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11 Fantastic Recreational Lakes near Cheyenne, WY

The Cheyenne area has a diverse selection of lakes, including state park reservoirs and the Laramie Plains Lakes, known for incredible fishing. Swimming, paddling, and camping are common activities at these lakes.
itiswild.com Best Lakes near Cheyenne Wyoming

Most of the lakes in the Cheyenne area are reservoirs impounded for irrigation and water supply. Despite this, these lakes provide a wide range of recreational opportunities year-round.

Curt Gowdy State Park manages three Middle Crow Creek reservoirs offering fishing, all types of boating, and a huge selection of campgrounds.

Laramie Plains Lakes, famous for excellent fishing, are accessed via BLM land and offer shoreline camping in a primitive setting and windy conditions suitable for ice boating and windsurfing. 

The only drawback is that some lakes require a drive of about one hour, but many are less than 45 minutes away.

There is something for everyone here. Check out what Cheyenne has to offer!

Lakes near Cheyenne:

  1. Crystal Lake Reservoir
  2. Granite Springs Reservoir
  3. Upper North Crow Reservoir
  4. Hawk Springs Reservoir
  5. Oliver Reservoir
  6. Twin Buttes Lake
  7. Lake Hattie Reservoir
  8. Douglas Reservoir
  9. Horsetooth Reservoir
  10. Sloan Lake
  11. Lake Absarraca
Lakes near Cheyenne Wyoming Comparison Table
Comparison Table

1. Crystal Lake Reservoir

Crystal lake springtime Curt Gowdy state park Cheyenne Wyoming
Source: dreamstime
  • Website: Crystal Lake Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 29 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping

Accessible after a 28-mile drive from downtown along Happy Jack Road and entering Curt Gowdy State Park, Crystal Lake Reservoir is one of three major bodies of water in this park between Cheyenne and Laramie. 

Named for a popular sportscaster and Wyoming native, this park opened to the public in 1971. 

Crystal Lake Reservoir is 6,969 feet in elevation, approximately 900 feet higher in elevation than the state’s capital city. 

This lake has overnight accommodations that are great places for stargazing on clear nights. Twin Lakes Creek Campground and Monte Cristo Campground sit along the western shoreline of the reservoir. 

A dam impounds the Middle Crow Creek that flows into the lake from the nearby Granite Springs Reservoir. This impoundment was constructed in 1922 to create the 136-acre reservoir that provides the City of Cheyenne with a reliable water source. 

There are many locations for shoreline fishing around Crystal Lake. Boating is also popular. Those who cast line at this location will find Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout.

2. Granite Springs Reservoir

Granite Ridge trail Curt Gowdy State park Cheyenne Wyoming, summer
Source: dreamstime
  • Website: Granite Springs Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 26 miles (35 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tubing

A little more than a mile northwest of Crystal Lake Reservoir, Granite Springs Reservoir is reached by park visitors who take a road within Curt Gowdy State Park. 

Middle Crow Creek is the source of water in this reservoir, which is 241 feet higher in elevation than its neighbor. 

Multiple camping areas offer outstanding waterfront views of the lake and surrounding valleys. These include North Causeway, Happy Jack, Silver Crown, Camp Russell, Tumbleweeds, Hecla Point, and Federal Bay Campgrounds on the northern shore. 

South Causeway, Twin Bays, Sherman Hills, and Granite Point Campgrounds sit on the southern shore.

Fishing from any of these sites along this 176-acre reservoir is possible. 

The dam that Cheyenne built to maintain a reliable water source for the city in 1904 offers anglers an opportunity to catch brown, cutthroat, and rainbow trout. 

3. Upper North Crow Reservoir

Upper North Crow Reservoir wtih a helicopter
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Website: Upper North Crow Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 31 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Picnics, Hiking, Biking

A 30-mile drive west of town on Happy Jack Road and North Crow Road offers a visit to the Upper North Crow Reservoir. 

Located in a section of Curt Gowdy State Park northwest of the other two reservoirs, this day-use location is a 94-acre impoundment where the South Branch and the North Branch of Crow Creek meet. 

