With 28 acres of public fishing water, West Lake is a popular outdoor retreat located in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. West Lake is the namesake and focal point of the West Lake State Wildlife Area, which is surrounded by the Roosevelt National Forest.
Along the shores, West Lake has both a day-use area and campground. Nearby, West Lake SWA is conveniently located next to the town’s grocery store, visitor center, and ranger station.
History of West Lake
Before the area was dubbed the “Red Feather Lakes,” European settlers referred to this network of northern Colorado waters as “Mitchell Lakes” and previously “Westlake.” Today, West Lake bears the title of the area’s original namesake, as it is central to the town.
Activities at West Lake
Most commonly, West Lake is used for fishing during the summer months. Although it requires a bit of a drive, West Lake is very easy to access from Fort Collins via the Poudre Canyon. Combined with the pristine mountain scenery, this makes West Lake a well-trafficked area for outdoor enthusiasts in good weather conditions.
Birding & Wildlife: Although it is located “in town” West Lake still receives its fair share of wildlife visitors. Around the shore, moose, bear, deer, foxes, waterfowl, and eagles have all been spotted near West Lake.
Boating: Gas-powered motors are prohibited on West Lake. Instead, only hand, electric, and wind-powered boats are permitted on the water for wakeless travel.
Camping: The National Forest Service maintains the West Lake Campground on the south shore of the water. There are 31 campsites available with electric hookups and five tent-only sites, most of which can be reserved ahead of time through recreation.gov.
The campground is very popular and only has a small number of first-come, first-served sites available. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, bear locker, and room for tents. There are also drinking water pumps and vault toilets located on-site.
Read about the camping near Red Feather Lakes and Cache La Poudre River.
Fishing: A valid Colorado fishing license is required to fish in West Lake, which is usually reported with good fishing conditions for both fly and reel fishing. From the shore or a boat, anglers are likely to catch brown, rainbow, or other lake trout species.
Hiking, Biking, and Horseback Riding: From the campground, visitors can access the West Lake and Mount Margaret Trails to explore by foot, mountain bike, or horseback. For the adventurous, there are a few rock scrambles that reward daring visitors with panoramic mountain views.
Picnicking: Next to the campground, the West Lake Day Use Area can be accessed for a small fee. The US Forest Service maintains the site, which includes picnic tables, drinking water, bathrooms, and fire pits with grills.
Swimming: Swimming is strictly prohibited in West Lake.
Address: West Lake, 21374 Red Feather Lakes Rd, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545
Season: 6/1 – 9/20
Fees: Day Use and Camping Fees