SUPing is perfect for people of all ages and experience levels, and there’s a quick learning curve. Begin by kneeling on your board and paddling. As you gain confidence on the board and learn to negotiate rocks and slots, you'll be more stable with a lower center of gravity.
Here are four reasons we recommend summer SUPing while visiting the Aspen area:
1. SUP is a great workout – You’ll tone your arms, legs, and core while paddling.
2. SUP is low-impact – Unlike other sports such as running or tennis, SUP is easy on the joints.
3. SUP is relaxing – Paddling on calm water is a great way to de-stress and clear your mind.
4. SUP is social – SUP is a great activity to do with friends or family.
Opportunities to stand up paddleboard in the Aspen valley are numerous. A few favorite local SUP options are North Star Nature Preserve, Ruedi Reservoir, Chapman Reservoir Campground, the Colorado River, and the Roaring Fork. We'll introduce you to all of your options below.
Stand Up Paddleboarding Near Downtown Aspen
If you're looking for a great SUPing spot near downtown Aspen, look no further than Stillwater. Just east of the downtown area, Stillwater offers a mellow float down the Roaring Fork River to the lower end of the North Star Nature Preserve.
The river will take you from the bottom of a valley through wild marshlands that are home to many birds and animals. With its slow, meandering pace, you can tiptoe into what running rivers feel like. Tubers, kayakers, and paddleboarders alike enjoy this section.
Remember that because the land has been preserved, you'll be required to stay on your paddleboard and in the river. No walking on the land.
Aspen’s Independence Pass SUPing
Paddleboarding Grizzly Reservoir
Drive 9.5 miles up Independence Pass from Aspen to Grizzly Reservoir. You’ll turn right onto Lincoln Creek Road, then continue six miles on the rocky four-wheel-drive road to the tranquil and serene reservoir.
This enormous reservoir, located high in a tundra bowl just below the Continental Divide, is a terrific place to visit. You’ll find a few little rivers running in from the south bank, begging to be explored. Grizzly Reservoir is also stocked with trout, making it a great place to cast a line and do a little fishing from your board for some added fun and technical balancing.
Paddleboarding Lost Man Reservoir
To find this hidden gem, drive just 11 miles east of Aspen and follow a trail approximately a quarter-mile from the Lower Lost Man campground to reach the reservoir. You'll find beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, meadows, and forest-covered peaks.
Lost Man Reservoir is a little off the beaten path, but the short trek is worth the effort. Due to the lack of wind and waves, you’ll be able to concentrate on maintaining your balance while admiring the tranquil reflections on the clear water. Bring a lunch to enjoy the serenity and high-alpine views after your paddling.
Paddleboarding Twin Lakes
You’ll find Twin Lakes (Colorado's largest glacial lakes) after an hour-long scenic drive over Independence Pass from Aspen. Twin Lakes is a pair of lakes joined by a small upstream-flowing water bridge. The lakes reflect the beauty of some of the country's highest peaks: 14,439-foot Mount Elbert to the north, La Plata and Rinkler Peak to the west, and the Collegiate Peaks to the south.
There are few other boats on the river, making it ideal for paddling across to the far side and exploring the area away from the highway and campers. These lakes are peaceful and spacious, yet windy days will make your job a little more difficult. The lake is surrounded by brilliant yellow and orange Aspen trees in the fall, making this a wonderful SUP experience.
SUPing Downvalley from Aspen
Paddleboarding Ruedi Reservoir
Ruedi Reservoir is located on Fryingpan River Road about 16 miles upstream from Basalt, which is about 20 minutes from Aspen via car. You can drive about a mile past the Ruedi Reservoir dam and turn right into the campgrounds to launch your paddleboard from the boat ramp, or you can launch from Dearhammer Campground, which is on the other side of the reservoir.
Reudi offers 997 acres of water to explore from a meandering shoreline of dense conifer pine forest. We suggest following the shoreline as you paddle. It's an excellent way to slowly gain your sea legs because there are more meadows along the shoreline and less boat traffic. Watch for fast-moving boats and yachts, and dress brightly (though don't worry about the traffic because it stays in the middle of the reservoir). Don’t forget your PFD!
Paddleboarding the Colorado River
Drive about an hour downvalley from Aspen to access No Name in Glenwood Canyon's (exit 119 off I-70) for a river adventure without the risk of large rapids.
You’ll follow a gentler portion of river from the put-in, with enough riffles and rocks to keep you on your toes, as well as magnificent canyon views and the occasional passing train. Before taking out at Two Rivers Park in town, have some fun through Glenwood Springs' "Horseshoe Bend."
Stand Up Paddleboarding Gear
SUP equipment is easy to find. You’ll generally need a board, paddle, personal flotation device (PFD), ankle leash, and sometimes a helmet. If you’re renting an inflatable paddleboard, you’ll also need a hand pump or an electric one. Other than that, all you'll need is a hat, sunscreen, water shoes (Chacos or Tevas, for example), and a warm additional layer.
We suggest you contact these local gear shops for rentals or custom advice:
• Aspen Whitewater Rafting: 970-920-3511
• Aspen Kayak and SUP: 970-925-4433
• Blazing Adventiures: 970-923-4544
• Shaboomee: 970-315-2224
Where to Stay in Aspen While SUPing
We promise you'll feel right at home lounging in one of our Aspen vacation rentals in between SUP outings. Recharge and share memories of the day's paddling highlights while recharging for your next SUP trip. Contact Alpine Property and get ready to join us in Aspen for an unforgettable summer family holiday!