Water droplets drip off the paddle and tickle my feet, the sun kisses my face and I inhale deeply. Crisp morning air reveals my exhale and echoes my quiet strokes through its stillness. Any day started on a paddleboard is undoubtedly therapeutic but nothing livens my soul more than paddle boarding in Golden BC.
Although the brisk morning air is short lived as the sun quickly warms the valley, it wakes my mind and the serene surroundings steal my attention. Whether I’m in a peaceful alpine lake or deep in the valley paddling one of the lively rivers, Golden’s visual offerings are the highlight of any paddling exploration here. Glacial hued water and jagged peaks rich in mountain culture and wildlife create endless curiosity.
Whether you avidly travel with your stand up paddle board in search of new destinations or would like to give it a whirl for the first time Golden is the perfect place. Choose your sup location based on vistas or thrill, guided or unguided and on your own board or a rental – there’s really no excuse not to hop on a board here.
Kinbasket Lake: located just west of town this is an enormous lake that would take days, maybe even weeks to see it all. For you multiday suppers you’ll enjoy exploring the 260km of the lake. For day trippers, set up camp on one of the marked beaches and enjoy your time on and off the board while soaking in those famous Rocky Mountain Views.
Gorman Lake: An inflatable sup in a pack is a must for this 4km one-way hike and the reward is absolutely worth it. The sparkling turquoise Gorman Lake shimmers in any weather and the towering peaks aren’t that far away for you multi sporters who crave a scramble - it is certainly an option to peak shop from your board on the lake and then paddle to your choose route up.
Emerald Lake: A popular destination just east of town lays Emerald Lake. Don’t worry, you won’t find the crowds on the water but you’ll most definitely find a new perspective of the iconic Emerald Lake Lodge and Burgess Mountain. Warm up with a tea after you paddle in the lodge and dive in the deep mountain culture strung throughout the building and lining the bookshelves.
Reflection Lake: Well known for its prime bird viewing opportunities, in the early season Reflection Lake also makes for a wildlife-filled paddle. Mind the water levels as the wetland area can snag your fin in the later summer months.
Cedar Lake: This location is prime for a multi-sport day. Above the lake lies Kicking Horse Mountain Resort for hiking and biking but even more convenient are the Moonraker bike trails accessed right from the Cedar Lake parking lot. The sandy beach and rope swing along with the access to hiking and biking trails make paddling on Cedar Lake the perfect family base camp for a day of proper Golden exploration!
Kicking Horse River: A wild ride that should probably be tackled with a guide unless you’re an advanced paddler that can handle rapids on a board. If it’s in your wheelhouse this paddle has many different sections that are accessible will unveil some amazing visual treats with a large dose of adrenaline. Make sure to do your research before even dipping your toe in the water.
Columbia River: Long and winding the Columbia has a wide variety of water terrain to see. The main channel travels from south to north up the valley making it a perfect directional paddle, just make sure to have a shuttle vehicle ready. South of Golden sits the Columbia wetlands, in the spring the wetlands swell up offering a smooth float with big Purcell and Rocky Mountain views giving you the impression that you are on a lake.
Blaeberry River: It’s upper waters are the most friendly and arguably the most jaw-dropping, but should still only be attempted by a seasoned whitewater paddler. The valley widens near the Mummery Glacier Hiking trail and up towards Howe’s Pass making the meandering headwaters of the Blaeberry a stunning destination for a SUP with lots of camping options nearby.
Mistaya Lodge made all of my wildest stand-up paddle boarding dreams come true! With extra space on the helicopter, the crew agreed to let me fly a paddleboard rented from Higher Ground Sports up for a week of alpine lake filled stand up paddle boarding. Starting will the gorgeous Mistaya Lake right outside the lodge was the perfect place for an evening paddle after a hike and before a sauna. A few days we hiked the board to the nearby lakes, most notably the Wildcat Glacier Lake and my-oh-my was it memorable. With the large hanging glacier overhead, the trickling waterfalls at my side all while paddling in natures infinity pool – pinch me! This epic experience is one that I hope all passionate suppers have the opportunity to experience in their lifetime – beyond magical.
RENT + TOURS
- Higher Ground Sports: rentals, clinics, lessons.
- Alpine Rafting Guides: guided experiences with rentals
- Golden River Adventures: guided experiences with rentals
For more information, the crew at Higher Ground Sports are a great resource for local sup spots and gear inquiries not to mention they’ve got all the maps and dry bags you might need for your Golden sup adventure! Happy paddling friends!