Kayaking in Denver

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Written by Cassidy Barnes posted on Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

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Confluence Park kayakers. Courtesy Stan Obert for Visit Denver.

Confluence Park kayakers. Courtesy Stan Obert for Visit Denver.

Hit the rapids around Denver

DENVER, Colorado – Among the many outdoor activities to do in the Denver area, kayaking might be the most unexpected of all. However, there are a few sweet spots to enjoy some whitewater right in downtown Denver and the nearby foothills.

Confluence Park in the Central Platte Valley neighborhood has become a well-known place to practice rollovers. Or stay dry and simply watch the boaters plunge through some of the 13 drops in a mile-and-a-half of the South Platte River. Confluence Park is named for the location where Cherry Creek and the South Platte River meet. This is a busy area with bicycle and pedestrian paths lining both sides of the creek and the river. It’s common to see a small crowd gathered on one of the foot bridges over the South Platte River watching the kayakers down below. It’s a perfect mix here of the great outdoors and the city as the class II to class III rapids are just in the western shadow of downtown Denver’s skyscrapers. Insider’s tip: Confluence Kayaks is one block from the South Platte River whitewater park and offers lessons and rentals.

Several miles upstream from Confluence Park are the Union Chutes, also on the South Platte River. Starting at Chatfield Reservoir, there are 17 miles of manmade rapids along the river and Union Chutes is home to seven drops along the way. This stretch of river also offer class II to class III rapids, depending on the flow and season. It is suitable for kayaks and canoes. Although this is still an urban-or suburban-river experience, there are some nice stretches of greenery and no buildings.

Only about a 15-minute drive west of downtown Denver is the town of Golden and their Clear Creek Whitewater Park. This park offers about seven city blocks-or a quarter mile-of drop-offs, eddies, flat water and huge boulders to navigate around in a kayak or canoe. The whitewater course at Clear Creek can be rented for private events and has hosted numerous championship competitions.

Wherever you are in the Denver area, kakaying adventures are surprisingly nearby.

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