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Reservoir FAQs

We are excited to share that the team at Boulder Reservoir, with guidance from Public Health and the Colorado Division of Wildlife protocols for inspections and other materials, has developed procedures so that we can again, and safely, allow boating at the reservoir.  There will be new procedures in place to protect staff and visitors, to guarantee the Aquatic Nuisances Species protocols are followed, and to ensure the financial sustainability of our facility, our department and the City of Boulder. 

COVID Reservoir Procedures

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

Can I use my Personal Water Craft at the Reservoir? 

No, the use of PWCs such as jet skis, e-foils and jetboards or other personal water craft is prohibited for safety reasons. Jet skis are only allowed by/for the use of the Reservoir Water Safety staff.

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 14. Dogs are allowed outside the south shore area on established trails and roads year-round, but leash laws do apply. There is a city code in place that prohibits dogs from May 15-Labor Day. 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:

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.

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.

Can I camp at the Boulder Reservoir?
No camping is allowed at the Boulder Reservoir.

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 are only allowed to bring in personal grills if they are PROPANE, and you must bring a fire extinguisher. If you rent one of our grills, 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, dam, 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.