Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, tubing, 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 130 acre park is the latest development in the “string of pearls,” connecting points of the Colorado River with parks in the Grand Junction area 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.
Since opening in spring of 2020, the River Park has been popular with both locals and guests. There’s plenty of space 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.
While dogs are not allowed in the water, you can take your feline friend to the nearby Las Colonias dog park, which opened summer 2020. As the Riverfront continues to be developed, other portions of the dog park will include water features, scheduled to open next year.
People may bring their own watercraft, or rent one from Grand Junction Stand Up Paddleboard (GJSUP), a locally-owned business that leases space at a conveniently located kiosk 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 classes and moonlight paddle classes. GJSUP is open Memorial Day and closes around mid-September. The River Park, however, remains open year-round, from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Even in low water, the River Park is a peaceful, natural area to enjoy the outdoors or relax amidst the beautiful scenery that the riverfront offers.
By Sharon Sullivan, Grand Junction resident