Chatfield Reservoir is located 15 miles SSW of Denver in Littleton, CO.
Map of Chatfield Reservoir
There is a fee (seven dollars I think) to get into Chatfield state park. The park surrounds the reservoir. Access is very easy and there are a number of different access points and 2 different boat ramps. There is also a marina and a restaurant at Chatfield. Kayak and boat rentals are available.
The lake is bordered by wide open prairie grasslands with an expansive mountain background. This lake gets a good deal of boat traffic, especially on the weekends. The entire southwest portion of the lake does not get much boat traffic because much of this section of the lake is very shallow. The lake is just on the outskirts of the city yet it contains a fair amount of wildlife. I have seen many different bird species here as well as elk bathing in the lake, many deer, fox, prarie dogs, even a great horned owl hot on the heels of a rabbit one evening. The platte river leads into the southwest section of the reservoir and you can paddle upstream about half a mile before the current gets to strong to go against. Plum Creek feeds into the southeast side of the lake.
If the water flow at Plum Creek is above 12 CFM you can paddle about a mile and a half up the creek in a canoe with a fairly shallow draft. Plum Creek is a narrow and shallow creek but it's still worth wandering up into. Even on the busy weekends you can paddle a little ways up Plum Creek and be sure to get away from everybody and not hear any of the boat traffic from the reservoir. Chatfield Reservoir has eight small to medium sized ponds on the southwest side of the reservoir that are all within walking distance of each other and the main reservoir. One of my favorite trips to do is the Chatfield Reservoir / Platte River "combo run". This involves parking at the southwest side of Chatfield reservoir and hiking a quarter mile to the closest pond. Paddling to the other side of the pond and hiking to the next on then paddling to the other side of it. After paddling and hiking across four ponds, I hike to the Platte river a quarter mile away and canoe back down to where I park. Here's a link to the page that provides details about this run Chatfield Reservoir / Platte River.
Warnings, Tips, & Other Details
Chatfield Reservoir is a good sized lake and if the winds are forecasted to be over 15 MPH then you probably don't want to be out there in a canoe or kayak.