Manitou Lake is a quiet, small lake a few miles north of Woodland Park, Colorado. The $6 (per car) entrance fee gets you access to a poplar family hangout destination, with good family fishing, picnic areas, and hiking trails. There are also two campgrounds very close by, and a semi-paved bike trail running from this lake all the way to Woodland Park seven miles south. This is also a great lake to try out kayaking, so was our choice as a shakedown cruise in our new Acadia II kayak.
Being such a small lake, there’s no boat ramp or floating dock to serve as launching points for the kayak. However, the shoreline is generally easy to use, with steep shores allowing the boat to be positioned parallel to the shoreline for easy entry (like what you’d do at a dock). Great views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding forest make this a really relaxing place, though you may grow bored soon by the small size. This would be a great place to take the family or large groups of kids…there’d be little concern with sending kids out on their own on this lake while the grownups relaxed shore side. There are two mostly-submerged tress to watch out for, but apart from that, it’s a small, safe lake, perfect for kids to start out kayaking on their own.
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