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Old 03-07-2012, 05:02 PM
 
Location: PNW - Greater Seattle Area
50 posts, read 155,942 times
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Based strictly on what I can see on Google Maps, it looks as if Fort Collins has a significantly higher amount of water-related recreation available with rivers, Horsetooth Reservoir, etc. Am I missing something about Colorado Springs in terms of water-related activities, or is there really not much available as I suspect?
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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The closest reservoir to Colorado Springs is the Pueblo Reservoir just west of Pueblo about 35 miles south of Colorado Springs and while Colorado Springs is on the Fountain River its not big and the closest "big" river is the Arkansas that feeds the Pueblo Reservoir.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Yup.
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Old 03-08-2012, 08:55 AM
 
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It's Fountain "creek" and it's nasty.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirLancelot911 View Post
Based strictly on what I can see on Google Maps, it looks as if Fort Collins has a significantly higher amount of water-related recreation available with rivers, Horsetooth Reservoir, etc. Am I missing something about Colorado Springs in terms of water-related activities, or is there really not much available as I suspect?
You have to understand, there is a big difference between a "lake" and a "reservoir" in the arid West. Natural lakes, which are few and small in Colorado, maintain a relatively constant level year-round. (Colorado's biggest natural lake today is Lake San Cristobal near Lake City--all of 600 acres. Colorado's biggest lake used to be Grand Lake in Grand County--until it was "augmented" with a dam, thus becoming essentially a reservoir.)

Reservoirs are man-made impoundments of water--the water being stored from spring snowmelt for agricultural, industrial, and municipal use. The typical pattern for a Colorado reservoir is for it to be full by late spring and substantially "drawn down" by fall. So, a reservoir shore at water's edge in spring may be separated from water by a hundreds of feet mud flat by fall. In dry years, a reservoir may never fill completely in spring and can be near dry by fall. The key fact is that Colorado reservoirs are not maintained primarily for the benefit of water-based recreation--they are maintained to provide water for downstream users and/or, in some cases, to generate electricity. Those users, legally and practically, take priority. When it comes to lakes and water, Colorado is not like the Pacific Northwest west of the Cascades, or like most anyplace else east of the 100th Meridian. It's arid to semi-arid.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:54 AM
 
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Wink Water features of Colorado Springs & Fort Collins

I believe your assumption is correct.

I do not have much experience with Colorado Springs; but judging from a map there may not be much in the way of rivers nearby, but with several lakes or reservoirs situated to the west in the mountains. Unlike the region of Ft. Collins, there are very few ponds on the plains near the town. However, some of the best rafting in the state is on the Arkansas river, and that is more easily accessible from Colorado Springs.

There are many water features near Ft. Collins, many in the form of small or larger ponds, although probably not all publicly accessible. Where this does exist, surely rules on what is allowed or not. Nevertheless, in the right location one could literally have their house fronting a 'lake' there, as well as in Loveland.

The lovely Cache la Poudre river flows down from the mountains to pass by Ft. Collins, just to its northeast. There would be recreational opportunities of one type or another close in, near town, but also farther up the course of this river in the mountains. If I recall correctly, there may be the possibility of rafting and/or kayaking on portions of this river. Its lower reaches in the mountains are also a favored place for those just wishing a beautiful place for a picnic.

Another similar river, relatively near, is the Big Thompson, which flows from Rocky Mountain National Park to and through Loveland. Some of the waters of the Cache la Poudre are also sourced from RMNP, being diverted from the Never Summer mountains to flow down its course. The headwaters of the Big Thompson river come from high within this park, on the east side, but the Alva B. Adams diversion tunnel under the center of these mountains adds water from Grand Lake, and the west side, as well. Thus the flow of neither of these rivers is entirely natural, but added to unnaturally, and at times distinctly so.

To find the natural course of either river, you'll have to travel high within the mountains. With the case of the Big Thompson river, at least to Estes Park, and above 'Lake' Estes. But a better appreciation of what this river truly is and can be is found if approaching it from the far western end of Moraine Valley in RMNP. One of the more popular hiking trailheads is there, and a path which begins by paralleling this lovely river for a good distance.

Indeed, RMNP is one of the epicenters for water in Colorado. A number of major rivers issue from its snow-capped peaks, including not only the Big Thompson and St. Vrain, but also Colorado on the west side of the park. Some of the loveliest rivers you will ever see can be found high within this park, and in splendor far beyond what most know them as in their lower reaches on the plains. There are also any number of small and quite beautiful lakes within this park. Some are easily accessible, others requiring a dedicated hike, and others with surely very, very few visitors. Recreation, other than just being there, will be limited.

For something more, at least in the way of power boating, an excellent option with Horsetooth Reservoir, just west of Ft. Collins.
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Old 03-09-2012, 08:13 PM
 
Location: SE Portland, OR
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IDunn we pretty spot on. The Poudre is definitely a pretty big river for kayaking and rafting. As well as tubing, closer to town.

Don't forget about Carter Lake, which is probably one of the biggest around. The lake up in Estes Park is also pretty decent size.

FoCo has MUCH more water access than the Springs, and because of it always felt MUCH greener and less dusty/deserty as the Springs. I'm going to guess that some of it has to do with the higher amount of agriculture up North.
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Old 03-09-2012, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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Fort Collins/Wellingtin is much more green in general! Irrigation, etc. It's lush in comparison.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:43 PM
 
Location: PNW - Greater Seattle Area
50 posts, read 155,942 times
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You all have pretty much sealed the decision for us. My wife and I both want to move there. BADLY!

Today's forecast for Seattle: 49/38 and rain. For a change of pace, we'll get more of it for the next 4 days as well, at least. I am so sick of this...
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:37 AM
 
307 posts, read 805,727 times
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I have lived in both places, and currently in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is the Choice City. There are several lakes and ponds in and around the city as well as the Cache La Poudre River that flows down from the canyon and right through the town. Excellent Blue Ribbon Trout Fishing as well as a popular tubing destination. The Big Thompson River is south aways in Loveland, also great.

I don't know of any of these types of activities in the Springs. However, I lived there for a short while. I didn't know of any lakes or rivers in that area during the time I lived there. I think Fort Collins is a more outdoorsy community, more earthy. Lots of trails, parks, natural areas/open spaces and within close proximity to Rocky Mountian National Park.

Hope this helps!
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