kayaking in colorado springs

Kayaking in Colorado Springs: Your Ultimate Guide

If you’re looking for an exhilarating outdoor adventure in Colorado Springs, kayaking is the perfect activity for you. With its abundance of lakes and rivers, Colorado Springs offers a wide range of kayaking opportunities for every skill level. Whether you’re a beginner seeking a calm and scenic paddle or an experienced kayaker craving some whitewater action, Colorado Springs has it all.

From exploring Quail Lake’s tranquil waters to navigating the thrilling rapids of Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon National Monument, there’s a kayaking spot in Colorado Springs that suits your preferences. And don’t worry if you don’t have your own kayak, as there are plenty of rental shops in the area to meet your needs.

In this ultimate guide to kayaking in Colorado Springs, we’ll take you through the best kayaking spots, provide tips for a successful kayaking adventure, and even introduce you to other kayaking destinations in Colorado. So grab your paddle, put on your life jacket, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable kayaking journey in the scenic beauty of Colorado Springs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kayaking in Colorado Springs offers a variety of options for all skill levels.
  • Popular kayaking spots include Quail Lake, Rampart Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Royal Gorge, and Browns Canyon National Monument.
  • There are several rental shops in Colorado Springs where you can rent kayaks.
  • Always prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket and checking weather conditions.
  • Colorado Springs is just one of many kayaking destinations in Colorado, with other notable spots in Denver, Aspen, Durango, and Boulder.

Top Kayaking Spots in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a haven for kayaking enthusiasts, offering a wide range of scenic spots to explore. Whether you’re seeking calm waters for a relaxing paddle or thrilling rapids for an adrenaline rush, these top kayaking spots in Colorado Springs have got you covered:

Quail Lake

Located in the heart of Colorado Springs, Quail Lake is a popular choice for kayakers. It boasts calm waters that are perfect for beginners and offers breathtaking sunset views. You can also enjoy fishing while kayaking in this serene lake.

Rampart Reservoir

If you’re looking for stunning mountain scenery, Rampart Reservoir is the place to be. This reservoir allows only non-motorized traffic, creating a peaceful environment for kayakers. Discover hidden coves and take in the beauty of nature as you paddle across the glassy waters.

Eleven Mile Reservoir

For a kayaking adventure on a grand scale, Eleven Mile Reservoir is a must-visit. This massive lake is surrounded by beautiful granite rock formations, adding to the scenic charm. You can spend the day paddling along its shores and even camp at one of the nearby campgrounds for a complete outdoor experience.

Royal Gorge

If you’re an experienced kayaker seeking a thrilling whitewater challenge, look no further than Royal Gorge. This destination offers steep-walled granite canyons and exciting rapids that will put your skills to the test. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of an outfitter for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Browns Canyon National Monument

Another fantastic whitewater kayaking spot is Browns Canyon National Monument. It features a long stretch of moderately challenging rapids along the Arkansas River. This destination is perfect for kayakers looking to push their limits while enjoying the stunning mountain landscape.

Each of these top kayaking spots in Colorado Springs offers unique experiences and beautiful scenery, making them must-visit locations for kayaking enthusiasts.

Kayaking Spot Highlights
Quail Lake Calm waters, sunset views, fishing
Rampart Reservoir Stunning mountain scenery, non-motorized traffic
Eleven Mile Reservoir Granite rock formations, large size, camping options
Royal Gorge Whitewater rapids, steep-walled canyons
Browns Canyon National Monument Moderately challenging rapids, mountain landscape

Kayak Rentals in Colorado Springs

Exploring the beautiful waters of Colorado Springs by kayak is an adventure you don’t want to miss. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, renting a kayak is a convenient and affordable way to enjoy this outdoor activity. Luckily, there are several kayak rental shops in Colorado Springs that cater to kayakers of all skill levels.

Kayak Rental Shops Near Popular Kayaking Spots

Kayak Rental Shop Location Nearby Kayaking Spot
SUP Colorado Springs Near Quail Lake Quail Lake
Underwater Connection Near Rampart Reservoir Rampart Reservoir
Eleven Mile Marina Eleven Mile Reservoir Eleven Mile Reservoir
Pikes Peak Outfitters In Colorado Springs Royal Gorge
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center Near Browns Canyon National Monument Browns Canyon National Monument

If you’re planning to kayak at Quail Lake, SUP Colorado Springs is an excellent choice for kayak rentals. Located near the lake, they offer convenient access to this popular kayaking spot. Similarly, if you’re heading to Rampart Reservoir, you can rent kayaks from Underwater Connection, which is conveniently located nearby. For those venturing to Eleven Mile Reservoir, Eleven Mile Marina provides kayak rentals to help you explore this expansive lake. If you’re seeking a whitewater kayaking experience in Royal Gorge or Browns Canyon National Monument, Pikes Peak Outfitters and Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center are the go-to rental shops respectively.

