Top 7 Colorado Kayaking Destinations
Kayaking is excellent exercise and ideal relaxation all at once. At Colorado’s countless lakes, rivers and reservoirs, perfect kayaking waters abound. Grab your sunscreen and PFD and spend a beautiful day on the water!
While many of our state parks offer unparalleled opportunities for kayaking, we’ve compiled our favorite seven spots to get you started.
Please keep safety in mind throughout your adventure.
Rafting, Kayaking, and Canoeing page for river safety and gear guidelines.
More Outdoor Recreation Information
7. Rifle Gap
Rifle Gap's long, narrow 350-acre reservoir of crystal clear waters beckons all water enthusiasts. While some days are a bit windy at the gap, the gorgeous mountain backdrop and shimmering waters make any day on the water a peaceful outing.
6. Sylvan Lake
For a wooded getaway, lose yourself at the 42-acre lake among the trees at
Sylvan. From Memorial to Labor day, conveniently rent a sit-on-top kayak from the visitor center. Enjoy the peace and quiet of the calm lake, where no motorized boats are allowed. Take deep breaths and listen to the chirping birds and the swishing of your paddle in the water.
5. Harvey Gap
Clear your head on the 190 surface acres of the
Harvey Gap reservoir. Boats with motors over 20hp are prohibited, making for pleasantly still waters to paddle through. See how many waterfowl species you can identify during your day on the reservoir!
4. John Martin Reservoir
For an uncrowded getaway, check out
John Martin Reservoir. The park’s Lake Hasty is even quieter, since no motorized boats are allowed there. Grab your PFD and explore the expansive waters among the park’s abundant fish and waterfowl.
3. Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
For a quicker pace and a more extreme workout, head to
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area! Safety is especially important here, since waters can be rough and fast. Wear a helmet and PFD, and seek out professional instruction if you’re not completely comfortable kayaking on whitewater. Enjoy the thrill!
2. Elkhead Reservoir
Elkhead Reservoir stretches across an expanse of 900 acres! There’s a new adventure around every turn and the majestic backdrop is breathtaking. The crisp high-altitude air is the ideal reset button amidst the bustle of life.
Cover plenty of miles and even cross state lines at
Navajo State Park’s expansive reservoir. The 35-mile long reservoir offers endless recreational opportunities, and kayakers are bound to discover new adventures upon every visit. For fewer crowds, park staff recommend the Colorado side of the reservoir. Look around at the various other boaters (even house boats!) and take in the sprawling views.
There are exciting kayaking waters in many of our state parks! Check out our park finder or reach out to
park staff for information about conditions, rentals and regulations.