Wet & Wild


Canoes, SUP, kayaks, and more

By Devon O'Neil June 6, 2022 Published in the Summer/Fall 2022 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

Two-by-four SUP on Nottingham Lake

Image: Ryan Dearth


Think of Nottingham Lake in downtown Avon as an oasis—one that punches well above its recreational weight. Standup Paddle Colorado (standuppaddlecolorado.com) rents paddleboards ($35/hour), pedal boats ($30/hour), and kayaks ($30/hour) on the lake’s northeast shore. For a different experience, longtime yogi Julie Circo—who has taught yoga “on every pond, lake, and pool in the Eagle Valley”—leads private SUP yoga classes (paddleyogaco.com) on Nottingham Lake and at pools around town. Upvalley, Piney River Ranch (pineyriverranch.com) rents canoes ($40 per hour) and SUPs ($45 per hour), but you can’t make a reservation—it’s first come, first served. Rental includes basic instruction to get you paddling in the right direction, so to speak. And downvalley at Sylvan Lake State Park (cpw.state.co.us), which also doesn’t take reservations, you can rent canoes, kayaks, and SUPs: $25 for four hours, $40 for the entire day. The park has a unique life-jacket program. “We give them out free to anybody who needs them,” says park manager Matt Westerberg. “Grab one from the boat ramp area.” Another tip: get there early on a sunny weekend, when it’s not uncommon to see 60 SUPs on the water. For a sure thing, from June through October you can book a half-day trip to Sylvan Lake with Timberline (timberlinetours.com, $120/guest 13 years and older plus $60 for a board shared with a younger guest), the valley’s only guided stillwater SUP tour, which includes transportation to and from the park, all the gear you’ll need, plus lunch.


Whitewater Playground

There may be no finer whitewater park in the West than the 4.3-acre Eagle River Park in the town of Eagle. With an expertly built wave and a gorgeous beach and hangout area, the municipal facility has become a recreational—and social—hotbed downvalley. The highlight of its season is the Whitewater Wednesdays series (eagleoutside.com), slated for Wednesday evenings at 5 p.m. from June 15 through July 13. Competitions are open to freestyle kayaking and river surfing for paddlers 16 years or older. 



If you’re up for the challenge of SUP on water that’s moving, sign up for Glenwood Adventure’s guided river paddleboard trip on the Colorado (glenwoodadventure.com, $105/guest 12 and older), which runs through September 15, or a similar experience offered by Timberline (timberlinetours.com, $120/guest 13 and older). Depending on your comfort level, you can kneel or stand as you bob through mellow waves. No experience required, but it helps.


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