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Old 07-22-2005   #1
funkins's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 438
Best Beginner Play Spot???

I'm a rookie , just wondering where the best play/practice spot is for a new paddler (in the Denver/Boulder/Golden area). Any inputs?


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Old 07-22-2005   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Denver confluence park. The waves aren't great until you get to 200 cfs, but it's a nice scene. The small waves, eddies, and small pools are good for beginner practice. Lot's of stuff you can do, even at low water. It's a good place to turn a pool roll to a combat roll.

Now that I said the magic words "Denver confluence park", stand back and watch the knee jerk comments begin.

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Old 07-22-2005   #3
placerville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 732
...just remember the antibiotics
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Old 07-22-2005   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Water level dependent...

Both Confluence and Golden are great to learn on. I have been learning myself at both places. I would recommend going to both and trying to play in as many features as you feel comfortable with. Each wave or hole will have different entrance and exit possibilities, different amounts of retentiveness etc. Playing around in as many different spots really helps build skills in my mind. I found that I could figure out one hole or wave, and then do nothing at the next until I got used to the new feature. The more features you try the better you will get. Just go and watch how other boaters enter the features and try to hang on for the ride. The bottom hole at confluence is probably the most forgiving as it ends up in a big pool that is swimmer friendly. If you swim at Golden, you sometimes have to chase your boat for a while as the current moves pretty quick. Also some of the holes at Golden have more turbulence below them than confluence.

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2005   #5
Poison Slingin'
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 48
If your willing to travel a bit the lower hole in Salida is probably one of the best beginer play spots anywhere. It's at a good level right now and there is a sweet paddle shop and liquor store right next to it.....
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Old 07-23-2005   #6
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 122
I like the St Vrain play park in Golden. Sure it's low right now, but there is still some play to be found as long as you're not lookin to do loops and cartwheels. I am a class 3 boater and I just started playing this year.... There are 2 nice friendly easy waves in the play park at this level and then downstream the black bear hole is great too... (I know a lot of people will disagree with me on the minimum recommended flows on the st. vrain, but I've run it this low before and had a great time!)

On clear creek there is a REALLY easy little glassy wave just below the putin. It's not a man-made drop, just a little 6" wave that will hold a boat. I like it For a more difficult wave that is not as difficult of a swim as the play park the library hole on clear creek is nice right now (near the washington st bridge)... you have plenty of time to get to shore before the next drop, and the river is moving slower down there too!

In case no one has told you yet we have a group of beginner-intermediate boaters that paddles together all the time... we have brand new boaters up to people who are comfortable on class 3+ stuff, working on class 4. Some have combat rolls, some don't. the website is and there's almost 200 of us right now!!!!!! People from our list plan trips to clear creek play park all the time.

Be ready for a barrage of e-mails in your inbox if you opt for the "individual e-mails" option!!!!

See you on the river!
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Old 07-23-2005   #7
ski/kayak bum
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 460
st. vrain in golden??? i think you're talking about lyons but correct me if i'm wrong....

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Old 07-23-2005   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 122
oops I did mean Lyons, thanks for catching that

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