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Sure, Colorado is landlocked, but that doesn’t stop our outdoorsy state from getting out on the water for a solid stand-up paddleboard session. Even in the Rocky Mountains of Boulder, you can find a few spots to choose from — and we’ll let you in on a secret: we know all the best ones!
So give the mountains a break for a day and test out your sea legs with a little SUP on the water.
Your best bet for SUPing at the Res is with Rocky Mountain Paddleboard. RMP, occupying the blue boathouse by the main boat ramp, offers rentals, so you can get your board and hit the water on your own, or you can book beginner lessons, SUP yoga sessions, or private group rentals. And not only does RMP have SUP boards — they also offer kayaks, canoes, hydrobikes, elliptical paddleboards, and XL paddleboards. Essentially, you can’t not have fun at the reservoir with these guys. Fitt Tip: bring along some cash — there’s a $7 park entrance fee per person.
Send it up to Nederland, not too far from the beginning of the Boulder foothills, to get out on the calm waters of Gross. This spot is smaller than Boulder Reservoir, but you’ll find fewer people out on the water, it’s free to the public, and open year-round — so you’ll have plenty of space to roam at your leisure. There’s no swimming allowed, though, so if you go overboard, get back on ASAP. Additionally, you’ll have some rules: stand-up paddleboards have to be labeled with the owner’s name and basic information (address and phone) and all those out on the water must have a life jacket and a whistle or horn for safety reasons.
Not too far from Boulder and just past Denver, you’ll find Littleton and Colorado SUP Sports. Book your session and then head over to Chatfield State Park. There, Colorado SUP will fit you with the best-sized board, paddle, leash, and lifejacket, guaranteed, they offer rentals for paddleboards and all the necessities that go along with that. Plus, you can get a kayak if you don’t feel like standing up all day long. To switch things up a bit, try their SUP GLO night tour that starts just after sunset or SUP yoga during the daytime.
Tucked up in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, you’ll find Brainard, a 14-acre lake that stays open until the first snowfall or mid-October if Colorado winter starts later than usual. There’s a $10 entrance fee per vehicle, so bring along some cash. But once you get that settled, put your paddleboard in at the east end of the lake at the boat launch and soak up some rays during your adventure on the water. Fitt Tip: steer clear on the weekends or get there early to beat the crowds; it’s a madhouse on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
This 256-acre lake is within Boulder County but tucked away from most of the city traffic. Being away from the sometimes-congested city makes the air in Longmont even cleaner and the wildlife even wilder (excellent birdwatching, if you’re into it). For SUP, though, you’ll have two launch spots: one just off North Shore Dr. and the other near Dawson Park. And if you’re launching off the Dawson Park location, park on the street and follow the path to get to the water. Note: there’s no swimming allowed here either, so climb back on your board if you tumble off.
Evergreen Park & Recreation District offers daily stand-up paddleboard rentals for $20 an hour. They don’t take reservations, meaning equipment is first-come, first-serve. So plan ahead and get there early to secure your board and enjoy a solid hour or so out on the water. EPRD also offers private and semi-private lessons for $80 a person. Or, gather your friends together and pay $60 for a six to eight person group class. Either way, your day will be well spent.
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