Favorite spots in the North Metro for stand-up paddle boarding.

by North Metro Woman


About five or so years ago, this North Metro Woman got her curiosity up and attended a stand-up paddle board yoga class.  Having not been on a board previously,  it initially felt a little silly, incredibly awkward to carry and launch,  and VERY wobbly on the water, especially while trying to hold a yoga pose.  I lost my paddle once, bumped into  friends multiple times, laughed too much to keep track of,  which I learned also precedes completely falling off the board,  but by the conclusion of class (exactly one hour),  I was hooked!!   I was asking everyone around me:  Where did you get yours?  What’s the best brand?  What other gear do I need?  But, the question at the top of my mind then, and remains the same today, is…when can I do this again?

It was the most fun and  peaceful experience I’ve had in years – not just the challenge of trying to do yoga aboard, but simply balancing and moving on the water.   Engaging your core with the synchronistic motion of the paddle honestly feels more like play than exercise, but the added benefit is that it’s really working all of your muscles, AND improving your mentality.   So whether you are standing, sitting, kneeling or struggling to keep an excitable doodle aboard,  paddle boarding  is such an amazing activity that your entire family can enjoy together.

Lucky for us all, there are countless on-line articles written about top brands, epoxy versus inflatable boards, best life jackets,  and any other advice to get you started.  But don’t be intimidated – it’s honestly such a simple sport with minimal gear to buy or rent.  My family now owns four – one for each of us and they are ready to be launched for summer.     So here are the top spots  (non-motorized lakes) that we recommend  in the North Metro for paddle boarding:

Gross Reservoir  (in Boulder) -Gross’ parking lot and surrounding area has been under construction since 2022 and is expected to continue through 2027,  BUT if you’re willing to plan ahead and park (at the North Lot) and shuttle, it will be one of the prettiest lakes you can SUP.   It’s a little harder to get to, especially with the dam expansion but once you get there, it’s serene, surrounded by beautiful pines and offers a small rock-lined canyon that’s fun to explore and stop in to have a picnic.  According to their site, during the 2024 season the shuttle is scheduled to operate Friday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Evergreen Lake  (in Evergreen)- This is also such a beautiful spot within 45 minutes of the North Metro.  It’s the smallest of our favorites, so it doesn’t take much to make it crowded.  But,  if you go during the week, it’s really such a calm and lovely place to paddle.  There is always wildlife around including some pretty big elk on occasion,  and it’s just so nice to get out of the city and into those gorgeous foothills.  The town of Evergreen is also wonderful to pop into for eclectic shopping or a delicious lunch.

Union Reservoir (in Longmont) –  We like Union because it has alot of room to spread out.   It’s  735 acres and includes a sandy swim beach.  One of the unique aspects of Union is all the humungous Walleye fish you will encounter on the lake.  We have seen some as big as two feet or more!  And, just so you don’t get frightened and fall in (unless you want to of course),  they are so curious, hungry, or both, that it’s not uncommon for one to come up next to your board and stick its head right out of the water.  So be prepared for visitors here!   We recommend buying the season pass as the entry line can get pretty long and it’s nice to just buzz right in and get a good spot in the shade.

Another great resource for finding the best lakes to SUP  is “Go Paddling”.  The app will tell you which lakes are paddle board friendly in your area along with permit, parking and launch info.




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