When renting a kayak, be sure to inquire about their rental rates, equipment quality, and any additional services offered such as shuttle services or guided tours. It’s also a good idea to book your rental in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability and avoid any disappointment. With a rented kayak in hand, you’ll be ready to embark on an unforgettable kayaking adventure in Colorado Springs!

Kayaking Tips for Colorado Springs Adventures

When embarking on your kayaking adventures in Colorado Springs, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned kayaker, these tips will help you make the most of your time on the water.

1. Safety First

Always prioritize safety when kayaking in Colorado Springs. Wear a life jacket at all times, regardless of your skill level or the calmness of the water. It’s also essential to bring sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, as you’ll likely be spending several hours under direct sunlight.

2. Check the Weather

Before heading out on your kayaking adventure, be sure to check the weather conditions. Colorado’s weather can change rapidly, so it’s crucial to be prepared for any unexpected changes. Bring appropriate clothing layers and be aware of any potential storms or rapidly changing wind conditions that could impact your safety on the water.

3. Know Your Skill Level

It’s important to assess your kayaking skill level and choose appropriate water conditions accordingly. If you’re a beginner, stick to calm waters and avoid challenging rapids. As you gain more experience, you can gradually progress to more advanced kayaking spots in Colorado Springs. Remember, never exceed your skill level and always prioritize your safety.

4. Take Advantage of Guided Tours and Lessons

If you’re new to kayaking or want to explore new areas, consider taking advantage of guided kayaking tours and lessons. Professional guides can provide valuable insights, teach you essential kayaking techniques, and ensure you make the most of your Colorado Springs kayak adventure. They can also help you discover hidden gems and navigate more challenging waterways with confidence.

5. Respect the Environment

While kayaking in Colorado Springs, it’s vital to respect the environment and wildlife. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which include minimizing your impact, disposing of waste properly, and leaving natural elements undisturbed. Additionally, observe wildlife from a safe distance, avoiding any disruptions to their habitats or behaviors.

By following these kayaking tips, you can have a safe and memorable adventure in Colorado Springs. Whether you’re exploring calm lakes or tackling thrilling whitewater rapids, the natural beauty of Colorado Springs will undoubtedly enhance your kayak adventure.

Other Kayaking Destinations in Colorado

While Colorado Springs offers fantastic kayaking opportunities, there are also other destinations in Colorado worth exploring if you’re a fan of kayaking. These locations provide diverse waterways, unique landscapes, and exciting adventures for kayakers of all skill levels.


Denver is not only Colorado’s capital but also a great city for kayakers. The South Platte River offers urban kayaking, allowing you to explore the city from a different perspective. For those seeking more adrenaline-pumping experiences, the nearby Arkansas River provides challenging whitewater kayaking.


If you’re looking for picturesque rivers and stunning scenery, Aspen should be on your kayaking list. The Colorado River, Roaring Fork River, and Arkansas River flow through this mountain town, offering a range of kayaking experiences. Many kayakers opt for inflatable kayaks in Aspen to navigate these scenic waterways.


Durango is home to the thrilling Animas River, known for its exciting whitewater kayaking opportunities. It’s a destination that attracts experienced kayakers who enjoy navigating challenging rapids. Inflatable kayaks are a popular choice in this area, providing maneuverability and stability in the river’s dynamic currents.


Boulder boasts the beautiful Boulder Creek, a great spot for intermediate-level kayakers. Its clear waters and gentle rapids offer an enjoyable kayaking experience. Nearby, Clear Creek and Cache La Poudre also provide opportunities for whitewater kayaking, adding variety to your Colorado kayaking adventures.

Destination Main Kayaking Attraction Recommended Kayak Type
Denver South Platte River Recreational kayak
Aspen Colorado River Inflatable kayak
Roaring Fork River Inflatable kayak
Arkansas River Inflatable kayak
Durango Animas River Inflatable kayak
Boulder Creek Recreational kayak

Each of these destinations offers its own charm and unique kayaking experiences. Whether you prefer urban kayaking, thrilling rapids, or serene river explorations, Colorado has something for everyone. So pack your kayak and head to these fantastic kayaking destinations in the beautiful state of Colorado.

Lakes for Kayaking in Colorado

Colorado is home to a wide range of lakes that are perfect for kayaking adventures. Whether you’re a beginner looking for calm waters or an experienced kayaker craving some excitement, there’s a lake in Colorado that will suit your preferences. Here are some top lakes to kayak in Colorado:

Evergreen Lake

Located near Denver, Evergreen Lake offers a pristine kayaking experience with its calm waters and stunning scenery. You can rent kayaks at the lakehouse and spend the day exploring the lake’s hidden coves and peaceful corners.

