Colorado Springs is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ famous Front Range. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise with its many hiking trails and numerous lakes and rivers that can be paddled. You’ll find the perfect waterway for you near Colorado Springs, whether you enjoy paddling on calm lakes or diving into deep holes with your playboat. There are many Meetups for paddlers who don’t like kayaking alone.
Top Kayaking In Colorado Springs
1. Quail Lake
This picturesque little lake is situated just south of the city. It’s the perfect place to go paddling if you don’t have much time. Many Colorado Springs CO residents enjoy a sunset paddle here after work in the summer months. If you are looking for a relaxing place to exercise, or to improve your rolling technique, the calm waters of the lake are a great option. SUP Colorado Springs offers a weekly SUP yoga class.
You can start your paddle around the lake by putting it at the docks at the northeast corner of the park. The lake is stocked in Rainbow Trout if you have a Colorado fishing license. You might also catch catfish and pike occasionally.
Where to Rent a Kayak: SUP Colorado Springs in Colorado Springs CO
2. Rampart Reservoir
The 500-acre lake is situated about an hour’s drive from kayaking in Colorado Springs CO. It is popular with residents who want to enjoy a easy paddle with stunning mountain scenery. Pike’s Peak can be clearly seen from the reservoir. Rampart is open only to non-motorized traffic, so there’s no need to worry about loud outboard engines and aggressive jet skis interrupting your Zen moments.
The chilly waters of the area are a haven for trout. Rainbow, Brook, and Lake are all available here. Rampart is popular for flatwater paddlers because it offers many glassy coves that can be explored. You must be aware of the dam at its western edge. Boats must stay within 500 feet.
The reservoir is usually open between March and October, but it can be closed during Colorado’s unpredictable weather patterns. You can camp at Thunder Ridge or Meadow Ridge campgrounds, which are located on the western shore. This is a great option for a multi-day trip.
Colorado Springs CO: Underwater Connection
3. Eleven Mile Reservoir
Eleven Mile Reservoir is another great lake located about an hour from Colorado Spring. It is the center of Eleven Mile State Park, covering 3400 acres. The reservoir’s shores are lined with stunning granite rock formations, which are extremely popular among Colorado’s climbing community.
Near the marina, you will find a boat ramp and parking. The reservoir can be paddled in a round trip of just over 12 miles. If you want to see all the sights, plan on spending a full day on the water. Spillway Campground, located in the southeast corner of the reservoir, is fantastic to pitch your tent if you want to make this a 2-day great trip.
Because the lake is so large, you can expect to see big waves on windy days. For beginners, it is best to avoid the open water and stay closer to shore in case of bad weather. Eleven Mile, unlike Rampart Reservoir, is open to motorized boats, so you should avoid the traffic further out. The lake pueblo is a water source for Denver so you must stay in your boat while paddling. Swimming is not allowed.
Eleven Mile Marina is located at the reservoir.
4. Royal Gorge
A Colorado paddling list is incomplete without whitewater. Fortunately, it’s only an hour and fifteen-minute drive from Colorado Springs. The Royal Gorge is the state’s most famous whitewater rafting. This ten-mile-long canyon, formed by the Arkansas River, has more rapids in Colorado than any other.
This section of the river is only for experienced paddlers. It features over a dozen Class IV to V rapids that are centered in a granite canyon with steep walls. It will be challenging and even dangerous to navigate around these difficult spots so you should not go. It’s a good idea to go on the trip with an experienced guide who can assist you if you have any problems.
Pike’s Peak Outfitters, Colorado Springs.
5. Colorado River
Going down the river in this area is enjoyable. You can choose to kayak in either the Upper Colorado River in Colorado or the Lower Colorado River further south. The western Colorado river is slightly different from Arkansas. You can kayak through many of its gentler sections. There are many sections within State Park that offer ample opportunities to camp, picnic, and play in the park.
You can make a day of it. These sections will take you about an hour and have few rapids. There are also some more adventurous spots. However, they have a lot of class two rapids and are a bit easier. Some sections are high up and will require you to hike to reach them. This can be a great adventure for those who are more adventurous and athletic.
6. Bear Creek Lake
This reservoir’s Lakewood location means that you can get on the water in a matter of seconds. Bear Creek Lake Park has three lakes: Bear Creek Lake can be used by motorized boats, Big Soda Lake can only be used for non-motorized boats and Little Soda Lake can be used for classes. This is a great place to spend a beautiful afternoon.
Pack your lunch and find a spot in the shade along the reservoir to enjoy lunch. The reservoir is easily accessible from this spot, making it a well-developed park. Your family shouldn’t have any trouble getting to the water.
7. Shadow Mountain Lake
Shadow Mountain Lake is one the five water bodies in Arapaho National Recreation Area, north of Granby. The lake has 1400 acres of land and a canal that connects to Grand Lake. There will be many different types of boats so be ready for some turbulent water.
There are many islands in the lake, and one of the edges is right up against Rocky Mountain National Park. You can explore a lot of the lake, so this is an adventure you can enjoy alone or with your friends to share a day.
8. Browns Canyon National Monument
The newly designated Browns Canyon National Monument is another beautiful section of whitewater on the Arkansas River. This is the most sought-after whitewater spot in America. It boasts a string of moderately difficult rapids set in some of the most stunning mountain scenery you have ever seen. This section is not as challenging as the Royal Gorge. There are fewer and more dangerous rapids, making it an excellent option for those who don’t have the experience.
Near Johnson Village, most kayakers will set up near the US Highway 285 Bridge. It’s only about twenty miles from there to reach the Route 295 Bridge take-out point. There are four major rapids between Pinball and Zoom Flume, Widowmaker, Seidel’s Suck Hole, and Widowmaker. These rapids are Class III or IV depending on the water level and can be done if you have previous experience with whitewater.
If you are unsure of your ability to read the river, perform a bombproof roll, and/or check yourself with a brace, an experienced guide is the best choice. You can also learn more about group kayaking at the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center.
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center in Nathrop is where you can rent a kayak.
Our best posts: