Training for a triathlon or looking for a new swimming challenge? Open water swimming in Colorado can be a challenge with limited locations. Although, the few places we have are beautiful, safe, and ideal places to train. Despite our fabulous weather, which makes for a long May to October warm open water swim season, most swimmers wear wet suits for safety and comfort. Here is a list of several locations to train. If you know of any additional locations around the state, please share with your “Coolsville Colorado” friends.
Chatefield State Park:
Enter through main gate off Wadsworth just south of C-470, Littleton, CO.
Chatfield State Park gravel pond is probably the most popular spot among athletes. Located just south of the large main reservoir, the pond is ideal and easily accessible. Swimming the full pond length and back is about 1800 meters (add a few meters and a couple laps is the full ironman swim distance). A very cool gravel pond feature is that at about 250 meters across there is a gravel bar that’s about 1-2 feet under the surface, which makes a perfect rest spot if you need it.
With a COMSA (Colorado Masters Swimming Association) annual $40 membership you can swim Mon & Wed 4:30pm to 7:00pm and Sat 7:30am to 10:00am between May to Oct. More information at http://www.comsa.org/openwater.html. Keep in mind Colorado State Park annual pass or daily vehicle entry fee is required to park next to gravel pond. Invest in a Colorado State Park annual pass, Car pool, bike, or run in to save some coin. Chatfield State Park info http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/chatfield/Pages/ChatfieldHome.aspx
Chatfield State Park Reservoir also has public swim area with a nice lap lane area. Although, I’m not a big fan of swimming in the main reservoir and getting a mouthful of boat fuel this area is open more regular State Park beach hours and works when you get a late start.
7255 West Grant Ranch Boulevard, Lakewood, CO 80123.
Grant Ranch is a pretty cool alternative and is fully organized by Mile High Multisport who manages the agreement with the Grant Ranch Community for the public to be able to enjoy their lake and facilities. Plenty of parking, club house with showers, landscaped starting area to comfortably get wet suited up, race style buoy swim course, and safety monitors and kayakers on the weekend.
$135 for the season or $11-$15 per visit via punch card. Tues/Thur/Fri 5:30-7am, Tues/Thurs 6-7:30pm, Sat/Sun 7-9:30am. More info at http://www.milehighmultisport.com/open-water-swimming/about/
0461 CR#26, Longmont, CO
Great swim set up for northern front range. They also offer several open water swim clinics each season, which you can register for via the Centennial Pool 303-651-8406. Even though it’s called Union Reservoir, it is actually a natural lake originally called Calkins Lake and was carved out by the last glacial ice age. Name was changed to Union Reservoir due to Colorado water law, that defines any altered lake a “reservoir.” Since tunnels were drilled to funnel water to the St Vrain River the lake is now a “reservoir.”
June – Sep. Tues & Wed evenings 5:45 pm – 7:15pm, Saturdays 8:45am – 10:15am (except for Holidays or special events). Park admission is $8 per vehicle or $2 per bike/walk-in. More information at http://www.ci.longmont.co.us/parks/park_list/overview/UnionReservoirHours.htm
5565 N 51st St., Boulder, CO 80301 (303) 441-3461
Starting in June they offer a 750 meter course from 7-8am for a $10 entry fee. You may start whenever you’d like, but once 7:30am rolls around, swimmers won’t be able to start another lap. If you have a group of 10 or more you can attempt to make a swimming group swimming reservation with the park. More information at http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9385&Itemid=3696
Bear Creek Lake Park:
15600 W. Morrison Rd., Lakewood, CO 80465
Soda Lake swim area is more for water play, but you can swim 50m laps along boundary rope. It’s small, but better than nothing to practice sighting and open water swimming. More information at http://www.lakewood.org/bclp/