Best Spots For Paddle Boarding in the USA

Paddle Boarding SPOTS in the COLORADO

Arkansas River, COLORADO

While stand up paddleboarding the Arkansas River is a unique way to experience Colorado, it is generally better suited to the more experienced paddleboarder. The Salida Town Run and the white water park in Buena Vista can be a challenge for those just starting to paddleboard, however, it’s the ultimate playground for the more adventurous paddlers. River Runners provides tours to several locations, including destinations where you’ll encounter class II rapids.

The Salida Play Park is even more challenging with Class III rapids, where the more experienced can have their fun.

This park consists of two waves/holes depending on water levels and depending on flow, the waves here can be world class.

The lower hole is great for beginners to expert paddle boarders. The hole is great for loops and is backed up by flat water for recovery. Throw in some epic views of Mt. Princeton in the background, and you have an all-round top paddle board spot.

Badfish SUP based in Salida can also handle all your Arkansas River paddleboard needs. This video from Badfish is a bit of a preview of the excitement of SUP’ing on the Arkansas River.

Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake is Colorado’s largest, deepest, and quite possibly most beautiful lake. The mountain scenery surrounding the lake is sublime – making this a definite bucket-list destination for paddleboarders.

The Grand Lake is located close to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the town that goes by the same name.

Rocky Mountain SUP Colorado and the Grand Lake Marina are ready to take care of your paddleboarding needs when you’re down at Grand Lake.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Whilst there are plenty of scenic easy-going flat-water paddling options in Colorado, more experienced SUPers can also find plenty of adrenaline-inducing rapids.

The Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park is a great choice. Already from its name, you can anticipate what’s in store for you. It’s the first whitewater park built on the Colorado River and an excellent choice to hone your advanced paddleboard skills.

You can check out current flow levels on their site before heading down to the park.

If you want to SUP in the company of a world-class SUP athlete Brittany Parker, head down to Glenwood adventure, where you can attend one of her clinics or maybe get the chance to see her surfing a few river waves.

If you want to get a glimpse of what Glenwood Springs offers to an athlete who lives and breathes SUP have a look at this amazing video

Colorado also has one of the busiest SUP event seasons, especially during high season. Have a look here to check out the SUP event calendar in Colorado on the Colorado SUP club website.

Top Paddle Board Spots in IDAHO, United States

Idaho is known as the “Whitewater State” for a reason – it has more navigable river miles than any other state in the US, besides plenty of alpine lakes, all in the midst of national forests, mountains, and deep gorges. Central Idaho is particularly concentrated with top paddleboard spots. If you’re looking to paddle in unspoiled nature – this Rocky-Mountain state is the place to go.

The Salmon River “The River of No Return” Corridor, Idaho

The Salmon River starts in the Sawtooth Range, near the Galena Summit, and runs for 425 miles through Central Idaho before its confluence with Snake River – making it the longest free-flowing river in the continental United States and the largest wilderness area. Its remote location has minimized human presence in the area leaving it largely unspoiled. Much of the river is good for paddle boarding – and there are options for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between.

Looking for some guidance, rentals or tours? You’re spoilt for choice. Momentum River Expeditions, Sawtooth Adventure company, and OARS are great picks.

The Payette River, Idaho

Looking for some guidance, rentals or tours? You’re spoilt for choice. Momentum River Expeditions, Sawtooth Adventure company, and OARS are great picks.

The Columbia River Gorge, Idaho

The Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon’s most popular SUP destinations. It’s also one of the top downwinding destinations in the world.

The Gorge has strong, predictable winds that blow across the surface of the expansive Columbia River. This natural event creates incredible downwinding conditions, with 30-40 mile per hour winds not being uncommon. These winds blow in the exact opposite direction of the current most of the year. This makes for some surprisingly large river waves perfect for some of the most challenging downwinding outside of Hawaii.

In fact the “Viento Downwind” tour is probably the most popular in this spot and makes for an awesome seven-mile journey to Hood River. Big Winds, a top water sports shop in downtown Hood River, offers a downwinding shuttle service to Viento State Park during the summer months, to make the best of the excellent downwinding conditions at their peak.

In terms of events, you can head to the Columbia Gorge Paddle challenge, a SUP event which has been going on since 2011.

Besides Big Winds, another local SUP guided tours and rentals shop in the Gorge Paddling Center.


The Coast, Oregon

One of the most scenic strips of natural beauty in North America has to be the Oregon coast. Conditions are predictable for most of the year. Strong prevailing onshore winds and wintertime storms swell out of Alaska pushing cold water and huge swells along the way. So much so, thirty-foot swells are not uncommon in the winter months. Nevertheless, in the right conditions, the Oregon coast has a good collection of SUP worthy spots to surf or explore.

The Oregon coast temperatures are relatively consistent with moderate temperatures all year round. The coastline stays above 38 Fahrenheit and is typically in the low 40’s or mid-’50s in the winter months even as inland snow and ice prevail.

Head to SUP Manzanita or Clatsop Paddle Company for rentals and local guided tours on the Oregon Coast.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *