There are few things more peaceful than canoeing around a high alpine lake, and we’re so lucky to have such gorgeous ones to choose from in our area. Seriously, some of the photos I take look like stock photos from a travel magazine, and there’s a reason why Piney River Ranch is one of the most in-demand wedding venues in our area even though you have to drive 35 minutes on a dirt road to get there! The views are just stunning!
Things to remember when canoeing is to always bring cash—oftentimes, the locations are more remote and wifi is not reliable. It’s always safer to have cash on hand in case a credit card machine isn’t working to ensure you’re able to go play on the water.
There’s also an opportunity to see wildlife. I’ve actually seen moose from a canoe before and it was an incredible experience! Always remember to leave the wildlife be, and to admire them from afar. Don’t forget, moose can swim!
located at the base of the Gore Range, nestled in the high alpine region is Piney Lake and Piney River Ranch. The ranch itself is a hotspot for weddings, and they also have paddleboards and canoes for rentals in the water. There’s a beach area and a restaurant for dining. Technically you can swim in the water by the beach area, however the high alpine lakes are super cold! Please note, dogs must be on leash at Piney River Ranch. There is a forest service trail, Upper Piney River Falls trail, which begins by their beach if you’re interested in a great hiking opportunity. Click here for info on Upper Piney River Falls Trail!
Sylvan Lake is Eagle County’s own Colorado State Park and is south of the Town of Eagle. It is open year round, and boating is available Memorial Day through Labor Day. Canoes, stand up paddleboards, and kayaks can be rented, and you’re more than welcome to fish if you’d like, too! (Permit required, and can be purchased at the Visitors Center.) Sylvan Lake State Park has lots of other non-water things to do as well, including hiking, biking, and more!
Canoe and kayak rentals at the alpine lakes are first come, first served. At this time, you cannot make advance reservations, and in the middle of this summer this activity can become quite busy. Please ensure you arrive early. Remember, you’ll be driving on dirt roads to access these lakes and even though the drives are gorgeous they can be a little difficult. Ensure your car has 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive as an option, especially if you’re visiting when the weather has been rainy.
While canoeing, wear loose clothing or comfortable clothing—you may be splashed so quick drying is always good. When cotton gets wet, it stays wet for a very long time, so synthetic or athletic materials are recommended. Don’t forget your sunscreen!