As a former resident of over 13 years, I can say that wild, vivacious areas surrounding the metropolitan Denver, Colorado is some of the most beautiful areas of the world.
Alight with everything from the fiercest white water to acres of pristine, peaceful lakes, the Denver area is a kayaker’s dream.
Here we will talk about some of the best places to go to experience the variety of what kayaking and colorful Colorado have to offer.
Are you new to kayaking? Let’s start with a spectacular video that speaks broadly of not only the intrepid, audacious sport itself but also delves deeper into the whitewater community.
Every sport and activity is far more than just itself; its character is in the nature of individuals that practice it. “The Way We Live” is a short film that was presented at the Main Outdoor Film Festival.
Clear Creek Whitewater Kayaking Park
A mere 20-minute drive from Denver, this park is the foothills city of Golden’s finest offering, known the world over.
It is a whitewater kayaker’s dream, a fortified mecca of exploration and activity. It’s free to drop in! Kayak rentals are available too.
The park is divided into sections ranging from shallow, broad, flat and teeming with surf-ready whitewater to match any ability. Huge boulders have been placed to hone your skills. There are wave drops and tremendous rapids.
In short, there’s something for every preference. Local businesses nearby are at the ready with instructors to help you enhance your paddling skills.
You’ll find the U.S. Olympic kayaking team training at this very arena, so experts will be thoroughly challenged. If you’re not looking for that sort of thing, don’t be intimidated either.
A lazier float way can be found by choosing the right stretch of the creek. This way, you can even kayak with a group of friends who are all different levels, as no matter what area you choose, everyone can end up in the same place at the day’s end. Check out Uncover Colorado for further details on this unmissable adventure.
The South Platte River
This is one of the top urban rivers in Colorado, so if you would rather spend your time kayaking than driving for miles, you’ll appreciate that this is just minutes from Denver, and a stone’s throw away from REI and Starbucks.
The river’s total length is 450 miles and it actually starts high up at the Continental Divide and ends in Nebraska.
As it flows through the peak of urban Denver, there’s a distinct waterfront culture full of events that you won’t want to miss. You can attend the Confluence Concerts in July and River Flicks in August.
You can hire a local kayaking outfitter to shuttle you and your boat to Chatfield Dam where you can begin your adventure.
This is about 15 miles upstream. Just one and a half miles downstream, down you can get out at Carson Nature Center. Take part in indoor tree climbing classes or nature walks offered here for as little as $5.
Overall, the difficulty of this gently flowing river is manageable for most recreational boaters. Roots Rated can offer you more info.
The Boulder Reservoir
Just a half hour drive from Denver city center, we cannot say enough great things about the city of Boulder and it’s vast and accessible neighboring reservoir that hosts all manner of water sports.
There’s a fully staffed, patrolled beach with lifeguards and a snack bar on the south side. There’s a populated boat basin.
Kite surfers, windsurfers, jet skiers, water skiers, and wakeboarders abound. The north side, on the other hand, is open and relatively unregulated.
Whereas dogs are banned on the south side during the summer months, the north side is one of the most popular spots where Boulderites and their dogs come to cool off.
The north side is also a former nude beach where the hippies of Boulder came to sunbathe. At 700-acres, the cool thing is that the place seems to have enough space for everybody to enjoy themselves no matter what their activity.
You can launch your kayak from either the southeast or southwest beaches. Dogs are allowed on all sides of the Res after labor day, so bring your pup!
Here at Roots Rated, you’ll find all the information you need to make a great day trip to some of the best flat water paddling around Denver.
At 1,900 acres of pristine water, Horsetooth Reservoir is almost like being in a sound on the ocean, with plenty of coves and offsets and fingers to explore to your heart’s content as you peacefully paddle your stress away.
Quite the opposite of the bustling Boulder Reservoir, Horsetooth is surrounded by 2,000 acres of public land for hiking.
It is also a popular area for water skiing and camping. Bring your fishing rod and tackle along and meditate your cares away.
The waters are stocked with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, cuttbow and other varieties of fish. About an hour’s drive from Denver, you can explore the sprawling, laid-back city of Fort Collins after a day’s paddling.
Here, the State of Colorado tells you everything you need know to make a day at Horsetooth.
Now, for our absolute favorite, Gross Reservoir is a magical place less than an hour’s drive away from Denver, deep in the foothills of Colorado.
You’ll drive over several foothills bursting with wildlife to get there and notice a distinct change in climate, weather pattern, temperature and elevation when you get there.
Even cooler, to launch your boat is completely free and it is almost completely free of patrol. One thing to note is that it is a reservoir for drinking water and so no motorized boats or swimming are allowed here.
This place is a true return to peace, solitude, and nature with its quietude and gentleness. The water is quite cold so just a few fingers or toes in the water will lend you quite a bit of satisfaction whereas swimming has to be done elsewhere.
Bring your tent and gear, as overnight camping is allowed on the west side of the lake. Here, Boulder Outdoor Center can offer you the information you need to refresh and regroup in one of the Denver area’s best places for reflection, solitude and paddling with friends, family and your best canine friend.
The Denver Metropolitan area is a unique combination of the urban and the outdoors. We hope that you enjoy your paddling endeavors under Colorado’s outrageously blue skies and over 300 days of sunshine annually.