by Malia Durbano
Near the cities:
- Cherry Creek Reservoir
If your goal is to stay close to Denver, the Cherry Creek Reservoir is a great option. While the views aren’t as fantastic as some other mountain reservoirs, there are 880 acres of water surface to paddle around on.
- Big Soda Lake Reservoir
In Lakewood, the reservoir boasts of consistently calm water and no motorized water crafts.
- Union Reservoir
Located in Longmont, this is a pleasant alternative to the Boulder Reservoir and is also one of the few natural lakes in the state. The crowds are far less intense and you’ll still get some great views along the Front Range. There’s a fee to use the reservoir, and once you’re there you can rent a SUP from Rocky Mountain Paddleboard. Find Union Reservoir at 461 County Road 26, Longmont, CO 80504.
- Horsetooth Reservoir
Horsetooth Reservoir is the ninth largest in the state and is just west of Fort Collins. It is a popular spot for all kinds of water activities, including jet skis, powerboats, swimming and fishing.
Deeper in the Mountains:
- Grand Lake
SUPing on Colorado’s largest natural lake is a blast, and mountain scenery that surrounds the lake is top notch. You’ll be tempted to simply sit on your board and soak it all in. Snowmobiling and snowshoeing are favorite sports in the winter in this small town.
- Lake Dillon
This reservoir in Summit County, completed in 1963, was created by damming the Blue River. Stand-up paddle boarding here is excellent and is surrounded by spectacular scenery.
Southern and Western Colorado:
- Vallecito Lake
This is a Durango-area favorite when it comes to water sports. This large lake lies in a beautiful valley with serene natural beauty, just 18 miles from town. At 7,800 feet above sea level, it is the largest body of water at this elevation in the state.
- Blue Mesa Reservoir
The largest lake in the state, this is a widely popular spot on the Gunnison River. Blue Mesa, in the Curecanti National Recreation Area, is 20 miles long with 96 miles of shoreline to explore.
- Lake San Cristobal
Colorado’s second largest natural lake, San Cristobal is a great place for water-based recreation. Located in the San Juan Mountains in Lake City, it offers gorgeous scenery with calm waters that are great for stand-up paddling.