Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, tubing, floating, or wading along the Colorado River.
In the heart of Grand Junction, people of all ages are enjoying paddleboarding and kayaking at the new Butterfly Pond and RiverFront at Las Colonias Park. The 140-acre park is the latest development on the Colorado River along the Colorado RiverFront Trail.
Stand up paddleboarding involves using a paddle to move through the water while standing (or kneeling) on the board. Newcomers to the water sport typically start off in the Butterfly Pond, before trying the slough, a channel of the river that creates a wave that you can surf with your paddleboard or kayak. It is moving water, although calmer than the main river, which paddleboarders often venture out to after mastering their skills on the pond.
The new RiverPark has been popular with both locals and guests, but there is plenty of shoreline to spread out along this natural free-flowing river and pond, where there are beaches and wading areas along the channel. Keep an eye on friends and family and wearing personal flotation devices is highly encouraged.
There's even a new playground for Fido! Take your furry friend to the nearby Las Colonias dog park.
Bring your own watercraft, or rent one from Grand Junction Adventures, a locally-owned business that is conveniently located near the boat ramp at the RiverFront’s east end. The company rents out paddleboards, paddles, inflatable kayaks, six-person rafts, and inner tubes. Inflatable kayaks and inner tubes are also available for sale. Personal safety devices are included in the rentals, along with the cord that is attached to the paddleboard and boarder’s waist – so that if you fall you can easily retrieve your paddleboard.
Additionally, GJSUP offers lessons on both the pond and the river, as well as shuttle services to Corn Lake and Blue Heron Lake for people who want to float the river. They also offer SUP yoga and moonlight paddle classes. GJSUP is open Memorial Day and closes around mid-September. The RiverPark, however, remains open year-round, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Even in low water, the RiverPark is a peaceful, natural area to enjoy the outdoors, bird watch, or relax amidst the unique scenery that the riverfront offers.
By Sharon Sullivan, Grand Junction resident