Colorado Springs' Hidden Gem for Exciting Water Adventure

Sarah Paris

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Kayaking on Quail LakeSarah Paris/ Personal Collection

The beauty of Colorado Springs begs for exploration, and what better time to get outside than through the long days of summer? Although temperatures in Colorado Springs have recently plunged, we’ve already caught a glimpse of the sweltering heat usually reserved for August. Mountains within city limits allow for amazing hikes with sweeping vistas.

But some of us long for a water cool down and want to feel like we’re getting our mountain time in too. If we’re tired of screaming kids at neighborhood pools and want a workout with our water time, what options do we have?

Many assume the closest reservoirs and lakes for kayaking and paddleboarding are at least a forty-five minute drive outside the city. But there are water sports gems far closer. One can get a solid two hours on lakes right here in town without taking a full day for driving up dusty mountain passes. And one pristine spot stands out as a respite in the midst of city life.

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Quail LakeSarah Paris/Personal Collection

Quail Lake

In southwest Colorado Springs, nestled behind the Tinseltown Movie Theater, the sparkling green waters of Quail Lake beckon. Just off of Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard, Quail Lake isn't visible from the road. But a football field's length to the west, the lake awaits those longing to explore.

Quail Lake isn’t remote, but once you paddle out in its peaceful waters, you feel far removed from the neighborhood bustle surrounding the shoreline. Built in 1973 as a reservoir off Fountain Creek, the now stand-alone lake holds myriad fish, including striped bass, catfish, and carp. Although homes pepper the landscape, they're far enough away to feel separated from society.

Want to catch a sunset on the water? Boating is permitted from sunrise-sunset, and the sunset view is breathtaking. I manage to get a great workout in with each visit. I lap around the lake until my arms become rubber, and then I rest. I take in the majestic peaks towering above and the birds skimming the water’s surface. I paddle out to the middle of the lake, close my eyes, and enjoy a moment of solitude.

Quail Lake stands in the shadow of the magnificent Cheyenne Mountain and gives off amazing oasis vibes. Seagulls and pelicans—a rare sight in Colorado—may sweep past your boat, and they give the lake a coastal feel. The lake sits in a 113-acre park and hosts 22 acres of water for your adventure needs. Motorized boats and swimmers are not permitted, so fishermen, kayakers, and paddleboarders can enjoy Quail Lake in relative calm.

The park hosts two sand volleyball courts and plenty of picnic areas as well, so if you want to make a day of your excursion, there’s plenty to enjoy. On the weekends, Quail Lake’s shoreline may get a bit crowded. However, during the week, getting your boat in the water won’t have many obstacles. Sunrise-1 p.m. paddles offer prime-time beauty and calm. During the afternoon, winds may make paddling difficult. Choppy waves and uncooperative wind might offer a great time for a picnic break.

Quail Lake stands as a spectacular spot for a water adventure in Colorado Springs. If you long for the water but only have a few hours, make Quail Lake your destination.

The City of Colorado Springs operates the park. Wildlife and fishery stocks are maintained by the CO Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Quail Lake is located on the corners of Cheyenne Boulevard and Quail Lake Road. May 1- October 31 hours are 5 a.m.-11 p.m.

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As a long-time resident of Colorado Springs, I'm passionate about our community and what makes our collective heart beat. My News Break articles will focus on the hospitality industry, outdoor adventure, music, the creative arts, and local true crime. Thanks for reading!

Colorado Springs, CO
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