Spend a Weekend on the South Platte River

Take a paddling trip to South Platte River, a quick 30 minute drive from downtown Denver. This section of the river is located near the Chatfield Reservoir. The South Platte River allows kayaks, canoes, and inflatable crafts. Rejoice in free and plentiful parking! Plan for crowds on summer weekends, as the proximity to Denver attracts paddlers from near and far. 

The South Platte River attracts paddlers of all kinds. Known for its calm demeanor, this particular section of the River is forgiving enough for beginning paddlers of all kinds to practice their skills. Outfitters use this area to teach stand-up paddle boarding, fly fishing, and kayaking. It is so flat at times that even experienced paddlers will come simply to test out new gear. 

Kayak and paddling rentals can be found at Confluence Kayaks. Rentals are available daily, overnight, weekend, and weekly, in order to accommodate paddling trips of all lengths. Book a trip for the day, make a weekend of it, or stop along the way and take a few days off work!

Confluence Kayaks also provides the option for beginners’ lessons starting on flat water, and the possibility of intermediate and advanced lessons on moving water. 

For a bit more of a challenge, Deckers run on the South Platte River is approximately 16 miles in total and there are ample camping opportunities along the way, depending on where your put-in and take-out spots are planned. If you want to try something new, paddle to Lone Rock Campground. This spot along the South Platte River has some particularly great opportunities for fly fishing. The South Platte River itself is such an amazing spot for fishing that it has earned Gold Metal Waters status from the Colorado Wildlife Commission. Other campsites are available below Strontia Springs Dam at Roxborough State Park, with chances for some more challenging paddling. Flow conditions, as always, are dependent on the time of year and amount of rainfall. Chatfield Reservoir State Recreation Area hosts campsites incredibly close to Denver for quick and accessible paddling trips. 

The best part about river paddling is the ability to customize the trip. South Platte River allows for a quick, calm day of paddling, or the potential for a longer, more challenging trip. A short drive from Denver opens up a whole host of opportunities to enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or a relaxing tube float. South Platte River provides a beautiful getaway without hours in the car!

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