Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUPing, is one of Colorado’s newest obsessions
Stand up paddling, most commonly called “SUPing” has recently become an extraordinarily popular sport throughout the country. It’s a great core workout, and there’s little else that’s as pleasant as propelling yourself around a lake or down a river on a warm day. If you’ve been dying to give SUP a go, check out some of these Colorado hot spots.
Front Range SUP options: Denver and Fort Collins
1. Cherry Creek Reservoir
If your goal is to stay close to Denver, the Cherry Creek Reservoir is a great option. While the views aren’t as fantastic as they are at some other Colorado reservoirs in the mountains, there are 880 acres of water surface to paddle around on. If you don’t have your own SUP, boards can be rented from Cherry Creek Marina
inside Cherry Creek State Park. There’s an entrance fee to get into the park, so plan for that, too. The park’s entrance is located at 4201 S. Parker Road, Aurora, CO 80014.
2. Big Soda Lake Reservoir
Another popular option close to the Denver/Boulder area is Big Soda Lake Reservoir in Lakewood. The small lake is located close to the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, another favorite area attraction. Powerboats aren’t allowed out here so you won’t have any wake to contend with. The reservoir is located in Bear Creek Lake Park (15600 W. Morrison Road, Lakewood, CO 80465.) Rentals can be snagged at the Soda Lakes Marina
3. Union Reservoir
Located in Longmont, Union Reservoir is a pleasant alternative to the Boulder Reservoir for your next SUP adventure. The crowds are far less intense and you’ll still get some great views along the Front Range. Fun fact: Union Reservoir is also one of the few natural lakes in Colorado. There’s a fee to use the reservoir, and once you’re there you can rent a SUP from Rocky Mountain Paddleboard
. Find Union Reservoir at 461 County Road 26, Longmont, CO 80504.
4. Horsetooth Reservoir Paddle
You won’t find much seclusion at this Fort Collins area favorite, but the location can’t be beat. Horsetooth Reservoir is a popular spot for all kinds of water activities, including jet skis and powerboats. If you need a board, try renting from Inlet Bay Marina
or Mountain SUP
. Plug Inlet Bay Marina’s address into your GPS (4314 Shoreline Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80526) and be ready to pay the entrance fee.
SUPing Deeper in the Mountains
5. Grand Lake
SUPing on Colorado’s largest and deepest lake is a blast, and the mountain scenery that surrounds the lake is top notch. You’ll be tempted to simply sit on your board and soak it all in. Rocky Mountain National Park is nearby and the town of Grand Lake is lovely, too. Rent from the Grand Lake Marina
, located at 1246 Lake Avenue, Grand Lake, CO 80447.
6. Lake Dillon
Stand up paddle boarding on Lake Dillon is truly excellent. Tall mountain peaks, showcasing the best of Summit County’s well-known scenery, surround this reservoir. Rentals can be had at the Frisco Bay Marina
, located at 267 Marina Road, Frisco, CO 80443. You can also launch your own SUP from the marina. If you bring your own board be sure to have a lifejacket – it’s part of the rules!
7. Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park
Looking for something a bit more difficult than flat-water paddling? If so, the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park
is a perfect choice. It’s the first whitewater park ever built on the Colorado River, and it’s an excellent spot to practice some more advanced skills. Glenwood Adventure Company offers rentals and lessons. Check out the park’s website before venturing out to see the current flow levels. There isn’t an official address for the park, but refer to this map
and finding it will be a breeze.
Venturing to Southern and Western Colorado for SUP
8. Vallecito Lake
is a Durango-area favorite when it comes to water sports. This large Colorado lake lies in a pretty valley and is worth the excursion. You can bring your own board and use the public boat launch ramp (15100 County Road 501, Bayfield, CO 81122) though a permit may be required. Call the Pine River Irrigation Office at 970-884-2558 before leaving to make sure you have everything in order. If you’ll need a rental, try contacting Doc’s Marina.
9. Blue Mesa Reservoir
Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest lake, is a widely popular spot. Blue Mesa is 20 miles long and offers visitors plenty of opportunities to explore its shores. If you’re near Gunnison, it’s worth the trip. A popular starting point is the Elk Creek Marina & Visitor Center, which you can find at 24830 U.S. 50, Gunnison, CO 81230. The marina rents SUPs, too.
10. Lake San Cristobal
As Colorado’s second largest natural lake, Lake San Cristobal is a great place for water-based recreation. Its location in the San Juan Mountains in Lake City lends it some gorgeous scenery, and the calm waters are great for stand up paddling. Bring your own SUP, and you can find the public boat launch here