Description - Carter Lake is located in the foothills west of Loveland at an elevation of 5,760 feet. It is a part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. The purpose of this water project is to divert water from the west slope to the east slope for drinking water, irrigation, and hydropower generation. The Bureau of Reclamation is solely responsible for power generation. The agencies jointly manage water levels for irrigation, municipal, and industry use.
Recreation is managed by Larimer County Natural Resources. Three miles long and about one mile wide, Carter Lake is a 1,100-acre reservoir surrounded by 1,000 acres of public lands and is popular for fishing, sailing, camping, swimming, scuba diving, rock climbing, and water skiing. It is open year round. Park Entrance Permits and Camping Fees are required.
Mercury Facts at a Glance
- Developments include 5 campgrounds with 151 campsites and 3 boat-launch ramps. Total water surface available for recreation is approximately 1,144 surface acres. A concession-operated public marina is located at the north end of the lake. A concession for members only (Sail Club) is operated on the north shore of the lake. Access is good. Facilities are closed in winter because of ice and snow conditions.
Recreation - Primary recreation activities include fishing, camping, power boating, and sailing. Water levels are low in late summer because of seasonal drawdown. A hiking trail exists along the west side of the lake. Primary sport fish include rainbow trout, salmon, and largemouth bass. A public swim beach and snack bar/restaurant are available.
Climate - The climate in Colorado varies tremendously from hot dusty summer days to frigidly cold winter nights. Colorado is known for its thunderstorms which form over the Rocky Mountains and then head across the eastern plains, often reaching 10,000 feet or more in height. Lightening is a serious threat, particularly on mountain peaks, lakes and open fields. Summertime temperatures routinely reach 90 to 100 degrees on the plains and the 70 - 80 degrees in the mountains. Cool weather is always possible at night throughout Colorado, particularly at higher elevations. It is not uncommon to need both shorts and a jacket on the same day.
Access by county road north from Berthoud, Colorado. Very near Loveland. A map is available above on this wildernet.com page.