8 Whitewater Parks in Colorado |  Outdoor

8 Whitewater Parks in Colorado | Outdoor

Visit many of Colorado’s river towns and you won’t need to go far to discover gaming culture. Over the years, cities have increasingly built and expanded central gathering places for kayak enthusiasts, tubers, and stand-up paddleboarders: whitewater parks with waves, drops, and rapids made of rock. Whether you’re a participant or a spectator, here are eight such destinations across the state.

Buena Vista Whitewater Park: Just south of downtown, the elegant South Main residential and business development offers a fun, family-friendly home base for the Arkansas River Park. A network of trails hug the hills above the river banks, providing views of boaters and not-too-distant 14,000-foot peaks. After the river tour, Eddyline Brewery offers pizza and beer.

Clear Creek Whitewater Park: The park opened in 1998, ensuring the city’s economic and social identity for the next millennium. Golden isn’t Golden without the scene downtown: boaters heading toward Coors Brewery. The city describes the upper part of the course as intermediate, the middle part as gentler, and the lower part as more extreme.

Confluence Park: This is where Denver floaters of all ages and most experienced paddlers battle the city’s heat all summer long. The historic green space is named for its location at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, the birthplace of Denver. Regulars of the series of drops, waves and swirls have seen LoDo grow around them: a unique urban experience is preserved.

Águila River Park: In 2019, Eagle Town leaders celebrated the completion of what they considered world-class service that surpassed any counterpart in the state. Just off Interstate 70, the 4.3-acre park includes a pavilion, beach area, fire pits and, of course, things to thrill all types of boaters. It is advertised as a park that “connects the heart of Eagle with the soul of the river.”

River Park in Las Colonias: This is another newer river park, an addition to Grand Junction’s varied Las Colonias park. The larger park includes trails, dog parks, playgrounds, and ponds for kayaking and paddling. The river park includes waves, a beach and children’s areas, but the experience is known to change with the whims of the Colorado River’s currents.

Glenwood Whitewater Park: Glenwood Springs locals know it as the G wave, the main standing wave on this beloved stretch of the Colorado River. There is also a smaller wave on the right side of the river and pools to practice in. A city website reports on conditions, noting: “At high water levels, the feature mixes to form a very wide wave.”

Montrose Water Sports Park: Spanning 1,000 feet of the Uncompahgre River, the city calls it one of the state’s largest whitewater parks, proudly “designed with every citizen in mind, from ankle-deep walkers to expert kayakers.” Six falls line the river, which connects to Clifford E. Baldridge Regional Park. The complex includes a disc golf course and a network of trails.

Poudre River Whitewater Park: The park was completed in 2019 to much fanfare. The mayor of Fort Collins at the time called it “a gem” that connected Old Town to Poudre. Local officials warn that it is not a “lazy river,” not for the casual, unsuspecting tuber, especially now that more recent years have seen dangerous debris in the river following the Cameron Peak fire in 2020.