The dam at North Crow Reservoir, sometimes referred to as the Upper Van Tassell Dam, began service in 1932 as another water source for the City of Cheyenne. 

The North Crow Reservoir offers anglers a quiet location to cast a line. Visitors should plan to bring water and take out whatever is brought into this fishing area that lacks amenities. 

Although there are no facilities, the reservoir has plenty of fish. One can catch an Arctic grayling, splake, trout, and tiger muskellunge in this reservoir. 

A Wyoming state record splake weighing 13.6 lbs. was caught here in 2011. 

4. Hawk Springs Reservoir

A young girl hanging onto a tube behind a boat as it hits the waves
Source: dreamstime
  • Website: Hawk Springs Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 61 miles (1 hr)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tubing

Hawk Springs Reservoir is located 61 miles northeast of Cheyenne. The reservoir collects water from a ditch that connects with Horse Creek. 

This lake, established in 1925, varies between 950 and over 1,325 surface acres, depending on water flow and irrigation drawdowns. The Horse Creek Conservation District owns the reservoir. 

As people began to visit for fishing and other recreation, the area became the Hawk Springs State Recreation Area in 1987. This location offers primitive campsites, as well as year-round access to the reservoir. 

Boating and swimming are popular in the summer, while anglers bundle up for wintertime visits to ice fish. The boat ramp is a short distance from the park entrance. 

Those who fish here will find a variety of game fish. Largemouth bass, walleye, channel catfish, black crappie, and yellow perch are common catches. 

5. Oliver Reservoir

  • Website: Oliver Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 56 miles (1 hr)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tubing

Oliver Reservoir is located 55 miles east of Cheyenne, a short distance beyond Bushnell, Nebraska. 

The dam that created this impoundment of Lodgepole Creek was built in 1910 and recently improved. The 264-acre reservoir is the focal point of the Oliver State Recreation Area.

Fishing and boating are year-round activities at Oliver Reservoir. Boat ramps offer easy access, and a swimming beach area exists on the northern side of the lake.

This location is available for day-use between November and early March. During warmer months, overnight camping is possible at a location with great stargazing potential during clear summer evenings. 

A great stopping place along a section of generally flat and treeless prairie, anglers who visit Oliver Reservoir will find a good selection of fish. 

Species include walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, yellow perch, and rainbow trout. 

6. Twin Buttes Lake

a reservoir in Wyoming plains
Source: dreamstime
  • Website: Twin Buttes Lake
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 64 miles (1hr 5min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Windsurfing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping

Sixty-four miles west of Cheyenne and 15 miles beyond Laramie, Twin Buttes Lake was created in 1972. 

This reservoir spans from 250 to slightly more than 305 surface acres. It is one of the alkaline impoundments in the area southwest of Laramie, known as the Laramie Plains Lakes, and has the ability to nurture large trout populations. 

Situated in a grassy area with few trees, Twin Buttes is open throughout the year for boating, fishing, hunting, and camping. 

Some of the lands surrounding the lake are privately owned, while others are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the Wyoming Game & Fish Department

Camping is permitted, but no hookups are available. The site’s roads do not get plowed during the winter.

Anglers visiting here enjoy fishing right after the ice melts and into early summer. Cutthroat, rainbow, and brown trout are found in Twin Buttes.

The lack of trees in the area immediately near the reservoir leads to winds, especially in the spring and fall.

7. Lake Hattie Reservoir

A lakefront view of Sheep mountain from Lake Hattie, Laramie, Wyoming, Snowy Range Mountains, Medicine Bow- Routte National Forest
Source: dreamstime
  • Website: Lake Hattie Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 70 miles (1hr 10min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Windsurfing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tubing

A couple of miles west of Twin Butte Lake, Lake Hattie Reservoir is another one of the Laramie Plains Lakes. 

Created by an impoundment in 1912, this reservoir, often known as the “Hattie Fatty,” is bordered by both public and private land. 

The Lake Hattie Reservoir covers a surface area of between 1,500 and 3,000 acres, depending on precipitation and irrigation drawdowns.

