When the ocean is 15 hrs drive away and the closest body of water is a lake, I shall go SUP-ing, at every single paddle boarding location in CO by end of summer! 🏄#mermaidafterall #whenlandlocked #mermaiddoesmountains
My first choice to try paddle boarding in Colorado was Lake Dillon. It is a large reservoir close to Breckenridge on the front range with a very picturesque setting nestled in the foothills of the 10 Mile Mountain Range. (Nestled and foothills in CO language means you are paddling at 10,000ft above sea level.) Xplorie was so kind to help us organize paddle board rentals from Stand Up Paddle Colorado. Their location is on the Dillon side of the lake, right next to Dillon Marina. Plenty of parking available, as well as restrooms and water. Sharon and Dan were very sweet and welcoming and even let us use the SUP squatch. A SUP squatch is a giant paddle board (aka “monster board”) that can accommodate up to 6 paddling adults. It is a blast of a time on the water as it keeps the group active (you all need to paddle), but social at the same time (you are not on separate water crafts trying to catch up to each other). I had always wanted to test a SUP squatch but never seen one for rent anywhere on the East Coast.
Our friends commented that they have never had so much fun paddling or kayaking before! In most lakes you can jump off the SUP squatch and use it as a swimming platform. Since Lake Dillon is a reservoir for Denver’s drinking water, swimming is not allowed and we remained steadily on top of our craft! Next time we rent a SUP squatch I will bring a cooler with snacks and drinks and make a day out of it!
A couple of hours of paddling, splashing, and giggling later, four happy campers, grinning ear to ear, stopped for apres-paddle cocktails (if there is apres-ski why not apres-paddle or apres-surfing) at the Tiki Bar on Lake Dillon #apreseverything
The other option for paddle boarding on Lake Dillon is SUP tours with Adventure Paddle Tours and I highly recommend their Sunset Nature Tour. The views of Lake Dillon and the surrounding mountain peaks are spectacular and the guide will entertain you with stories of the plant and animal species in the area.
With Lake Dillon off my bucket list, my paddle boarding tour of Colorado continued to Grand Lake, located right outside Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is the largest and deepest natural body of water in CO (to my surprise all other lakes or reservoirs are man-made or man-enhanced 😲). RMNP surrounds the lake on three sides and the setting is stunning! You have 2 options for paddle board rentals at Grand Lake: 1) We were referred to Rocky Mountain SUP – a small rental shack right on the beach with BIC epoxy boards sized 9′ 10″ and 11′ 4″ at the super affordable rate of $25 per hour or 2) You can rent larger and more stable inflatable paddle boards at the marina at the very end of the “boardwalk” next to the “hidden but not to miss” ☕ coffee shop for $31 per hour. Since Grand Lake is so vast I would also recommend getting a kayak ⛵ and exploring even further (the water is choppy, there is a lot of watercraft cruising by and paddling and staying dry is a challenge (or a “wet” workout 🏊).