TOP 10: SUP SPOTS
While stand-up paddle boarding has been broadly popular across the country for some time - at least a decade, during which time Colorado played its part in the sport’s evolution as whitewater rafters took the boards down mountain rivers bursting with snowmelt - it was a more recent innovation, namely the arrival of inflatable paddleboards, that enabled the sport to become even more accessible. Now, you can pick one up for a few hundred bucks, pump it up lakeside and paddle away. This summer will inevitably see thousands of SUP boarders take to Colorado’s waterways for everything from a gentle paddle to a full on whitewater adventure. Here are a few places that you can get your paddle on (as well as other waterbased pursuits, too!).
1. MONTROSE WATER SPORTS PARK Montrose The Montrose Water Sports Park was created back in 2015 thanks, in part, to a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO). Designed to be able to accommodate everyone, from waders to whitewater kayakers, the park consists of 1,000 feet of river with six drop structures as well as spectator areas. There are also beach areas and ADA-accessible put-in and take-out ramps. In fact, it is one of the largest of its kind in the state and one of the few in the US to be ADA accessible. The park is also host to FUNC Fest, a two-day party on the Uncompahgre River that includes live music, craft beer, camping, freestyle kayaking and surfing contests and SUP board events from Aug. 9-10.
2. HIGHLINE LAKE Grand Junction Northwest of Grand Junction, Highline Lake State Park is something of an oasis in the desert. The park’s two lakes - Mack Mesa Lake and Highline Lake - are the highlights are very popular in summer for obvious reasons, particularly on weekends. Highline is open to power boating, jet skiing, water skiing, sail boating, sailboarding and paddle boards from March 1 through Sept. 30. Mack Mesa Lake is restricted to paddle boards and hand or electricmotor powered boats only. There is also camping, fishing, birding and biking in the park.
3. CRAWFORD STATE PARK Crawford Not far from the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Crawford State Park is almost entirely made up of the 414 surface acre lake and as such makes it popular with jet skiers, paddle boarders, water skiers and even windsurfers although few take advantage of this last one. There is also a swim beach. Popular for overnight trips
Photo: Tripp Fay / Meta Yoga Studios