Colorado is revered for its mountainscapes and natural majesty, having expansive plateaus and canyons. Despite being landlocked and largely extreme in its terrain, with several deserts, it is a fantastic destination for those wanting to paddleboard.
SUP excursions can be found in a number of ways across the state, making use of its many rivers, hidden lakes, and even its city parks. To show you where to begin, we’re sharing four of the best SUP destinations in Colorado.
Sloan’s Lake Park
Denver is regarded as something of an underrated and quiet city. However, with its numerous highly-regarded restaurants and breweries, it is quickly becoming a place of great attraction for tourists, especially those with an interest in cuisine. The city’s surrounding landscapes, including the stunning Sloan’s Lake, also make it an appealing destination for the outdoorsy type too.
Paddleboarders can easily access the lake from the city, enjoying the serene and expansive waters with a stunning backdrop of the cityscape too. Additionally, access to the lake is limited to those without motorized watercraft, meaning that visitors will be able to explore the waters without concern for boats, which is ideal for beginners.
A short drive from Durango, Vallecito Lake is a secluded paradise. Seldom populated, even during the summer, this beguiling body of water remains something of a secret among the paddleboarding community. The lake itself is situated further north than the reservoir of the same name, but many rental companies and cabins will use the name interchangeably, so be sure you know which you’re visiting.
The water is expansive and is surrounded by woodland, making for great vistas and camping options too. Be sure to bring supplies along, however, as the water is over 7,000 feet above sea level and those shopping for equipment might find themselves stuck!
Cache La Poudre River
Famed for its exciting whitewater stretches, there are options to SUP along the Poudre too. Lower levels of the river bring the water to a slower pace but are by no means less exciting. The environment, with its crumbling rocks, vast quarries, and rich woodlands, makes for fantastic sights and a trepidatious landscape, meaning that paddleboards should be confident before exploring.
Be aware that water levels can change quite drastically during the summer and warmer periods, meaning that familiar areas might be too low to paddleboard. As such, we recommend scouting out a potential new SUP location before bringing your equipment along.
Another secret of the Colorado landscape is Gross Reservoir. While many are aware of its existence, fewer realize that it is accessible and free for paddleboarders. This reservoir is, however, currently undergoing significant construction, meaning that certain areas will be noisy and disrupted for the next few years. This, however, shouldn’t matter too much for most visiting the water since it has over ten miles of shore to explore.
Before you visit, however, be sure to familiarize yourself with the weather conditions as the water is exposed to the wind and is known for its harsh gusts.