Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is becoming a popular water sport, especially in coastal areas. It is an amazing workout and there is nothing more fun and relaxing than paddling down a river or around a lake with your loved ones on a warm afternoon.
If you are a paddling junkie and have been dying to take your standup paddleboard for a spin in the gorgeous Colorado waters, this post is for you. We have put together some great paddleboarding Colorado spots for you so you can have a memorable water sporting adventure.
With stunning lakes, crystal clear rivers, and a beautiful array of mountains, all these spots will provide an absolute SUPing experience for beginners, intermediate, and experienced paddlers. Here are the 10 best places to SUP in Colorado.
1. Grand Lake
Surrounded by the gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Lake offers some of the most spectacular places for standup paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing in Colorado. It covers a surface area of 500 acres, which makes it the largest naturally made lake in this state.
Bring your paddleboard or kayak and slice the water as you enjoy the breathtaking views and marine life. If you are into fishing and know how to balance properly on a SUP, pack up your fishing line and cast it along the way.
And don’t worry if you haven’t bought a board yet. There is a marina packed with shops where you can rent your preferred equipment for the day.
Down for a beach picnic? Prepare a beach day checklist, as there is a stunning sandy shore where you can relax, sunbathe, and eat your meals.
The town serving the lake, also named Grand Lake, is located right next to the lake so you will enjoy shopping too and the bountiful dining options available after or before your day on the water.
2. Big Soda Lake
If you want a place near Denver, then this is it. Big Soda Reservoir is one of the most popular paddles boarding Denver spots in summer.
Located just a fifteen-minute drive from the state’s capital, Big Soda Lake has plenty of places where you can rent a standup paddleboard and other equipment for various water sports. Complete with a beach, volleyball courts, a 400-meter swimming lane, and numerous picnic shelters, this spot is great for an active yet calming day, especially if you are traveling with family or a group of friends.
You can play learn how to swim, or just splay on your beach blanket the whole day.
Be mindful, however, that the water sporting season in Big Soda Lake runs from the Last Monday of May (Memorial Day) to the first Monday of September (Labor Day). The shops serving the reservoir will not be open outside these days.
This is quite a popular destination, so make sure to arrive early if you are paddling on a sunny day. You may also want to book your gear in advance to avoid disappointment.
3. Evergreen Lake
Just a 45-minute drive from Denver is a gorgeous lake surrounded by dazzling evergreen trees, where you can spend hours paddleboarding, boating, and fishing.
Enjoy a spectacular view of the lake from The Evergreen Lake House before or after paddling. Equipment is available for hire at a reasonable price.
If you are just starting to learn how to standup paddleboard, there are paddleboarding classes for adults that offer yoga and fitness training. If you would love to paddle at night as you watch the stars, every Saturday of July will give you that opportunity.
Evergreen Lake allows both motorized and non-motorized boats. If you are going to book your trip to this destination, however, it would be wise to call the lake house to find out if the conditions are favorable for your specific water sport or not.
4. Dillon Reservoir
This is yet another spectacular standup paddleboarding Colorado spot. Dillon Reservoir is located in Summit County and covers a surface of 3,300 acres and about 25 miles of shoreline.
You can hire your equipment from Frisco Bay Marina, where you can also enjoy the beach and bountiful cafes, restaurants, and bars. If you love spending the night outdoors, pack up your backpacking trip just in case you want to try a few land activities in the available adventure park.
Just like Big Soda Lake, Dillon Reservoir is a popular destination, so make your reservations early in advance. The area also hosts several watersports event, so it would be great to plan you visit during one of these to make the best out of your vacation to Colorado.
5. Lake San Cristobal
Lake San Cristobal is located in Lake City in the scenic San Juan Mountains. It is an exquisite expanse of water where standup paddle boarders, kayakers, canoers, and anglers flock every year to have a taste of the beach life.
The waters are calm, making it one of the ideal spots for beginner stand up paddle boarders. Lake San Cristobal also houses a variety of trout species, so it would be perfect for anyone who fancies angling while on a SUP, boat, or fishing kayak.
