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Kayaker in fall at Lake Granby

​​​​​​​​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 saf​ety​ in mind throughout your adventure.

Visit the Rafting, Kayaking, and Canoeing page​ for river safety and gear guidelines.​

​More Outdoor Recreation Information

Mountain Biking, Road Biking, and Family Biking suggestions.​​​Buy A parks pass..Find/Visit a State Park.
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7. Rifle Gap

Girl kayaking

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. Pearl Lake

Mom and daughter kayaking on lake with trees and mountains in background

Pearl Lake State Park​, nestled in the mountains north of Steamboat Springs, includes 166 acres of water. At an elevation of 8,065, it is surrounded by beautiful vistas and views of Farwell Mountain. This incredibly peaceful area is lush and green, a true escape from the day-to-day routine. 

5. Harvey Gap

Man kayaking

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

woman in long kayak

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

Men in helmets kayaking on river

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

woman kayaking with mountain backdrop

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.

1. Navajo

Four people kayaking

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. ​