Boulder Reservoir is a 700-acre, multi-use recreation and water-storage facility, owned and managed by the City of Boulder and operated as a water supply by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
Planning & Volunteer
The 2012 Boulder Reservoir Master Plan set forth an objective to develop a Site Management Plan for the South Shore area of the Boulder Reservoir.
The new Visitor Services Center Concept Plan was approved and a detailed design is underway. Learn more about the project here.
We’ve got lots of work to do to get the Boulder Reservoir ready for the summer and we need your help!
Hours subject to change.
January and February
- Incoming gate opens: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
- Outgoing gate closes: 4 p.m.
- Incoming gate opens: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
- Outgoing gate closes: 5 p.m.
- Incoming gate opens: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Outgoing gate closes: 6 p.m.
Swim Beach closed.
Entry fees are charged Memorial Day through Labor Day. Each person entering the park must pay the entrance fee noted in the fee chart below. Fees are collected for each person entering Boulder Reservoir including runners, walkers and cyclists. Additional fees are charged for boat permits.
|Youth (3 to 18)||$4|
See the Splash Pass for information on a summer season pass to Boulder Reservoir along with the outdoor pools.
- Enforcement: All visitors must comply with all park rules and all swimming and boating regulations. Boulder Police will be on site at times to help enforce park regulations and provide public safety and service as needed.
- Rain Check/Refund Policy: No rain checks will be issued unless a facility is closed due to weather for two or more consecutive hours. No rain checks will be issued after 5 p.m.
If you are bringing a boat to Boulder Reservoir it must have a valid boat permit. ONLY small craft permits are available for purchase on-site year-round. Small craft permits do not require an appointment or application, they are available for purchase on demand at the Reservoir.
All watercraft on Boulder Reservoir must remain wakeless with the exception of city-sanctioned activities and lake patrol operations.
- Tuesday 5:30 a.m. - noon
- Wednesday 5:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.
- Thursday 5 pm - 9 p.m.
Dogs are not allowed in the park May 15 through Labor Day.
All watercraft including sailboats, power boats, kayaks, canoes, kite boards, sailboards, etc., are required to have a valid Boulder Reservoir permit. Small watercraft permits do not require an application, they are available at the Reservoir any time during our business hours.
Boat rentals are CLOSED for the 2017 winter season.
Boat rental rates - hourly prices
|Kayak 1 person||$15|
|Kayak 2 person||$15|
|Stand-up paddle board**||$18|
|Lifejacket (daily w/out boat rental)||$5|
A valid driver's license/valid ID is required for all rentals. You must be at least 16 years old to rent watercraft without a parent present. We do not accept reservations for boat rentals; it is first come, first serve.
Swim Beach (Memorial Day to Labor Day)
The swim beach is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with some exceptions.
Boulder Reservoir offers one of the largest, seasonally lifeguard attended swimming beaches in Colorado. It features a marked swim area with rafts. The shallow roped off area is great for small children. Children 12 and under must pass a lifeguard administered swim test to go beyond the first rope.
Open Water Swims
**Open water swimming will begin in late spring, 2017.**
Every Wednesday morning, we set up our 750 meter course. Water safety is provided. The cost of the swim is $10 per person. Swimmers may start a lap any time between 7 and 7:30 a.m.
We test reservoir water weekly to ensure bacteria levels are below the standard set by the Colorado Department of Public Health. Additionally, all Boulder drinking water is treated to meet safe drinking water standards prior to distribution for household use.
Emergency Training Drills
- Mock emergency training drills may be conducted weekly to ensure the readiness of reservoir staff to respond to injuries and water safety emergencies. These drills will be conducted under the supervision of management staff and will not be announced to lifeguard or safety staff in advance. An announcement will be made at the conclusion of the drill to notify patrons that the situation was only a training exercise and not an actual emergency.
- These drills are conducted to ensure visitor safety. Please be aware that you may be asked to cooperate with safety personnel during mock or actual emergency situations.
No person shall swim outside the designated swimming area. Swimming is not allowed off ski docks or anywhere in reservoir except for the designated swim area while lifeguards are on duty.
Shallow water is designated by red buoys. Swim tests will be administered by a lifeguard for permission to swim outside of shallow area.
Minimum water temperature to open swim area: 60˚F for the shallow water area to open and 64˚F for the entire swim area to open.
