Photo: Alexey Kamenskiy/Shutterstock

Aspen Isn't Just About Skiing. It's One of the Best Kayak Destinations in the West

by Matador Creators Jun 21, 2023

Everyone knows Aspen, Colorado, for its famous ski scene, but this destination in the heart of the Rocky Mountains offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. While skiing and snowboarding may be the first activities that come to mind, the warmer months bring a whole new world of adventure. One activity that continues to gain popularity in this picturesque town is kayaking. With its stunning rivers and breathtaking scenery, you haven’t kayaked until you’ve kayaked in Aspen.

Where to start your kayak adventure

The Roaring Fork River, which flows through Aspen, offers some of the best kayaking spots in the region. This river is a tributary of the Colorado River and boasts a variety of sections, ranging from Class I to Class IV rapids. The most popular kayaking stretch lies between Basalt and Carbondale, where paddlers can navigate through exhilarating rapids while marveling at the surrounding natural beauty. For those looking for a more leisurely experience, the lower section of the river near Glenwood Springs provides a gentle and scenic float.

Safety should always be a top priority when kayaking, especially in the fast-moving waters of the Roaring Fork River. It’s essential to wear a life jacket at all times and carry a whistle to signal for help if needed. Additionally, be sure to check the weather forecast and river conditions before heading out, as water levels can change rapidly in the mountains.

How to get started

If you’re new to kayaking or looking to brush up on your skills, Aspen is home to several outfitters that offer guided tours and instruction. Many of these companies provide all necessary equipment, as well as experienced guides to help you navigate the river safely. No matter your skill level, a guided tour can help you build confidence on the water and make the most of your kayaking adventure.

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