Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the new surfing—at least for those of us surrounded by mountains! A Colorado alpine lake is the perfect place to give this new water sport trend a whirl (and find some relief from the high altitude summer sun). We’ve picked five of our favorite family-friendly lakes and reservoirs from all across the state for you to explore and paddleboard in Colorado.
5. Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins
Located west of Fort Collins, this six and a half-mile lake is a water sport playground. Explore Soldier, North Eltuck, and South Eltuck coves on your stand-up paddleboard on the northwest side of the lake for awesome views of the foothills, potential wildlife sightings, and to avoid wake from passing motorboats.
4. McPhee Reservoir, Dolores
The dam of this man-made lake was completed in 1985, and the lake now provides irrigation water for all of Montezuma and Dolores Counties and the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. Stick to the southwest side near McPhee Recreation Area for picnic areas, restrooms, campsites, and the Ridge Point Overlook from which you can see into four different states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona).
3. Grand Lake, Grand Lake
At the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park sits the beautiful town of Grand Lake. Launch your stand-up paddleboard from Point Park or the Beach at Grand Lake for the best views of 12,000-foot Mt. Craig. And if you’re feeling balanced on your board, bring your fishing gear along. Folks have been known to pull out huge rainbow, brown, and brook trout from these high alpine waters!
2. Lake Dillon, Dillon
Either explore on your own or jump on a tour leaving from the Lake Dillon marina. The area is full of wildlife, stunning views of the Rockies, and you’ll likely bump into a sailboat race or two if you go on the weekend. Lake Dillon is known for its unpredictable wind patterns so stick close to shore for the most enjoyable experience.
1. Trout Lake, Telluride
This high alpine lake is one of the attractions that makes Telluride such a special place. Strap your boards to the top of the car and drive about six miles past Mountain Village to this mountain oasis. The moment you turn down the worn dirt road descending to the lake, you’ll understand why the combination of unparalleled scenery, no crowds, and calm waters put this spot at the top of our Best Places to Paddle Board list.
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