THURSDAYS: Beach will close at 5:30 p.m. for weekly Stroke and Stride events.
PLEASE NOTE: The beach may be closed at any time due to weather or for other health/ safety concerns.
Lifeguards: The swimming beach is staffed by open water certified lifeguards during seasonal, open beach hours only. Swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are present and on duty. Please feel free to approach lifeguard staff that are NOT monitoring the water if you have any needs or concerns.
Facilities: There are restrooms, shower and changing facilities located in the main building by the beach area.
Food: A food, snack and drink concession is also located in the main building above the swimming beach. The concession will be open during beach hours between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Weather at the Boulder Reservoir and along the Rocky Mountain Front Range is unpredictable and can change rapidly, becoming dangerous to boaters, swimmers and other visitors. Be aware of rapid cloud build-up, drop in temperature and sudden changes in wind direction or speed as these may signal the arrival of dangerous weather conditions.
Please be advised of the following weather safety policies:
LIGHTNING: When lightning is seen or thunder is heard near the reservoir it will close. It is strongly recommended that people take immediate shelter in their cars. It is not safe to take shelter under a tent, tree or building, or anywhere within 100 feet of the shore when lightning is present. The reservoir will typically reopen thirty (30) minutes after the last audible thunder is heard or lightning seen.
WEATHER WARNING FLAGS:
Reservoir Caution/Bad Weather Flag (a red, triangular flag)
This flag is displayed to indicate imminent or existing weather conditions which are or may become dangerous. Swimmers are REQUIRED to get out of the water immediately. Boaters are strongly encouraged to get off or out of the water as quickly as possible.
Reservoir Closed Flag (a red, square flag with a black square in the middle).
This flag is displayed when severe weather or emergency conditions exist and pose a hazard to your safety or the safety of others. During this display, all boaters and swimmers are REQUIRED to get off or out of the water immediately.
If lightning is present when either flag is displayed, we strongly urge visitors to take shelter in their cars. When flags are removed, the reservoir is reopened.
Alcohol at the Reservoir
Patrons of legal age may possess and consume alcoholic beverages in the park between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Glass containers are not allowed in the park.
You must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol and must have proper identification available to confirm age when requested. All state and local laws apply to the consumption of alcohol and will be strictly enforced. It is illegal to operate a vehicle or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Lost and Found
Lost and found items will be kept at the boat house.
The City of Boulder encourages all park visitors to help reduce landfill waste by recycling appropriate plastic, paper and metal containers in the recycling containers provided (remember: glass containers are not permitted at the reservoir).
The Boulder Reservoir is striving to become a zero-waste facility! Please help us by doing your part. Please compost food waste (including paper plates, napkins and "corn starch" cutlery). We encourage guests to bring and use special "compostable" plastic ware and discourage the use of non-recyclable Styrofoam, plastic cups and other utensils.
Groups of 10 or more require a reservation to ensure staffing levels are adequate. If a group of 10 or more arrives without a reservation, they may be asked to leave.
Swim Reservation Request
Swim Reservation Requests
Children under 3 years old must wear swim diapers; regular disposable diapers are prohibited on children in the water. Children 5 years old and under must be within arm's reach of an adult when in the water or near the water's edge.
Flotation devices are allowed only at the discretion of the lifeguards/beach staff.
Visit the Beachside Cafe at the Boulder Reservoir! Contact the Wheel & Whisk Food Truck for your picnic or event.
We offer water sports, sailing and windsurfing summer camps for kids!
The Boulder Reservoir is a beautiful setting for a summer party. You may reserve picnic areas from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. late April through mid-October. We have 12 locations available for rent. We'll do the set-up, you just arrive and enjoy!
Picnic reservations are accepted for private parties only. If the gathering is open to the public and/or admission fees will be assessed by the organizer, please use the Special Event Application .
We are proud to host a variety of special events that contribute to the individual, social, economic and environmental health and well-being of the community.
What is a Park Special Event?
A Park Special Event is an activity taking place in a park, including Valmont Bike Park and the Boulder Reservoir, by an organized assembly of more than 50 people that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Event is open to the public;
- Alcohol sales;
- Amplified sound (excluding announcements and boom boxes);
- Includes a tent larger than 400 square feet.
Does my kayak need a boat permit?
