Kayaking Colorado: Great Places to Go

Kayaking Colorado is perfect for beginner and pros alike with an environment rich in rivers and lakes (calm paddling to whitewater rafting).

Colorado River

Colorado has everything a kayaker could wish for with plenty of destination across the state for paddling adventures.

The preferred time to kayak is May to September while the whitewater rafting is most prominent in May and June. A relaxed kayak with calm waters is best experienced throughout August.

Rivers and lakes in the state of Colorado are rating I – VI, which varies with the strength of the rapids.

Class I is basic calm waters perfect for the kayak beginner while the waters rated III are more reserved for the pros with rivers noted for having narrow passages, boulders, and challenging rapids.

Kayaking Colorado

Here are six of the popular places to kayak in Colorado:

Arkansas River

The Brown’s Canyon section of the Arkansas River is rated Class III and a popular site for kayaking Colorado waters.

The preferred time to paddle these waters is late afternoon or at weekends to avoid much of the commercial rafting activity in the area.

Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek has fast moving water which is perfect for the thrill seekers in search of the rapids.

A great place to paddle the whitewater is at Eben G. Fine Park, which is situated in downtown Boulder and great for those wishing to hone their on-water skills.

Colorado River

The Colorado River is perfect for kayakers in search of a fast moving river.

A multi-day trip is the preferred choice to make it possible to get a full appreciation of what this river has to offer. This kayaking adventure is certain to provide a lot of beautiful scenery and canyons to admire en route.

The De Beque Canyon is rated Class I and a perfect spot for kayakers wishing to use a quiet stretch of flat water on this stunning river. This stretch of the river gives access to sandstone cliffs, groves of cottonwoods, and gravel islands.

There is multiple access point on the river which makes it possible to choose a preferred course length and difficulty.

Gross Reservoir

Gross Reservoir is known to experience powerful winds which can make for a very challenging and exciting time on the rugged waters.

Similar to other paddling destinations it is essential to wear a PFD (personal floatation device) to stay safe in the event of capsizing.

Beautiful scenery is one major attraction of Gross Reservoir with snow covered peaks in the distance.

Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir, situated west of Fort Collins, is a man-made lake with great waves and close access to camping sites on the lake shore.

Plus, there is plenty of wildlife to admire while paddling out on the reservoir.

Horsetooth Reservoir is approx 1900 acres, open year-round and subject to camping and entrance permits.

South Platte River (Deckers to Confluence)

The stretch of the South Platte River from Deckers to Confluence provides a perfect paddling site with great scenic views and continuing granite terrain.

It is rated Class II-III to give the intermediate paddlers an opportunity to get access to a range of fun rapids.