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Monarch Lake

Monarch Lake is one of the prettiest lakes in Colorado with hiking trails, mountain views and camping nearby. Thanks to the lake’s proximity to the parking area, it is a popular place for non-motorized boating activities. It is also a great place for fishing and for hiking with dogs (on leash only). The four-mile Monarch Lake Loop trail, which hugs the curves of the lake shore, is one of the best easy day hikes in the Grand Lake area. The trailhead also offers access to a network of trails in the rugged Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, including the Continental Divide Trail hike.

Monarch Lake Boating

Non-motorized boating activities like kayaking, canoeing and standup paddle-boarding are permitted in Monarch Lake. No motorized boating is allowed, making this a serene, wake-free oasis for swimming and paddling.

Monarch Lake Kayaking and SUP

Monarch Lake is a fantastic spot for paddling activities like kayaking, SUP and canoeing. The parking area is close to the lake providing easy access for those with non-motorized watercraft. There are a few small islands and a river located on the far end of the lake providing great spots for paddling, picnicking and observing wildlife.

Monarch Lake Fishing

Monarch Lake is a lovely place to cast a line. The majority of the shoreline is easily accessible from the Monarch Lake Loop trail, and a river feeds into the lake’s northwest corner creating a nutrient-rich area for fish.  A Colorado fishing license is required and can be purchased at the Beacon Landing Marina on Lake Granby and Kirk’s Flyshop in Grand Lake, Colorado.

Monarch Lake Camping


The Arapaho Bay Campground is the closest campground to Monarch Lake. Fees are required and reservations are recommended for all Arapaho National Forest camping sites. The Monarch Lake trailhead provides access to many backcountry campsites in the Indian Peaks Wilderness for overnight backpacking trips (permits required.)