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Top 5 Must Paddle Kayaking Destinations in Colorado

Kayak in the Poudre River near Fort Collins, Colorado

From snow-capped mountains to crystal clear waters, Colorado is home to some of the country’s most beautiful natural scenery. Raging rapids and calm waters give paddlers of all abilities the opportunity to explore the scenic state. Read on for a top five list of must paddle kayaking destinations near Denver, Colorado.

5 Top Colorado Kayaking Destinations

Lakes, rivers, streams and an epic mountain range set the scene for some of the country’s best kayaking. Here are our top five favorite places for Colorado kayaking.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Northern Colorado

The Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado spans the Continental Divide and encompasses a spectacular range of environments from glistening alpine lakes to towering mountain peaks. The shallows of the Colorado River offer an exciting rapid paddle for more experience kayakers. Where the calm water of Lake Estes provides lovely pools for beginners to paddle. No matter where you paddle, you’ll enjoy a beautifully serene experience.

Cache La Poudre River

Fort Collins, CO

The Cache la Poudre River canyon is truly a hidden treasure. It’s majestic cliffs and intriguing rock formations are framed by ponderosa and lodgepole pines, sage brush, mountain mahogany and aspen. The river itself offers the invigorating, adrenaline-filled paddle that you’d expect from a Colorado kayaking adventure. A river-runner’s paradise, you’ll find everything from Class I to Class V rapids along with convenient access, clear water, and beautiful scenery.  

Gore Canyon

Kremmling, CO

Gore Canyon is a 3-mile isolated canyon along the upper Colorado River, southwest of Kremmling. The walls the canyon are nearly 1000 feet high on both sides, making for a truly awe-inspiring experience. With Class V whitewater rapids, it’s said to be some of the wildest river terrain in the US. Kayaking Gore Canyon is extremely challenging and best suited for experienced kayakers only.

Arkansas River

Leadville, CO

At 1,469 miles, the Arkansas River is the sixth-longest river in the US. A major tributary of the Mississippi River, its source is located near the Victorian-era mining town of Leadville, in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. It was recently named the best place for whitewater rafting and kayaking in the U.S. The river offers a variety of routes with everything from calm waters to Class V rapids. The river also flows right alongside the cities of Buena Vista, Salida and Cañon City, for kayakers interested in stopping at restaurants or shops.

South Platte River

Denver, CO

The South Platte River is hands down the best place for urban kayaking in the state. It runs right through the center of Denver and is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the bustling city. The entire river takes about 4 hours to paddle. You’ll find areas of slow calm waters and others with strong rapids and mini waterfalls. It’s incredibly accessible with lots of launch sites throughout the river, including a put-in at the Prince Street Bridge if you are looking to also experience an amazing restaurant.

Colorado Kayak Storage Racks

The majestic mountains, serene lakes and raging rivers of Colorado make for some of the most beautiful and adrenaline filled kayaking in the country. Make sure your kayak is ready for your next Colorado adventure with an exquisitely crafted, 100% cedar log kayak storage rack from Log Kayak Rack. As beautiful as they are practical, our kayak racks will safely store and neatly organized your shoreline, backyard, park or rental business, holding up to eight kayaks on their durable, naturally weather-resistant frames. Shop our kayak racks online now or contact us for a custom kayak storage solution to meet your Denver, Colorado kayak storage needs.