Steamboat Springs Kayaking Guide

Published on 05/28/2019 by Brad Luth

Kayaking has existed in some form or fashion for hundreds of years, though the outdoor water sport has quickly grown in popularity over the past several years as outdoor enthusiasts seek new and exciting ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Steamboat Springs is a veritable playground in the summer; the winter snow melts and reveals lush landscapes and hidden lakes and rivers that are just begging to be explored. Kayaks and lakes go hand in hand, and Steamboat Springs is a natural fit for this trendy transportation.

If you’re curious about kayaking in Steamboat Springs, enjoy our free guide to learn more about where to find local rentals, the best spots in town for kayaking, and more.

Steamboat Springs Kayak Rentals & Tours

Do you want to book a kayak rental or tour during your stay in Steamboat Springs? Here are two of our favorite local companies that offer lessons, tours, and rentals.

Mountain Sports Kayak School

800 S Lincoln Ave, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 | (970) 879-8794


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Beginners and experts alike are sure to appreciate the lessons and tours available through Mountain Sports Kayak School. Lessons are available for kayakers of any level and age, from beginner to expert. Rentals are also available for $50 per day, with discounts available for multi-day excursions. Mountain Sports also features special trips and tours seasonally.

Backdoor Sports

841 Yampa St, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 | (970) 879-6249


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Experience runs in the family at Backdoor Sports; with over 30 years in the industry, the owners of this family owned and operated outdoor sports company know the Steamboat Springs area like the back of their hands. The friendly, knowledgeable staff are more than happy to share local tips and tricks for a kayaking trip. Kayak rentals are available for only $30 per day.


Top Spots for Kayaking in Steamboat Springs

The Yampa River runs deep through the center of Steamboat Springs and provides an amicable playground for watersports enthusiasts. This bustling river is the town’s most popular spot for kayaking, though the river is best-suited for experienced riders. However, if you are looking for an adventure, the white-water rapids and occasional obstacles provide a Class II and III rated experience. Guided tours and solo trips are readily available for the river.

If you’re seeking a more relaxing kayaking experience, consider a few of these local spots within an hour drive of Steamboat Springs:

  • Rich Weiss Park (0.5 Miles, 2 Minutes)
  • River Creek Park (1.5 Miles, 5 Minutes)
  • Fetcher Pond (1.5 Miles, 5 Minutes)
  • Stagecoach Reservoir (22 Miles, 40 Minutes)
  • Lake Steamboat (26 Miles, 40 Minutes)
  • Pearl Lake (26 Miles, 45 Minutes)


Kayaking FAQs

Are you still on the fence about kayaking? Rest assured that this outdoor activity is a fun and relaxing way to explore the mountains. Check out our FAQs below to find answers to our most common kayaking inquiries.

Is experience required?

No specific experience is required to kayak! The watersport activates the upper body and core, so a basic level of movement and balance is necessary, but don’t let that scare you away. Intro lessons are a great way to familiarize yourself with the kayak and the basic moves before you embark on a tour or invest in a rental.

How long does kayaking take to learn?

The basics of kayaking are fairly easy to learn, Many riders pick up on the essentials in 15-30 minutes, which is plenty of experience to make it through a lesson or tour. And, like most things, practice makes perfect! The longer you kayak, the better and more comfortable you’ll get.

How much does it cost to rent a kayak or book a tour?

Kayaking is a fairly affordable watersport. Pricing will vary depending on which company you work with, but rentals typically cost $50 per day and guided tours typically start at $125 per person and include all of the trip essentials.

What should I wear kayaking?

Comfort is key when it comes to kayaking. Bathing suits or other water wear are recommended in the summer, though shorts or athletic wear will also do the trick. Just remember that you’ll be on the water so whatever you do have on might get wet. Sunscreen, sunglasses, waterproof shoes, and bug spray are also recommended.

Intrigued? Well the water fun doesn’t stop at kayaking; be sure to check out our guide to Paddleboarding in Steamboat Springs for more information on the mountain’s hottest new activity.

Looking for more vacation inspiration? If so, check out our free Insider’s Guide, which provides a local’s perspective on Steamboat’s best kept secrets!