But First, Safety
Before you venture out for a day on the water, brush up on your safety info. Here are a few things you must know to paddleboard safely. Wear a bathing suit or a wetsuit, close-toe shoes, and remember to bring sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Always wear a personal floatation device and know how to swim. Check current streamflow conditions and identify whitewater difficulty. Follow proper techniques, stay on the board, and keep your eyes forward. Learn what to do in a dangerous situation. Staying within your comfort level and never going out alone can be two of the easiest ways to have fun and stay safe.
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Where To Paddleboard
The American Whitewater Association created a class system to rate the difficulty and skill required for whitewater rafting, you can use these as a guide for which waters will be more intense to paddleboard. You should also keep in mind that any class level will be harder to maneuver through on a paddleboard than on a raft.
Kremmling, Colorado is located in Grand County, one of three counties where you’ll find the famous Rocky Mountain National Park, the “birthplace of the mighty Colorado River”. For those looking to paddleboard the Colorado whitewater, this is your playground. Here, you’ll find a section of water for all skill types.
You will find Class I, II, and III on the Upper Colorado River near Kremmling. Class I is easy, slow-moving with few rocks and tunnels. If you’ve never been paddle boarding before, you should start here. Class II is good for beginners with some experience, at this level you’ll encounter small obstacles and faster water. Class III rapids are found at Pumphouse Whitewater Park. This would be considered an intermediate rafting adventure, or a more advanced paddle boarding trip, with large irregular waves. The expert levels of class IV and V are found at the Lower Colorado River. These rapids include stints of turbulent waters and require an advanced level of skill and self-rescue expertise. These guidelines are designed for your knowledge and safety. Know your limitations.
One area popular with experienced, thrill-seeking paddleboarders is Gore Canyon Whitewater Park. This park offers Class IV and V rapids that’ll be sure to push your limits. The Class II and III rapids in Parshall, Colorado, near Kremmling, are perfect for almost everyone else with the opportunity to take a dip in the Hot Sulphur Springs. If you don’t want to go at it alone, AVA Rafting and Ziplining offers guided rafting, kayaking, and paddle boarding tours on the Upper Colorado River. These adventures are perfect for families and groups. You can also lock in great deals on rentals with Colorado River Rentals.
Three beautiful lakes we recommend paddle boarding are Grand Lake, Lake Granby, and Shadow Mountain Lake. Each has breathtaking panoramas and unparalleled views with plenty of opportunities to help you dive into and explore the real Colorado. This is also a great way to view a vast variety of wildlife while “walking on water”. Take your adventure even further with SUP yoga, a unique fusion of yoga and paddle boarding. Sunrise, sunset, and full moon paddles also add to an unforgettable experience.
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Where To Get Paddleboard Gear
Equipment rentals are available from Colorado River Rentals at AVA Rafting and Zipline, 1611 Eagle Avenue, Kremmling, Colorado 80459. There you can rent a paddleboard for one day or up to three and schedule a shuttle to pick you and your gear up. Rental wetsuits, helmets, personal floatation devices, and splash jackets are also available. AVA Rafting and Zipline also has guided paddle boarding tours that include all of this equipment.