Kayaking in Colorado

Kayaking in Colorado

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When visiting Colorado, you won’t just enjoy the mountains’ natural vistas; there are plenty of activities you can do there. One of those adventurous activities is kayaking.

While paddling the waters, you can see beautiful lakes and glimmering rivers dotting every part of the state. Because of that, kayakers – experts and novices alike – are taking their paddles and kayaks to the most popular hotspots for kayaking.

Plus, there’s a large number of outfitters and rentals around these locations, so you can still go kayaking if you don’t have the equipment. If you’d like to go kayaking in Colorado yourself, check out our guide to know the top 6 places to start with.

1. Arkansas River

Kayaking Arkansas River

The best thing about the Arkansas River is that there are multiple starting points from which you can start your kayaking journey. You can start with a river tour at any park along the river banks, like the Wichita Park and Recreation, for example, and choose a tour according to your schedule. From sunset tours, glow tours, and sunrise tours, there’s plenty to enjoy!

Since some of these tours are designed for a particular age group, make sure to choose the right tour if your family members are accompanying you.

However, if you like paddling in the rough white waters, you’ll find plenty of areas where you can do that, like the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. Be sure that you register ahead of your journey, though, as it’s a popular location and might be a bit crowded.

2. Lake Pueblo

Kayaking Lake Pueblo

Most paddlers who decide to go kayaking at Lake Pueblo are more invested in this location’s rich history rather than natural scenery. However, kayaking in Lake Pueblo still makes for an exciting journey you won’t forget.

Because the lake is located in a well-known state park, you’ll find multiple spots to rent out kayaks. The water is mostly still, so kayaking there is excellent for newbies.

Although some visitors might be intimidated by the desert side around the lake, don’t let that fear get to you, as you’ll still be able to see fossils along the beach. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot fossils if the lake water is low enough where you’re paddling.

You should also be aware that the weather changes drastically, so be sure to check the weather forecast before starting your trip and dress accordingly.

3. Dillon Reservoir

Kayaking Dillon Reservoir

With a 27 mile of visually attractive shoreline, the Dillon Reservoir is an excellent place to enjoy kayaking. In fact, you can learn how to kayak from scratch at that location!

The shoreline consists of scenic islands that you can explore while paddling. If you’re interested in enchanting mountain ranges – including the Ten Mile Range – and wildlife, like bald eagles, mule deers, and black bears, you can’t find better than here!

You can also bring in hiking and biking into your trip if you plan to visit Summit County. You might even go fishing if that’s your thing, as lake and pond fishing are available all year round.

4. Boulder Creek 

Kayaking Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek offers a one-of-its-kind whitewater course that makes for a great place for kayaking, especially during early spring. When the snow melts, enough amount of run-off is created, making enough whitewater for expert kayakers.

If you’re up to some challenging obstacles, you’ll find holes, drops, and chutes to test your kayaking skills. If you’re looking for extra challenges, you can paddle to the water above the Eben G. Fine Park.

However, if you fancy an obstacle-free trip, you can paddle all day through the calm waterways of the course. This might also be a good exercising area for beginners.

However, note that this course isn’t tailored for recreational purposes. The water might be fast at most times, and shallow, rocky rivers won’t be the best if you’re looking for quality kayaking time with your friends or family.

5.  Bear Creek Lake Park

Kayaking Bear Creek Lake Park

The Bear Creek Lake Park reservoir is located at Lakewood, so you’ll be able to get in and out of the water at any time you need and with no scheduled tours. It’s home to three lakes: Bear Creek Lake, Little Soda Lake, and Big Soda Lake.

While they’re equal in beauty, you might find yourself more at liberty when paddling the waters of Bear Creek Lake, as you’ll be able to bring a motorized boat. On the other hand, Little Soda Lake is only suited for classes, while Big Soda Lake only allows kayaks and no motorboats. 

Considering that this is a newly developed park, you’ll have easy access and won’t have to plan way ahead of your trip if you’re bringing your friends or family along.

6.  Elkhead Reservoir

Kayaking Elkhead Reservoir

The Elkhead Reservoir still offers one of Colorado’s eye-pleasing views, being a part of the Yampa River State Park, found between Craig and Steamboat Springs. 

If you’re looking for a secluded place to relax for a couple of days and maybe camp out, the Elkhead Reservoir should be your destination. If your friends or family don’t want to spend a lot of time on the water, you’ll still have plenty of activities, like hiking and biking along the reservoir’s 10.5-mile trails.

You can also go fishing or enjoy seeing rare seasonal appearances, like mountain lions, coyotes, bald eagles, and, of course, and herds of elks.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning a trip to Colorado and happen to be a kayaking enthusiast, you’re in for a treat! Colorado is home to a multitude of lakes, reservoirs, and rivers that suit all kayakers alike, so you’re free to take your pick depending on the type of water you enjoy best. 

While you’re at it, try to plan your trip between May and September; that’s precisely when rafting and kayaking season are at their peak in Colorado!

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