Mountains and Airplanes
I traveled to Denver last weekend for a family wedding and even though it was a short trip, I just had to find somewhere nearby for a little SUP. Through my research, I found a few state parks that were close to downtown, but I really wanted a nice view. I was in Denver for a girls trip in May and we went to Cherry Creek State Park and the views were just alright - not really all that spectacular. I contacted my cousins that are from Denver and they suggested Evergreen Lake or Chatfield State Park.
Evergreen Lake is in the mountains, but about 45 minutes from our hotel and none of us had cars. There was also a huge bike race in town closing roads all over the city, so it was a bit of a risk to catch a rideshare into the mountains AND hope we could just as easily get a rideshare back in time for a 1:30 wedding! The trip was very short, so the only time we had was Saturday morning. Most of my family was staying at the same hotel, but my cousin and his 8 year old son were the only takers to join me - yay! We called an Uber and I was getting a little nervous about the logistics of getting to and from Evergreen, so I suggested maybe we should go somewhere closer - Chatfield State Park. Our ride arrived and the Uber driver had a lukewarm reaction to Chatfield - "It's a nice resevoir", he said half-heartedly. We knew by the sound of his voice it wasn't going to be all the impressive and we told him about Evergreen and he definitely agreed that would be a better option more in the mountains and that we shouldn't have any trouble getting a ride home, so we switched back to Evergreen Lake.
When we arrived at Evergreen Lake, there was a nice trail around the lake that we enjoyed until we approached the SUP rental area. The Fall season hours had already begun so rentals weren't available for another half hour at 10:00 - and there was already a line of people waiting! We rented paddle boards for $20 an hour (so cheap) and got on the water. My cousin had been stand up paddle boarding a couple times before, but my 8 year old second cousin had never been! I was super excited to teach him and share my love of SUP with someone new! He did awesome and by the end of our 45 minutes on the water, he was rocking his board and having fun. There were many paddle boarders on the water, so if you head out to Evergreen Lake for a little mountain lake SUP, arrive early! We had no trouble getting an Uber back to the hotel and made the wedding on time.
One of the reasons my trip to Denver was so short was because I booked a 6 am flight back to Chicago so I could be on the water in the afternoon for the Chicago Air and Water Show. It's one of my favorite weekends of the year and a few years ago, I discovered how amazing it is to be on a paddle board when the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels go buzzing around the city and over the lake. This year, I was in Monroe Harbor for the Thunderbirds. They didn't fly as low over the water like the Blue Angels last year, but I still enjoyed a pretty great show.
Several SUP rental companies rent paddle boards for the air and water show at Ohio Street Beach, Diversey Harbor and Montrose Beach. All are great options for viewing the show!