited or unavailable during the winter.
At the state park, there are multiple parking lots near the swim beach and other day-use areas. The park does become full during the summer months, so you may find it easiest to bike or walk to the lake from your campsite.
Cherry Creek Campground is located in Cherry Creek State Park. The campground has 135 campsites and is open year-round, though only one loop is open during the off-season.
Many of the campsites can accommodate large rigs with the largest campsites extending to 80 feet in length. Many of the sites have full hookups, but others have partial. Be sure to make a reservation in advance of your visit. This campground fills up quickly during the peak season!
Amenities of Cherry Creek Campground include showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station. Though one camping loop remains open during the winter months, keep in mind that some services may be unavailable.
During the snowy and icy winter months, Cherry Creek Lake still has a lot to offer. Once the lake has frozen over, strap on your ice skates to skate or bring your fishing gear for ice fishing. Always check conditions prior to heading out onto the ice. Once there is a sufficient snowfall blanketing the park, head to the trails for cross-country skiing. While there aren’t any designated areas, sledding and snow tubing are welcome as well.
There are numerous trails around Cherry Creek Lake. The trails lead visitors past rolling hills, through a grass prairie, and even through wetlands. Many of the trails are interconnecting allowing you to adjust the length based on the time you have available. One of the most popular trails is the paved Cherry Creek Trail. This 4.75-mile trail is part of a large regional trail system that leads from Denver to Castle Canyon. For those wanting to take a closer look at Cherry Creek Dam, the .36 mile Dam Trail will take you to the face of the dam.
Cherry Creek Lake draws anglers from near and far. The lake is well stocked with rainbow trout, black crappie, and walleye. Cast your line from the shoreline or head out onto the lake by boat, away from the crowds. Once the lake has frozen over in the winter, ice fishing becomes popular. Keep safety in mind and don’t trek out onto the ice without first checking ice conditions. A fishing license is required to fish on Colorado bodies of water.
A picnic is always a great way to enjoy the company of family and friends. There are numerous picnic tables around Cherry Creek Lake which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For larger groups, Cherry Creek State Park has five group picnic areas. These picnic areas can only be reserved for use from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Some of these group areas can accommodate groups as large as 250, making them perfect for reunions.
A sandy beach at Cherry Creek State Park welcomes those looking to swim and splash around in the refreshing lake water. Bring along a floaty to lounge in. The swimming area is roped off, keeping boats separated from those playing in the water. There is no lifeguard on duty at the park. Be sure to keep the beach area clean by packing out what you bring in.
Two boat ramps on Cherry Creek Lake provide quick access to launch your boat or jet skis. The 3.5-mile long lake has much to explore. Paddle along the shoreline in your canoe or kayak, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Speed around the lake on a jet ski or water skis. The lake provides endless fun on hot summer days. Don’t have a boat? The Marina at Cherry Creek has boat and jet ski rentals. Rentals are only available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.