Navajo Lake

Spanning the Colorado-New Mexico border, Navajo Lake is a popular choice for kayaking. Its calm blue waters and breathtaking views make it a great spot for both beginners and experienced kayakers. You can also camp near the lake and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding nature.

Chatfield Reservoir

Just south of Denver, Chatfield Reservoir offers a variety of opportunities for kayaking. With over 1,500 acres of water surface, there’s plenty of room to explore and enjoy the peacefulness of this scenic lake.

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is a kayaker’s paradise. Surrounded by towering peaks and dense forests, this picturesque lake offers a serene kayaking experience that’s hard to beat.

Grand Lake

As the largest natural lake in Colorado, Grand Lake is a must-visit destination for kayakers. Located near Rocky Mountain National Park, this stunning lake offers breathtaking views and a chance to paddle through crystal-clear waters.

These are just a few of the many lakes in Colorado that are perfect for kayaking. Each lake has its own unique features and attractions, making them worth exploring for any kayaking enthusiast. So grab your kayak, pack your gear, and get ready to enjoy the beauty of Colorado’s lakes!


Exploring the kayaking opportunities in Colorado Springs is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. With its picturesque lakes and rivers, there is something for everyone, from tranquil sunset paddles to thrilling whitewater rapids. Quail Lake, Rampart Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Royal Gorge, and Browns Canyon National Monument are all top choices for kayaking in Colorado Springs.

When planning your kayaking adventure, don’t forget to check out the various rental shops in the area. SUP Colorado Springs near Quail Lake and Underwater Connection near Rampart Reservoir offer convenient kayak rentals. For those seeking whitewater kayaking experiences, Pikes Peak Outfitters near the Royal Gorge area and Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center near Browns Canyon National Monument are recommended choices.

Remember to prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket, checking weather conditions, and sticking to your skill level. Guided kayaking tours and lessons are a great way to improve your skills and discover new areas. Always respect the environment and wildlife by following Leave No Trace principles, and take time to appreciate the stunning natural beauty that Colorado Springs has to offer.


Can I go kayaking in Colorado Springs?

Yes, Colorado Springs offers a variety of kayaking opportunities thanks to its numerous lakes and rivers.

What are the popular spots for kayaking in Colorado Springs?

Popular spots for kayaking in Colorado Springs include Quail Lake, Rampart Reservoir, Eleven Mile Reservoir, Royal Gorge, and Browns Canyon National Monument.

What is Quail Lake like for kayaking?

Quail Lake is a calm and scenic option, perfect for sunset paddles and fishing.

What can I expect at Rampart Reservoir?

Rampart Reservoir offers stunning mountain scenery and is open to non-motorized traffic.

Why is Eleven Mile Reservoir a popular choice?

Eleven Mile Reservoir is a popular choice for its large size and beautiful granite rock formations.

What makes Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon National Monument special?

Royal Gorge and Browns Canyon National Monument are known for their exciting whitewater rapids.

Are there rental shops in Colorado Springs?

Yes, there are several rental shops in Colorado Springs where you can rent kayaks for your kayaking adventures.

Where can I rent a kayak near Quail Lake?

SUP Colorado Springs is a rental shop near Quail Lake that offers kayak rentals.

Where can I rent a kayak near Rampart Reservoir?

Underwater Connection is a rental shop near Rampart Reservoir that offers kayak rentals.

Are there rental options for whitewater kayaking near Royal Gorge?

Pikes Peak Outfitters is a rental shop in Colorado Springs that specializes in whitewater kayaking and is recommended for renting kayaks for kayaking in the Royal Gorge area.

What rental shop is near Browns Canyon National Monument?

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center is a rental shop near Browns Canyon National Monument that offers kayak rentals.

What safety precautions should I take when kayaking in Colorado Springs?

Always wear a life jacket, bring sunscreen, check weather conditions, follow safety guidelines, and respect the environment and wildlife.

Are there guided kayaking tours and lessons available?

Yes, you can take advantage of guided kayaking tours and lessons to improve your skills and explore new areas.

What are some other kayaking destinations in Colorado?

Other kayaking destinations in Colorado include Denver, Aspen, Durango, and Boulder.

Are there any lakes in Colorado for kayaking?

Yes, there are numerous lakes in Colorado that offer kayaking opportunities, such as Evergreen Lake, Navajo Lake, Chatfield Reservoir, Twin Lakes, and Grand Lake.

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