Where to kayak, paddleboard In Denver and Boulder — The Know

Summertime in Colorado means it’s time to head for the water. The good news is you don’t have to go far from the city to put in your kayak, canoe or paddleboard.

Here’s a list of 29 lakes and rivers in or near Denver and Boulder that permit boating. Depending on the location, you might be sharing the water motorized boats. If it’s noted that paddleboards are prohibited, so is swimming. But if you’re into fishing, bring your pole as most of these bodies of water allow catch and release.


There are five lakes in Denver currently open for hand-launched boats, as is Confluence Park on the South Platte River, which is popular for kayaking, paddleboarding and tubing. Unlike previous years, motorized and sail boats are prohibited on Sloan’s Lake for all of 2021. No permits for boating are required for those within city limits.

Where you can kayak and stand-up paddleboard in Denver

  • Berkeley Lake
  • Confluence Park
  • Ferril Lake in City Park
  • Rocky Mountain Lake
  • Sloan’s Lake
  • Smith Lake

Where you can kayak and stand-up paddleboard in Golden, Arvada, Westminster and beyond

  • Arvada Blunn Reservoir (Arvada; no paddleboarding)
  • Aurora Reservoir (Aurora)
  • Bear Creek Reservoir (Lakewood)
  • Big Soda Lake (Lakewood)
  • Chatfield Reservoir (Littleton)
  • Cherry Creek Reservoir (Aurora)
  • Clear Creek White Water Park (Golden)
  • Ketner Lake (Westminster; no paddleboarding)
  • Lake Arbor (Arvada)
  • McKay Lake (Westminster; no paddleboarding)
  • Prospect Lake (Wheat Ridge)
  • Quincy Reservoir (Aurora)
  • Rueter-Hess Reservoir (Castle Rock; reservation required)
  • Standley Lake (Westminster)
  • West Lake (Wheat Ridge)


The most popular paddle spot in Boulder is its namesake reservoir, which requires boaters have an annual permit to bring their own vessel. The city is sold out of permits for 2021, but you can get around that hurdle by renting equipment from Rocky Mountain Paddleboard. Or maybe try a less-paddled body of water.

Where you can kayak and stand-up paddleboard in Boulder

  • Boulder Creek Kayak Course
  • Boulder Reservoir
  • Gross Reservoir

Where you can kayak and stand-up paddleboard in Loveland, Longmont and Lafayette

  • Carter Lake (Loveland)
  • McIntosh Lake (Longmont)
  • St. Vrain State Park (Longmont)
  • Union Reservoir (Longmont)
  • Waneka Lake Park (Lafayette)

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