Paddle Board Crested Butte Colorado

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Written By Nick Lyons – Last Updated November 9th, 2019. 6 Minute Read.

Where To Paddle Board In Crested Butte

Crested Butte, Co which sits at an elevation of about 9,000 feet in altitude is best known for it’s skiing in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.

But did you know that Crested Butte has some fantastic SUP spots as well? Whether you are looking for a relaxing reservoir paddle or some SUP yoga or a little more movement, Crested Butte has a number of fun spots to dip your paddle within a few miles of town.

3 Best Paddle Board Spots in CB

1. Floating the Slate River

Paddling or floating the Slater River that runs just east and south of Crested Butte is a local favorite.

  • What’s It Like: You can easily put your SUP in the water just north of town at an small river beach and float downstream around many bends for about 2 miles until you get to another small beach pull out. It’s an incredibly beautiful and fun river that runs through the farmland and valley just below the ski mountain. It features beautiful views and gentle breezes.
  • How Hard Is It: Easy – Moderate
  • Duration: If the water is moving and you are paddling it can be as fast as an hour, but generally it takes 1.5 – 2 hours from put in to pull out.
  • Things To Know: Floating the Slate is very popular and allowed, but please be respectful that the banks of the river are privately owned farmland. As long as you stay on the water you are fine, but don’t trespass!
  • How To Get There:
  • When To Do It: The prime time to paddle the Slate River is usually in the spring through mid summer – but depends on river levels based on the snow melt and run off. If the water is too high, sometimes there are closures because of some low clearance bridges. Later in the season as the river level drops, it can quickly become impassable.

2. Paddle Lake Irwin

If you are looking for a “fun day on the lake” – Lake Irwin is a great choice. It’s located about 9 miles west of Crested Butte and nestled in among some beautiful mountains near the Irwin Lodge. The flat 30 acre lake offers calm, clear water for paddling, swimming (very cold!), fishing, picnicking and some hiking.

  • What’s It Like: The lake is about 30 acres of very flat and calm paddling good for any skill level. It features easy parking and very easy put in / take out of your paddle board.
  • How Hard Is It: Easy
  • Duration: As long as you want! Paddling around the circumference of the lake will take between 30-60 minutes based on how fast you are paddling.
  • Things To Know: There is also a beautiful campground at Lake Irwin
  • How To Get There:
  • When To Do It: The Lake Irwin area / Kebler pass can get upwards of 300 inches of snow every year, so the timing for Lake Irwin is between when the road up melts out and before it snows again. This is usually beginning in May or June through November – although some seasons may be much longer or shorter.

3. Emerald Lake Near Schofield Pass

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I've been paddling boarding for 10+ years and go out every weekend. I'm nerdy at heart and love understanding construction methods and handling dynamics of all types of boards to help people find their perfect board!