4 (More!) of the Best Swimming Holes in Western Colorado
Where to Swim, Cliff Jump, and Hit the Beach in Western Colorado
We’ve written about some of our favorite watering holes in Colorado
before, but there are so many more to share! There’s a surprising amount of water in Colorado when you know where to look. Here are four more of our favorite lakes, creeks, and coves for cooling off this summer.
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is a lovely place to hike, backpack, and explore in the Grand Junction area. The canyon also gives adventurers some great swimming opportunities in water that is pleasantly warmer than many of our other favorite swimming holes.
You’ll have to hike in, but that’s all part of the fun, right? You’ll have your pick of multiple swimming holes along the six to eight mile round trip route.
About 20 miles from Durango, nestled in a mountain valley is Vallecito Lake, one of Colorado’s largest bodies of water. Vallecito is Spanish for “little valley,” and the area is the ancestral home of many members of the Ute tribe, so there’s plenty of history here. It’s also the best place in the area to swim, stand up paddle board
, boat, and lounge on the beach. Once you’ve been here to swim, you’ll want to come back to ice fish and snowmobile.
3. Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Seeing Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes against the backdrop of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains is an experience you won’t forget. If that’s not enough, there’s Medano Creek. The shores of the creek are a popular spot for swimming, skimboarding, lounging, and sand castle building. Stay in the developed campground that’s within walking distance of the creek, or get a backcountry permit to camp right on the dunes.
If you have your heart set on playing in the water, be sure to check the creek’s flow
before you go. It can fluctuate from a rushing torrent to a trickle. For more information about this national park, don’t forget to read our Insider's Guide to Great Sand Dunes National Park
This last suggestion is all about designing your own adventure. From adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting trips to more leisurely float trips, there’s something for everyone along the Colorado.
You don’t have to be in Grand Junction to have fun on the Colorado River, either. The Colorado River System snakes its way throughout the state. From the Gunnison River to the Animas River (just to name two), you’re rarely far from water on the Western Slope.