Yes, all watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, wind- and kite-boards will require a boat permit to launch on the Boulder Reservoir. The reason for this requirement is to allow better communication with all boaters about special events, water safety and aquatic nuisance species issues.
Due to statewide concerns about transporting harmful plant and animal species from one body of water to another, please clean your vessel thoroughly and let it dry for at least 10 days before bringing it to the Boulder Reservoir. Please read the aquatic invasive species information and follow the precautions to protect Boulder Reservoir from long-term water quality and ecological damage. Boat Permits
Is alcohol allowed at the reservoir?
Yes, alcohol is allowed at the reservoir, as long as it is not in a glass container. No glass is allowed at Boulder Reservoir. All local and state laws apply. In some cases, a permit may be required for alcohol, depending on the party size and types of alcohol involved. Outside alcohol is prohibited on July 4.
Why can't I bring my dog to the reservoir?
Dog are only allowed on the south shore during the off-season, from Labor Day to May 15. Dogs are allowed outside the south shore area on established trails and roads year-round, but leash laws do apply. The potential for conflicts during the busy season on the south shore makes dog management difficult, and thus it is not allowed. As always, guardians are responsible for picking up after their dogs.
Voice and Sight Tag Program: www.voiceandsight.org
Can I swim when the beach is closed?
No, the only swimming that is allowed at the Boulder Reservoir is at the designated swim area when lifeguards are on duty. Open-water swims are usually offered weekly in the summer. See the "swimming" tab above for more information.
What is the water temperature?
The water temperature varies quite a bit with the weather. For current water temperatures, please call 303-441-3461 and press "0" to reach the gate attendant.
Do you have a concession stand?
Yes, the concession stand is located in the main building near the swim beach. Menu + more information
What is the policy on lightning?
The swim beach will be cleared and all rental boats will be brought to shore in the event of lightning or thunder. The beach and rental operations will remain closed until 30 minutes after the last lightning is detected (seen or heard).
Additionally, lake patrol will put up the storm warning flag (a red triangle) at the boathouse. During these times, reservoir staff recommends all boats return to shore and wait out the storm, as lake patrol staff will be coming off the water, and patrons will be boating at their own risk.
How do I reserve a picnic spot?
Visit the Reservoir Picnics page to see the information packet, check availability and use the Boulder Reservoir Picnic Application to request a reservation online.
Can I rent a grill if I don't reserve a picnic site?
Depending on site and grill availability, the cost is $40 for the day and includes a fire extinguisher. You must provide your own charcoal, utensils and lighter fluid.
Does the reservoir offer sailing classes?
Yes, sailing classes and camps are offered for ages seven to adult. For more information, view the Recreation Guide or contact Community Sailing of Colorado , 303-757-7718.
What are the boating rules?
Most importantly, abide by lake patrol's requests. Failure to do so may put your boating privileges in jeopardy. Please review and abide by all State of Colorado Boating Rules and Regulations and City of Boulder Parks and Recreation - Reservoir Rules, Safety and Policies .
Is there fishing at the Boulder Reservoir?
Fishing is allowed at the Boulder Reservoir. However, you may only fish from the designated fishing dock, shore or a boat. All State of Colorado Fishing Regulations apply.
Why do runners and bikers have to pay to enter the park?
Parks and Recreation charges a park entry fee at the gate, regardless of the method of transportation. The fees collected are used for the Boulder Reservoir amenities and maintenance; including toilets, trash, water fountains and safety services.
If I own a business inside the Boulder city limits, can I get resident rates for boat permits?
No, your boat permit rates are based on your residence.
Reservoir Contact Information
|General Information, Front Gate||303-441-3461, press "0" for a gate firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Reservoir Fax Line||303-441-1807|
|Stacy Cole, Reservoir Manageremail@example.com|
|TBD, Reservoir Assistant Manager||303-441-3457|
|Patrick Harbert, Park Host & Picnics||303-441-3247||HarbertP@bouldercolorado.gov|
|Lena Dow, Program Coordinatorfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Jennifer Murray, Boat Permits||303-441-3490||MurrayJ@Bouldercolorado.gov|
Staff hours vary.
The updates above are generated from the #flatironsgolf hashtag on Twitter. The City of Boulder displays this feed for informational purposes and can only verify the accuracy of posts by @BoulderParksRec and other accounts managed by the City of Boulder.