10 Best Places for Kayaking in Colorado – Rivers, Reservoirs, Whitewater, Creek

Kayaking is one of the most popular water activities among outdoor enthusiasts in Colorado. This magnificent state is endowed with numerous lovely rivers, reservoirs, waterways, lakes, and other bodies of water. Because it gets so hot here in the summer, people prefer to come out on the water in their kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes. Whether you’re a first-time kayaker or a seasoned paddler, Colorado has something for everyone. We’ll show you some of Colorado’s top kayaking areas, including the Colorado River and lakes, reservoirs, and other well-known locations. In addition to kayaking, several of these locations provide a variety of other outdoor activities. So, where to go kayaking in colorado? Let’s get started!

lake dillon colorado

Lake Dillon

Because of its clear water, Lake Dillon is one of my favorite kayaking spots. Although this is a great area for kayaking in Colorado, not many people know about it, so you’ll be able to kayak with fewer people. Kayaking in Lake Dillon is best done in the morning. The odd thing is that it is referred to as a lake, although it is actually a reservoir. You can bring your own kayak or paddleboard or hire one there. Aside from kayak fishing, you might also go camping, bicycling, picnicking, and other activities. Lake Dillon offers guided kayak experiences that can be reserved in advance.

What’s the best time to go to Dillon Lake?

The best time to visit Dillon Lake is summer or winter if fishing and kayaking are your primary target.

What types of fishes are found on Lake Dillon?

Brown trout, rainbow trout, Arctic char, Sockeye salmon, smallmouth bass, and other species of fish may be found in Lake Dillon. Every year, the Colorado Division of Wildlife adds around 50,000 rainbow trout to Lake Dillon Reservoir. Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee and Koho Salmon, Walleye Pike, Char, catfish, Crappie, Smallmouth Bass, and other Colorado species can be found at Lake Dillon all year. Please note that you will need a fishing license if you are 16 or older!

Sylvan Lake '16

Sylvan Lake, Colorado

Sylvan Lake is well-known for its breathtaking mountain vistas. Kayaking on the freshwater of Sylvan Lakes will undoubtedly be enjoyable due to the lovely scenery. This lake is surrounded by the White River National Forest, making it a secret gem. There are year-round activities to do here; for instance, kayaking, canoeing, camping, biking, cabin rentals, and more. Besides kayaking, you can also hike on the 2.3 kilometers long Sylvan Lake loop trail. You can also go for a walk with your pet or bring a kayak fishing rod to catch some fish. Rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and brown trout, among other species, can be found in the lake. If you are bored of witnessing the wildlife and kayaking, you can try skiing there. In a nutshell, this is an excellent location for kayaking in Colorado.

IMG_1046 Eleven Mile Reservoir

Eleven Mile Reservoir in Colorado

The park’s Eleven Mile Reservoir is ideal for paddlers looking for a calm session. This six-mile-long reservoir system is the city of Denver’s second-largest of its sort. Aside from paddlers, many other like-minded individuals visit this location throughout the year, including anglers, boaters, hikers, and others. The park day pass is roughly $7, and you can even hire kayaks from the location. This park has two boat ramps as well as a Mariana. There are a dozen small to large islands in the reservoir to check. Some of the islands have campsites, but it’s best to check with the park to see if they’re available. Besides the abundant wildlife, there are many other picturesque spots and mountain backdrops to check. Overall, it’s a terrific area for paddling, camping, or having a picnic with your family. If you are looking for a calm place to paddle, this is the finest place to kayak in Colorado.

Kayaking the Arkansas River

Arkansas River

The Arkansas River flows through several major US states, including Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The Arkansas River begins in the Colorado Rockies and is one of the top kayaking destinations in Colorado. Besides the easy accessibility and scenic areas, the Arkansas River is famous for its class III-IV browns canyon section, royal George or pine Creek for whitewater challenges. The Arkansas River has class I through IV rapids, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced paddlers. The best time of the year to visit the Arkansas River is from May to the end of September. It’s a terrific river for kayaking, but make sure you have all of the essential kayaking gear and don’t go into turbulent water if you can’t take it. Read more about rapid classification.

