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Paddle Boarding in Colorado: Top 10 Spots to Explore

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Colorado is known for its beautiful mountains and outdoor recreation, and paddle boarding is no exception. While the state is landlocked, there are still plenty of great places to paddle board in Colorado.

Colorado’s paddle boarding scene caters to all levels of paddlers, offering a diverse range of experiences from serene lakes to exciting rushing rivers. In this article, we will delve into the top paddle boarding destinations across the state, unveiling the hidden gems that await water sports enthusiasts.

Paddle Boarding in Colorado

1. Lake Dillon: With its stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Lake Dillon offers breathtaking alpine views, making it a must-visit destination for paddle boarders seeking a serene and picturesque experience in the Colorado wilderness.

2. Standley Lake: Located near Denver, Standley Lake is perfect for beginners due to its calm waters and easy accessibility. It provides an excellent place to learn and enjoy paddle boarding while being close to urban amenities.

3. Chatfield Reservoir: This expansive reservoir south of Denver is a paddler’s paradise, offering ample space to explore its waters and opportunities to spot wildlife along its shores, creating a memorable paddling experience.

4. Horsetooth Reservoir: Nestled near Fort Collins, Horsetooth Reservoir’s scenic expanse attracts paddle boarders looking for a peaceful escape in a beautiful setting amid nature’s tranquility.

5. Cherry Creek Reservoir: Just outside of Denver, Cherry Creek Reservoir provides an urban oasis for stand-up paddlers with its clear waters and scenic shoreline, offering a convenient retreat from city life.

6. Boulder Reservoir: Surrounded by the majestic Flatirons, Boulder Reservoir presents a captivating backdrop for paddle boarding enthusiasts, drawing both beginners and experienced paddlers to its serene waters.

7. Blue Mesa Reservoir: Colorado’s largest body of water, Blue Mesa Reservoir, offers vast space for exploration and stunning vistas in the picturesque Curecanti National Recreation Area.

8. Lake Granby: Situated in the heart of the Rockies, Lake Granby’s vast waters and breathtaking mountain scenery make it an inviting spot for paddle boarding, attracting nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

9. Union Reservoir: Located near Longmont, Union Reservoir provides a less crowded paddling experience with its calm waters and lovely views of the Front Range, creating a peaceful and relaxing ambiance.

10. Jackson Lake State Park: Eastern Colorado’s hidden gem, Jackson Lake, offers a unique paddle boarding adventure in the plains, providing an opportunity for paddlers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of this lesser-known destination.

And One Extra Suggestion:

11: Arkansas River: The Arkansas River is a popular spot for whitewater paddling in Colorado, but it also offers opportunities for paddle boarding. The river has several sections with calm water where you can paddle and enjoy the stunning scenery. There are several access points along the river, making it easy to launch your board.

SUP FAQs and Tips:

● Do I need to bring my own paddle board?
You can either bring your own paddle board or rent one from a local rental shop.

● Are there any restrictions on where I can paddle board?
Some lakes and rivers have specific rules and regulations regarding paddle boarding, so be sure to check before you go.

● Do I need to wear a life jacket while paddle boarding?
Yes, it’s recommended that you wear a life jacket while paddle boarding, especially if you’re a beginner.

● Can I paddle board in the winter?
Yes, but you’ll need to wear a wetsuit or drysuit, and be prepared for colder water temperatures.

● What’s the best time of year to paddle board in Colorado?
The summer months are the most popular time to paddle board in Colorado, but spring and fall can also be great times to explore the state’s waterways. The water temperature in the summer is usually warm and comfortable for paddle boarding, but be aware of thunderstorms and strong winds that can make paddling difficult and dangerous. It’s important to always check the weather forecast before heading out on the water.

● Do I need to have any experience to paddle board in Colorado?
While it’s helpful to have some experience with balance and paddling, many of the lakes and reservoirs in Colorado have calm waters that are suitable for beginners.

● Can I bring my dog with me on my paddle board?
Yes, many of the lakes and reservoirs in Colorado are dog-friendly, but be sure to check the rules and regulations before bringing your furry friend.

● Are there any guided paddle board tours available in Colorado?
Yes, there are several outfitters and tour companies that offer guided paddle board tours in Colorado. This can be a great way to explore new waterways and learn more about the area’s natural history.

● Do I need any special equipment to paddle board in Colorado?
In addition to a paddle board and paddle, it’s recommended that you wear a life jacket, use a leash, and bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Depending on the time of year and location, you may also need a wetsuit or drysuit.

● What’s the best way to transport my paddle board to the water?
Many vehicles, including SUVs and trucks, can easily transport a paddle board. You may also want to consider investing in a roof rack or trailer, or inflatable paddle board for easier transportation.

Paddle boarding in Colorado is a delightful experience, catering to all skill levels. The picturesque landscapes of the Rocky Mountains and the stunning natural beauty create an enchanting backdrop for paddling adventures. Whether you’re a beginner seeking peaceful waters or a seasoned paddler seeking adrenaline-pumping challenges, Colorado’s paddle boarding scene offers something truly special for everyone to enjoy.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.