A Colorado Summer on the Water
We may not have an ocean, but there are many ways to get on the water in Colorado. Whether you want a little excitement or just a laid-back float, here are four ways to experience Colorado’s many waterways this summer.
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a craze that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. It’s dynamic sport that appeals both to those who want to take it easy and those who want to push their boundaries. For beginners it’s best to find a calm lake or pond on which to practice your balancing skills.
In Grand Lake, there are several marinas that have SUP rentals. On most summer mornings, the surface of Grand Lake is like glass, making it the perfect lake for a SUP beginner or someone just looking for a relaxing outing.
Want a little more excitement? SUPs aren’t just for lakes. Thrill-seekers take them onto rivers around the Rocky Mountains. In Glenwood Springs you can learn the basics of stand up paddleboarding on the famous Colorado River, where there are plenty of calm places to practice. Once you get the hang of it, there are a number of rivers much beloved by SUP riders including the Yampa in Steamboat Springs.
Remember when kayaks were all the rage? They still are in Salida, Colorado, where kayaks are king. The Arkansas River is one of the best places in the world to raft and kayak, and it flows right through the charming and artistic town of Salida.
Salida is home to FIBArk, America’s oldest whitewater festival that takes place on June 15-18, 2017. This summer’s FIBArk schedule is filled with freestyle kayaking competitions, music, food and even a few SUP events.
There are lots of outfitters in the area that can help you get on the water throughout FIBArk or any other time during the summer in Salida and surrounding Chaffee County.
I grew up canoeing in the Pacific Northwest and in parts of Montana and Wyoming. Most recently I’ve canoed on Grand Lake in Grand Lake, Colorado. This is a low-key way to get out on the water.
Canoeing offers a quiet way to explore wilderness areas and offers a great chance at seeing wildlife, and if you want to fish without the expense or bother of a big boat, a canoe is the way to go.
Colorado’s many state parks provide ample waterways for canoeing, and their Park Finder page is an excellent resource.
The complete opposite of a quiet outing on a canoe, a pontoon boat is a super-fun way to spend the day with friends and family.
Last year, we rented a pontoon boat in Frisco with some friends. We set out from the Frisco Bay Marina and spent a memorable day on Lake Dillon. There’s nothing quite like a party on the water.
Other mountain lakes that make for an enjoyable pontoon boat excursion include Grand Lake, Lake Granby and Blue Mesa Reservoir, near Gunnison, that features 96 miles of shoreline.