Evergreen Lake

Evergreen Lake, Colorado

When you check up Evergreen Lake on Google, you’ll notice that it has a phenomenal 4.7 rating out of 5. The city and county of Denver control this 55-acre lake with beautiful mountain views. It’s a nice place to unwind and watch the sunset outside of the city. For a low charge, you can rent a variety of watercraft on the spot. If you’re lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the local deer along the 125-mile hiking trail. The lake’s authority allows trout fishing, but you’ll need a state fishing license. It’s a fantastic area for kayaking in Denver, Colorado.

Pueblo Reservoir, Pueblo West, Colorado copy

Pueblo Lake / State Park

If you are a beginner who simply wants to learn kayaking, Pueblo Lake is an excellent place to begin your journey. With more than sixty miles of shoreline, 10,000 acres of land, and 4,600 surface acres of tranquil water, Pueblo Lake is a haven for kayaking beginners looking to master the sport. To enter Lake Pueblo State Park, you will be required to pay a $7 entrance charge. There are two boat ramps on the lake and one at the marina, which you can use. In addition to kayaking, you may go hiking, fishing, picnicking, and other activities. If you don’t want to bring your own kayak, they have a kayak rental facility right next door.

You can also go sailing, moto-boating, waterskiing, prime fishing, canoeing, and river tubing, among other activities. If you are tired of paddling and would prefer to explore on foot, I highly recommend stopping by the 200-year-old Juniper trees in the area. There are some fire prohibition policies in effect, which I recommend you review before coming there. I highly recommend that you have a look at the magnificent Pikes Peak views to the north. You can assume that this is a popular destination, so if you want to paddle in peace and quiet without a lot of other boats in the area, I recommend going there during the weekdays.

Elkhead Reservoirs State Park

[one_half_first]Elkhead Reservoirs State Park has beaches, boat ramps, wonderful animal viewing, 15 basic campsites, and other scenic areas. In addition, if you enjoy hiking, Elkhead Reservoir stake park has a new trail system. This 900-acre reservoir offers a variety of leisure opportunities as well as stunning views. You’ll have to pay $7 for a daily pass and extra if you want to camp. You can hire a paddleboard and windsurfer in addition to kayaks.

While the Elkhead reservoirs aren’t the best site for kayaking, they are a terrific area to spend some quality time. There are around 900 Northwest Colorado acres worth investigating because it is located within the Yampa River State Park. You can bring your camping gear and spend the day among the reservoirs or doing other leisure activities. The authority has closed the place for the rest of the season due to Covid-19.[/one_half_first]


Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park

We couldn’t compile this list without mentioning Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park, one of Colorado’s top places to kayak. Glenwood Whitewater Park is a terrific place to start if you’re looking for kayaking in Colorado Springs! You will like this location whether you enjoy kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. As you might expect, this is the first man-made whitewater feature constructed on any stretch of the Colorado River. The area’s prominent signage feature is the standing web, sometimes known as a g-wave. It has a flow rate ranging from 4,000 to 22,000 cubic feet per second. Other fun attractions include rafting, playboating, duckies, and more. Please wear appropriate kayak helmets.

First Drop

Boulder Creek Whitewater Park Colorado

Boulder Creek is a top-rated Colorado destination for water sports such as tubing, kayaking, swimming, and more. Although it is most known for tubing excursions, kayak beginners can also enjoy pleasant kayaking sessions here. Tubes and kayaks can be rented at various locations. Please keep in mind that the park was created before modern-day playboats. As a result, some of the drops and locations may be more perilous than you think. The three-mile-long Eben G Fine Park to CU Greenhouse Creek segment in Colorado has been classed as class II-III whitewater.

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