The reservoir is a highly-regarded destination for fishing, boating, and windsurfing in the Laramie area. Bank fishing is possible, as well as casting a line from watercraft within the lake. 

Although primitive camping is permitted, facilities along Lattie Hattie Reservoir are similar to those at Twin Butte – they are largely non-existent. 

Despite the lack of amenities and persistent winds blowing in the area, those who enjoy fishing come here to fish or ice fish throughout the year. 

Common species found in Lake Hattie include rainbow trout, brown trout, perch, and Kokanee salmon. 

8. Douglas Reservoir

  • Website: Douglas Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 41 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Ice Fishing

Douglas Reservoir is a 40-mile drive south-southwest of Laramie, near Wellington, Colorado. 

Created in 1901 by The Windsor Reservoir and Canal Company for irrigation purposes, this 565-acre reservoir is leased by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for fishing access. 

The lease does not cover other recreation activities but does permit fishing by those who like to cast a line for both warm- and cold-water species. 

Year-round access is permitted, with rainbow trout the most common species caught during ice fishing. 

Other species found in Douglas Reservoir include crappie, bluegill, and perch, with occasional sightings of walleye, sauger, and channel catfish. 

Although boating and kayaking are allowed at Douglas Reservoir, visitors must engage in active fishing or get told off by rangers.

9. Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir in Colorado
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Horsetooth Reservoir
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 52 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding, Sailing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Waterskiing, Tubing

Located 52 miles south-southwest of Cheyenne and a few miles west of Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir was built between 1946 to 1949 as a reservoir in the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. 

When the reservoir began storing water diverted from the western side of the Continental Divide in 1951, this 1,900-acre pool began offering reliable water supplies to Fort Collins, Greeley, and agricultural areas in the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

In addition to supplementing the Cache la Poudre River, Horsetooth Reservoir offers excellent recreation opportunities for northeastern Colorado near the Front Range. 

Open year-round, this preserve is a destination for those who enjoy boating, picnicking, fishing, swimming, scuba diving, camping, rock climbing, and water skiing. 

The reservoir gets its name from a rock formation visible above the reservoir. 

Fishing is a popular activity. During the winter, ice fishing is not permitted due to fluctuating water levels that make the ice unstable. 

Species found here include walleye, bass, trout, bluegill, crappie, and sunfish. 

A Colorado state record sauger that weighed 3.38 lbs. was caught here in 2011.

10. Sloan Lake

Sloan Lake in Cheyenne Wyoming
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Sloan Lake
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 1 mile (3 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Biking

Sloan Lake is a mile north of downtown Cheyenne. 

Situated in the center of Lions Park, this lake took shape when a ditch dug from Crow Creek brought water to this natural basin area in the 1800s. 

Originally known as Lake Mahpalutah (or Makhpiahlutah) to honor Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud by his given name, the lake was later renamed for Johnnie Sloan, a dairy owner who received a land patent in the area in 1894. An early park was established when it was known as Lake Mahpalutah.

Commonly known as “Sloans Lake” or “Sloan’s Lake” today, this lake is popular for fishing and summertime canoe and paddle boat access. 

Recreation fields and fitness trails surround the lake, and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens is located immediately southwest of it. 

Although swimming is not permitted in Sloan Lake, fishing is encouraged. 

Species found here include bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, trout, crappie, carp, and sucker. 

A state record 35.6 lbs. grass carp was caught here in 2012.

11. Lake Absarraca

Fishing from a boat on a small lake in Wyoming
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Website: Lake Absarraca
  • Distance from Cheyenne: 2 miles (5 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Less than 2,000 feet northwest of Sloan Lake, Lake Absarraca was another natural basin that became a lake after a ditch dug from Crow Creek flooded the area soon after Cheyenne was established. 

This 21-acre site became a park in 1882 and was an early water source for the settlement. 

This lake, presently bisected by Interstate 25, is best known as a place people fish. Ice fishing is popular during winter months. 

Common fish here are similar to those at Sloan Lake, and restocking occurs regularly. 

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