Water Recreation

Water fun in Basalt ranges from floating to fishing, sailing to swimming, gentle rowing to rip-roaring rapids! With four rivers and their Gold Medal waters, along with Ruedi and Chapman Reservoirs, water is a defining element of our outdoor recreation. Read on to learn more.

  • Stand-Up Paddle Boarding thumbnail

    Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

    Opportunities to Stand-Up Paddle Board—or SUP, around Basalt—are numerous. Ruedi Reservoir is the prime paddling area, but other good options are North Star Nature Preserve in Aspen, Chapman Reservoir Campground, the Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River.

    If you’re interested in a whole body workout, with a unique perspective to view what’s under the water and out on the horizon as you stand at full height, SUPing is for you.

    You’ll be working your back muscles, arms, legs, shoulders, and torso. And as you try to stabilize yourself, your body will work hard to maintain balance giving your core muscles some great exercise.

    The gear is relatively simple. It includes a board, paddle, personal flotation device (pfd), ankle leash and sometimes a helmet if your SUP adventures take you to whitewater.

    Several area stores and outfitters rent gear for a full or half day:
    Bristlecone Mountain Sports
    Shaboomee SUP

  • Whitewater Rafting thumbnail

    Whitewater Rafting

    There are countless reasons to love whitewater rafting: From the exercise to the adrenaline rush, incredible scenic beauty to the chance to see wildlife in its natural habitat, to spending quality time with family and friends. But ultimately, rafting is an activity that people who visit and live in Basalt do for the pure fun of it!

    There’s a raft trip that’s just right for you; outings range from calm family floats to heart-pumping whitewater adventures. Most companies offer trips April to October, with peak rafting season June to August.

    Check out these options for half- or full-day guided raft trips:
    Aspen Whitewater Rafting
    Aspen Kayak & SUP Academy
    Blazing Adventures
    Elk Mountain Whitewater

  • Kayaking thumbnail


    When the snow starts to melt from the high peaks, colorful kayaks with helmeted paddlers begin to dot the rivers around Basalt. Kayakers love to play during the extended Colorado runoff in spring and summer, whether it’s for a river descent—or playboating and surfing on the waves at the new Basalt Whitewater Park.

    The Basalt water feature is on the Roaring Fork River, a quarter-mile upstream from its confluence with the Fryingpan River. It has two features, each with a calmer pool just downstream. The first is for advanced paddlers, the lower feature is gentler and geared to intermediate boaters.

    Depending upon the flows, the season, and the waterway you choose to run, rapids range from Class II to Class IV on the Roaring Fork, Colorado and Fryingpan Rivers.

    Expert guides and outfitters can consult on trip conditions and equipment. And if you’re a novice or intermediate kayaker, we recommend a guided tour.

    Check out these sources for gear rentals and guides:
    Aspen Whitewater Rafting
    Aspen Kayak & SUP Academy
    Blue Sky Adventures
    Elk Mountain Whitewater

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