Coot Lake, Boulder Reservoir, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado

Coot Lake - 1.2 miles

Boulder Reservoir

Coot Lake

Coot Lake

Round-Trip Length: 1.2 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,204' - 5,204' (5,235' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +31' net elevation gain (+47' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Easy
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Coot Lake - 1.2 Miles Round-Trip

Semi-arid short grass prairies between native tall grass prairies of the Eastern Plains and Rocky Mountain foothills are dotted with wet meadows, prairie potholes and fens that provide critical habitat for scores of waterfowl and raptor species.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Coot Lake and its adjacent marshes are one of Boulder County's richest wetland communities and bird watching destinations.

Loons, grebes, ducks, gulls, blackbirds, red tail hawks, kestrels and the namesake coot are common, while ospreys and herons (summer) and bald eagles (winter) are familiar seasonal residents.

A 1.2 mile groomed loop circles Coot Lake and its outlying marshes, ideal for families, anglers, runners and avid birders. A short pier at the trailhead and rocky jetty are good places to drop lines or take a closer look at activity on and below the surface.

Marshes on the west side are comprised of small channels, ponds and peat mounds, prime feeding and nesting grounds for local wildlife. Willow and cottonwood stands on the perimeter are excellent places to see roosting raptors, especially in the winter.

The Coot Lake Loop shares a short piece of trail with the Boulder Reservoir Loop, which provides additional access points and options for longer outings and aquatic activities.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N40 05.152 W105 12.435 — Coot Lake Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • The American Coot, a common water bird, is distinguished by a dark grey body, thick white beak and yellow legs. Unlike ducks, the American Coot does not have webbed feet but lobes on the side of each toe segment. They feed primarily on aquatic plants but are known to graze like geese when food is scarce. They're particularly gregarious in the winter and more solitary during the spring breeding season.
  • Coot Lake and its adjacent marshes are sensitive wetland habitats. Enjoy wildlife from a distance, and honor seasonal closures for nesting waterfowl.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted with a valid Colorado fishing license. Fishing guidelines for Coot Lake can be found at the Coot Lake Trailhead and Colorado DOW website. Visitors are responsible for knowing applicable laws. Coot Lake and Boulder Reservoir are regularly patrolled and laws are strictly enforced.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs must be on a held leash unless they meet Voice and Sight Control Standards and display a City of Boulder Voice and Sight Tag.

  • Bikes are not permitted on the north shore of Coot Lake.

  • Horses are not permitted at Coot Lake.

Directions to Trailhead

The Coot Lake Trailhead is located at 5600 63rd Street in Boulder, Colorado, 1 mile north of Highway 119 on the west side (across the street from Tom Watson Park).

You may also reach Coot Lake from the 55th Street Trailhead, located 3.1 miles north of Jay Road on 51st Street. From the 55th Street Trailhead you must walk 1 mile east on the Boulder Reservoir Loop to reach Coot Lake.

Contact Information

Boulder Parks and Recreation
3198 Broadway
Boulder, CO 80302

Boulder Reservoir
General Information and Front Gate: 303.441.3461
Boat House and Boat Rentals: 303.441.3468
Sports and Events information: 303.441.3410

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"With all due respect to Danielle's comments, trails are first and foremost 'human' friendly followed afterwards by pets who are properly trained. I completely understand how the runner you mentioned felt. Maybe you should give some thought to doing a better job of training your dog."
Ken  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: December 21, 2014
"Coot lake trail is great; it's only 1.2 miles around the lake but it's a great place to take your dog in the summer because they can swim. With that said, however, beware of the people who go without dogs. My dog unintentionally got the shoe of a female runner wet and she started screaming and then proceeded to kick my dog. Before I could access the situation or let the reality sink in, she ran off and left my dog injured and in pain. Boulder is known for being pet friendly and yet, those who frequent these dog friendly places are often not dog lovers which I find to be rather absurd. Again, the trail is great but just beware if your dog is easily excited for energetic. "
Danielle  -  Boulder  -  Date Posted: October 4, 2013


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