The Yampa River is under 1000cfs, which solidly puts us in tubing season for the next few weeks. What does that mean for SUPing in the Yampa Valley? Hala Gear HQ has compiled the best flatwater excursions in Northwest Colorado!
New to SUP? Start here. Located just off of Highway 40, behind Walgreens and along the Core Trail, Fetcher Pond is free and open to the public. Please be aware and respectful of the many fishermen and women that line the banks of the pond! There’s nothing worse than getting your Carbon Straight Up tangled in a line.
Steamboat Lake/Pearl Lake
We had to get the obvious ones out of the way. Drive on up Elk River Road (CR 129) for approximately 35 minutes. Pearl Lake will be on your right, Steamboat Lake on your left. Both are state parks so you will need a day pass to get in (CO State Park Pass also works!). Steamboat Lake is a bit busier on the water but provides some epic views of the Sand Mountains, Diamond Peak, and Hahn’s Peak. Pearl Lake is about one-third the size of Steamboat Lake and is more secluded…pretty perfect for attempting some yoga moves on your Hala Asana.
Located just south of Steamboat Springs off of Highway 131, this reservoir offers some big room for SUPing. Similar to Steamboat Lake, Stagecoach is also a state park and can get fairly crowded. However, it’s not hard to carve out space for yourself on a SUP; rig up your Hala Fame and hang out in the cove where Little Morrison Creek flows into the reservoirs to catch some trout and northern pike.
On your way up and over Rabbit Ears Pass, look for the turn-off for Dumont Lake on your right. Follow this road past the campground and park in an appropriate spot. You will have to walk with your Hala SUP a bit to access the lake, but it’s worth it. Wear sunscreen and bug spray. Don’t forget to bring your dog!
These paddles are the perfect day-trip getaway. Travel down 131 until you hit the small town of Yampa, then follow access signs for the Flat Tops Wilderness. Follow this road all the way to the end (as if you were going to hike the Devil’s Causeway) and you will pass the YamColo reservoir, then the Upper Stillwater Reservoir, and then finally Stillwater Reservoir. There are dozens more lakes located in the Flat Tops Wilderness, but beware – some are only accessible by a 4WD vehicle!