Best Places to go Paddleboarding in Colorado

Colorado city is home to over 24 major rivers and several reservoirs, making it a perfect choice for paddle boarding. The city boasts various lakes, mountains and breathtaking views. You will find amazing locations to enjoy paddle boarding in Colorado, whether a beginner or a pro.

7 Top Places to Paddleboard in Colorado

One of the best ways to beat the Colorado heat is engaging in water sports like paddle boarding. This not only keeps you cool but is a fun recreational activity. Once you get your paddleboard wear on, the next thing to check off the list is the location.   

Here are 7 top paddle boarding locations in Colorado:

1. Horsetooth Reservoir

2. Big Soda Lake

3. Grand lake

4. Vallecito Lake

5. Lake San Cristobal 

6. Glenwood Whitewater Park

7. Cherry Creek Reservoir

1. Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir is a man-made reservoir located just outside Fort Collins. As a result of its proximity to the city, this 7-mile reservoir is very popular among the locals. During summer, it is often crowded with visitors enjoying several water activities like swimming, paddling, boating and others. 

For beginners, it would be hard to learn paddle boarding here, as its water is often choppy. Beginning paddle boarders might find it difficult to navigate through the waves created by other paddlers and boats. 

However, there are special places where beginners can enjoy paddling around the reservoir. The North shore of Horsetooth is surrounded by several coves and wake-free areas like the Soldier coves, North Eltuck and Santanka bay. These spots offer calm waters and beautiful scenery.

Rental Option:

For visitors that need to rent paddle boards, paddles or other paddle boarding gear, the Inlet Bay Marina is your best option.

2. Big Soda Lake

This is one of the top places to stand up paddle boarding in Denver, Colorado. Situated within Bear Creek Lake Park, Big Soda lake provides a beautiful view and a calm lake for paddle boarders to enjoy. The lake does not allow motor boats or jet skis, which will enable visitors to relish their day in the water without encountering sudden waves. 

To enjoy a quiet and serene paddle boarding adventure, you should check out this beautiful lake. Another perk of the lake is its proximity to popular fun centers like the Red rocks lake and Amphitheatre. After a fun day at the lake, you can also visit these amazing places. 

Rental Option:

Soda Lake Marina offers rental services to visitors. 

3. Grand Lake

Located in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand lake is as grand as its name. It is the largest natural lake in Colorado, with about 500 surface acres. Paddle boarders enjoy paddling its outer edge lined with tall pines because of the calm waters. 

Grand lake is nestled in one of the scenic parts of Colorado. Visitors can enjoy beautiful mountain views and natural scenery. Grand lake is close to a small town that offers dining and shopping options. It also has a beach where you can launch your board, sunbathe and relax. 

With its calm waters and beautiful views, the Grand Lake is a perfect option for family and friends. You can enjoy an active and relaxing paddling day.

Rental Option:

Visitors can rent from the Grand Lake Marina at 1246 Lake Avenue, Grand Lake.

4. Vallecito Lake

Vallecito Lake is one of the largest cities of water in Colorado. Located in Southwest Colorado, the lake is 25 miles north of Durango. Vallecito Lake is a perfect location for those wishing to paddle in open waters. Tucked in a valley, the lake is surrounded by beautiful views of mountain peaks with snow caps. 

Its large shoreline and water area allow guests to enjoy several fun activities like boating, fishing, hiking, camping and touring its beautiful carvings. The lake is stocked with various fish, from the smallmouth bass to the kokanee and northern pike. This makes it a perfect getaway for fishing.

Rental Option:

Vallecito Marina offers rental services for paddle boarding, kayaking and fishing gear.

5. Lake San Cristobal

This is another lovely expanse of water in Colorado. It is the second-largest natural lake in the city and easily one of the best places to stand up paddle board in Colorado. Nestled in Lake city in the San Juan Mountains, the lake is said to be one of the most beautiful spots to SUP.

Its calm waters and stunning scenery make it a perfect choice for beginners. It is also a good location for fishing as it houses a variety of rainbow trout. After a lovely paddling adventure in the lake, you can choose to relax at its campground and enjoy the wildlife. Remember to bring your SUP tent along while visiting the lake.

Rental Option:

Call the  Colorado River Rental to rent your paddle boarding gear.

6. Glenwood Whitewater Park

Glenwood Whitewater Park is the best spot if you want to paddle board like a pro. For paddle boarders looking for a challenge to test their advanced skills, the manmade park is your perfect choice. 

This is the first whitewater park in Colorado, located right on the Colorado River in the small town of Glenwood springs. About a 3-hour drive from Denver, this spot is recommended for seasoned paddle boarders with honed skills. Before venturing to the Park, check out its website to see its current flow levels. 

You can choose to relax at any hot spring surrounding the Park, like the Iron Mountain Hot spring. It offers sixteen natural hot springs, a calming waterfall, an elevated whirlpool spa and several freshwater family pools. You can relax and rejuvenate in these pools.

Rental Option: 

The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park offers both rental services and lessons.

7. Cherry Creek Reservoir

This is the closest spot to Denver, a perfect location for those who want to paddle close to the city. The Cherry Creek Reservoir has about 880 acres of water for paddle borders to enjoy and some scenic spots to its southwest. 

The park has tons of activities for visitors to enjoy out of water. Apart from paddle boarding, you can enjoy other fun activities like horseback riding and airplane flying during summer. While its views are not the most incredible, this reservoir offers scenic mountain views. 

Cherry Creek often gets crowded. As such, the onus of finding a secluded place to enjoy a calm paddle boarding experience falls on you. The lake is also prone to blue-green algae in late summer, be very careful if you’re bringing your dog.

Rental Option:

If you don’t have a personal stand-up paddle board, you can rent them from Cherry Creek Marina inside Cherry Creek State Park.

Colorado Paddle Boarding Rules and Regulations

Before heading out to these amazing spots, you must know Colorado’s paddle boarding rules. In Colorado, all vessels must comply with these rules:

1. Paddleboarders must have a Personal Floatation Device(PFD) on board while paddling. 

2. Paddleboarders must put their contact numbers or that of the SUP owner on the paddle board.

3. For paddle boarders paddling at night, they must carry a light on board so others can easily see them.

4. Paddle boarders below 13 years must wear their PFD at all times.

5. Paddleboarders must be conscious of restrictions and follow local public health orders when planning a trip.


There you have it! With these 7 locations, you are sure on your way to enjoying a fun and rejuvenating paddle boarding experience. The spots highlighted above are not only fun but also accessible and affordable. 

Have a wonderful summer as you paddle across these locations. Be sure to bask in their amazing sights, take pictures, and sharpen your paddle boarding skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a lifejacket on a paddleboard in Colorado?

According to the Colorado Boating regulations, paddleboarders must carry a PFD while paddling. 

Can you paddle board alone?

It is legal and safe to paddle board on your own as an experienced paddleboarder. However, for beginners, it is advised that you go with an expert.

Is it dangerous to paddle board in Colorado whitewater?

Paddleboarding in whitewater can be very dangerous. Beginners are advised to restrict their paddle boarding adventures to calm waters. However, expert paddlers can enjoy an adventurous experience in the white waters.

Can you paddleboard if you can’t swim?

While it is not necessary to know how to swim to enjoy paddle boarding, it is advised that you know some basic swimming techniques. Non-swimmers need to take several precautions like wearing a personal floating device.

Can kids paddleboard in Colorado?

Yes, you can bring your kids to your paddle boarding trip in Colorado. You should use a longboard for kids less than 5 and place them on your boards. For 5+ kids, they can learn how to paddle board solo.