Crested Butte SUP Guide

In More Sweat, Summer & Fall by Kryptonite Creative

Stand up paddle boarding or SUP is a relatively new activity that was created in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. The simplicity of standing on a board with a single paddle makes this a great choice for the whole family. With a number of picturesque lakes and rivers in the Crested Butte area, it’s easy to see why SUP is growing in popularity.

Wish you could SUP the river right from your neighborhood? 15 of the best lots close to town are still available in the Aperture neighborhood, with its own river access.


Please be aware of surrounding land near rivers and lakes. Sometimes the land is private property or can be a sensitive habitat that should not be disturbed. Minimize your impact by sticking to established put-ins and take-outs, and be sure to get info from local rental shops on rules and regulations for SUPing in certain areas.


Please be mindful of containing your trash while you float. If there is wind or your board tips, any waste that isn't strapped down will fall into the water and will pollute nearby environments. Please help keep these pristine river environments clean from trash.

  • Remember to never take glass bottles or containers into outdoor areas

Click photos to view gallery

Looking to head out? Below are a number of locations where you can SUP from Gunnison all the way up to Crested Butte.

Location Area Notes  
Emerald Lake Gothic Valley, near Schofield PassStunning lake that sits at 10,400 feet
Lake IrwinKebler PassBeautiful views of Ruby Peak and Mt. Owen
Lost LakeKebler PassHigh alpine lake with camping
Taylor Reservoir Taylor ParkViews of the west facing sides of the Collegiate Peaks
Long Lake Washington GulchPopular swimming spot
Blue Mesa ReservoirGunnisonLargest body of water in Colorado; endless coves to explore
Slate RiverCrested ButteThe winding river that flows through CB. Popular put-ins are at Gunsight bridge and the Town Rec. Path, take out is at Skyland (Brush Creek Road Rec. Path).
Spring Creek Reservoir Taylor Canyon, then left on Spring Creek RoadHigh alpine reservoir offering views of mountains and camping

Click for interactive Google Map

Interactive Google Map

Floating the Slate

There is a voluntary no-float period on the upper Slate River thru 7/15 to protect a critical nesting period for the Great Blue Heron. 

The cattle fence has been put up on the Lower Slate River. This is a barbwire fence. You are welcome to portage around it, or lay flat on your board and float under. Please DO NOT cut the fence, this is to keep the cows safe🐄 🐮 

Do not exit your vessel onto land at any point during the float except for at put-in and take-out locations. The land is private property and leaving your vessel is considered trespassing.

The lower Slate River put-in is by the Town Recreation Path bridge down Butte Ave. The put-in for the Upper Slate (not beginner friendly) is at Gunsight Bridge. The take out for both of these floats is at the Skyland Pedestrian Bridge off of Brush Creek Road and Hwy 135.

The depth of the Slate River declines as the season progresses. Floating the Slate River is not advised after the end of July, although it’s best to check with local rental shops to find out what the depth is before departing.

Rental Shops

Wheelies & Waves

509 Elk Ave, Crested Butte
(970) 349-1491 WebsiteMap

Float Shack

322 Belleview Ave, Suite 204,  Crested Butte
(970) 209-9747 WebsiteMap

Three Rivers Resort

130 County Road 742, Almont, CO 81210
(970) 641-1303WebsiteMap

Featured Neighborhood w/River Access

Aperture Crested Butte
  • Only 15 Homesites Available
  • Walking Distance to Town
  • Build up to 5,000 square feet + accessory
  • Sites from 0.32 to 0.96 Acres (1)

Bluebird Real Estate The Mountain Office • (970) 349-6692 

More Info

The Slate River meandering through your backyard. Magnificent views up Paradise Divide and down the Gunnison Valley. Aperture is the only place where you can enjoy the best of mountain living with the convenience of being located just steps from Crested Butte’s historic downtown.

Scenic River Tours

703 West Tomichi Ave, Gunnison, CO 81230
(970) 641-3131WebsiteMap