There is a beautiful campground nearby too for anyone who would like to get away and watch the local wildlife and enjoy a night or two under the stars. You can bring your own equipment or rent from the local shops.
6. Vallecito Lake
This beautiful lake is located approximately 18 miles from Durango in a scenic valley that allows for picturesque mountain views. If you are looking for a relaxing and quiet destination, then this one will be your best bet.
With only 300 residents year-round, you can enjoy plenty of water activities including paddle boarding, boating, ad fishing. You can travel with your board or hire from the available rental shops near Vallecito Marina.
Campgrounds are available nearby too for those who would like to add a little backpacking fun to their paddling activities. Bring your waterproof camera and capture the beauty of the wild. Pack a pair of hiking shoes and walk a mile or two on the trail. Just make sure to plan and come prepared so you can have a memorable experience both on the water and out in the woods.
7. Cherry Creek Reservoir
Another great spot for those who want a spot near Denver. Sure, the views may not be as breathtaking as they are in other Colorado reservoirs located in the mountains but you will have over 800 acres of the surface of the water to paddle, boat, and fish on.
Cherry Creek Reservoir is located in Cherry Creek State Park and is a spectacular paddle boarding Denver destination. It provides an unforgettable experience for both beginners and experienced paddleboarders.
During summer, this area buzzes with all kinds of watercraft from SUPs and kayaks to boats and jet skis. If you do not have equipment yet, you can rent from Cherry Creek Marina. There is also an entrance fee to the park, so come prepared.
8. Sloan Lake
Located in Denver, Sloan Lake provides a perfect setting for paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, and fishing. The spot allows for the best views of the surrounding mountains and vegetation. Being one of the most reputed places for water sporting in Colorado, Sloan Lake permits the use of wakeboarders, water skiers, and motorized boats, so you will need to be on the watch out for these while on the water.
Sloan Lake is open for water sporting every day from 1st April to 21st October. You can bring your own standup paddleboarding gear or hire from the available equipment rental shops.
9. Boulder Reservoir
The Boulder Reservoir is located north of Boulder City 25 miles from the capital. It is highly accessible and provides an amazing area for SUP and kayaking.
Though the reservoir is open for paddling activities all year round, swimming is only allowed on the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During summer, there is a daily entrance fee for adults. There is also a specific opening time in the park. Since the prices and timings change from time to time, it would be a great idea to check the website before visiting the area.
10. Horsetooth Reservoir
Just outside the magnificent Fort Collins lies this great man-made lake, seven miles long and one mile wide. Since the spot is too close to the city, it is one of those areas that get really busy in the summertime with standup paddleboarding, boating, and swimming activities.
The high activity level means that the water in this area may be choppier than some of the spots we have mentioned above but will still get you reaping the benefits of paddleboarding. If you are a novice paddler, you may find it a little difficult to remain upright and balanced amidst the waves generated by the boats.
To be safe, have a few paddle boarding safety techniques in your back pocket like getting back on the SUP after you have fallen off and such like stunts that keep you out of harm while on the water.
Early morning hours will be less crowded so they could be the best time to learn how to paddle or try some SUP yoga. It would be wise to paddle near the shore to avoid collisions with fast boats.
You might also like: Top Places To SUP In Australia
How To Prepare For A SUP Trip
On a trip like this, you will need to plan so you can stay out of harm’s way while on the water. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Obtain your equipment early enough or find out how much it will cost you to rent
- Learn how each piece of your gear works. If something needs repairing, have it fixed before you go.
- Perfect your stand up paddleboarding skills; take classes if necessary
- Tell a friend or family member where you are going, who you will be going with, and what activities you will be undertaking
- Pack enough safety gear and equipment and brush up your paddling safety skills.
Globo Surf Overview
Colorado houses some of the best spots for paddleboarding in the world. With stunning lakes, rivers, and beautiful mountains and vegetation, there are so many things to do on the water and plenty of scenic landscapes to see.
The ten places above will be a great starting point when you decide to explore the wonderful nature of this gorgeous state. Just make sure to prepare effectively so you can stay safe on the water and have a memorable adventure.
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