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Kayaking in Colorado

Hey everyone,

I live in Denver, Colorado and recently purchased my first kayak - any tips from seasoned kayakers on where to go around here? Lakes and slow-moving rivers preferred... not ready for any white-water adventures yet!

I have a Denver boating permit and live by Sloan's Lake so go there pretty often, but haven't really ventured outside of Denver. I'm willing to travel, too!

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Hi maker of s’mores!! @BonkyLK 

Have you had a second to check out REI’s newest addition to the co-op, the Boathouse at Cherry Creek State Park? Just a stones throw from Denver, it’s an awesome venue to toss a boat in and go. I really enjoyed the lovely lake conditions with just enough boats to keep it interesting. The Boathouse features boat rentals (Kayaks, canoes, stand up Paddleboards), as well as snacks (who doesn’t love snacks), an easy spot to launch from, a variety of gear, and the know how and stoke of your friendly REI staff. Bring a non-paddling friend or even enjoy being treated like a royal just for fun (who doesn’t love someone doing all of the heavy lifting).  

*edited by moderator*

The Cherry Creek State Park boathouse is no longer in service.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Check out the Rocky Mountain Sea Kayak Club

Drive up to Frisco, Kayak on Lake Dillon. The launch area is to the East of Main Street in downtown Frisco. 


OR go West on I-70 to Leadville Exit. Go ahead and exit and take Hiwy 24 through Leadville to Twin Lakes. Go into the first camping area, park, Launch from here and kayak across both lakes to Interlaken. You're underneath the Collegiate Range. It's easy but stunning. 


Or drive West to Grand Junction. Get off I-70 at 24 Road Exit. Take 24 Road to the Colorado River bridge. Turn right and park down at the Bike Path and Kayak Put In right under the 24 Road Bridge. Kayak down to Fruita. Take out and get a shuttle back to your vehicle. 



Howdy @BonkyLK... congrats on your first kayak!  I thought I'd chime in a few place on the northern Colorado side of things. I'll start you out with a couple recommendations but don't hesitate to reach out for more 🙂 

  •  Union Reservoir Nature Area Flat water, a beach, a few big trees for shade (and hammock). It's owned/managed by the city so there is a day fee (or season pass).
  • Larimer County favorites: Horsetooth Reservoir and Carter Lake are both bigger reservoirs. There are also entrance fees here as well. So much to say about these great places. A little busier on the weekends but right now is the best time to get on the water here. You will have to compete with the motorized crowd a bit more. The western edge of Carter Lake (putting in from the southern end) is a wake free area and is a fun paddle...lots of little inlets to explore. Horsetooth is much bigger with more options. Many kayakers and SUP folks put in from the marina on the west side of Horsetooth or from the Lory State Park  side on the north end.

Happy paddling!

In service,

Jason O.   

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.
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