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On a typical Summer day, boat traffic is high, and the water will most likely not be flat, but instead choppy with moderate waves from boat wakes. Because the lake is narrow, boat wakes spread to both sides quickly and don't diffuse very well, so waters will be rough. All boat traffic on this lake is recreational, and government; including park rangers and recreational motor boaters and jet skiers. There is none or little commercial activity here.
To paddle Horsetooth Reservoir, a paddler must be comfortable paddling in rough waters with 1-4' waves. Also, a paddler must be sure to avoid oncoming boat traffic and make themselves highly visible (a bicycle safety flag is recommended). It is best to stay near shore since motorboats tend to go very fast in the middle area of the lake.
Expect to see wildlife here including mountain goats, deer, and various birds. To experience the whole lake in a kayak or canoe including its various inlets, it is best to spread the trip out over two days. It's a good idea to start at the north shore, paddle to the south, camp over in the south shore area, then the next day paddle back. There are no dangers actually in the lake. No risk of low-head dams, nor any other hazards.
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