Colorado is home to nearly 160 named rivers, many of which have some perfect stretches for a relaxing float, but the state also hosts a number of water parks with lazy rivers too. These rivers tend to have a nice, slow current that’s just fast enough so that guests can glide gently along the water, lounging on a raft or in a tube. Here we’ll provide you with fun lazy river options that are both natural and man-made with something for just about everyone.
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Water World, Federal Heights (Nearby Hotels)
Water World is considered the biggest and one of the best water parks in the entire country. You can float forever along its lazy river’s never-ending current, soaking up the nearly always sunny skies the area is known for. Not only does it have a main lazy river, but a mini one for tiny tots. There are lots of exciting rides too, in fact, you can even travel in time within the caverns of attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Lost River of the Pharaohs. There are two wave pools, a Zoomerang with steep walls and a heart-pounding plunge, a new interactive Warp Speed slide. A Spacebowl for whirling around, white waters to brave, and all sorts of areas that are just for kids, like the interactive Fun H2Ouse.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Springs (Nearby Hotels)
For an all-in-one water park vacation destination, Glenwood Springs is ideal. The Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is near Hotel Glenwood Springs, allowing visits to enjoy the huge indoor waterpark and then hop over for a more unique adventure. The main pool is huge, with 1,600-square-feet for splashing and swimming, and there’s also a twisting slide that’s sure to bring lots of thrills. For the smaller kids there’s a zero-depth entry pool with a fantastic slide and a tree fountain. When it’s time for a break, relax in the soothing waters of the hot tub while soaking your cares away.
Pirates Cove Family Fun Aquatic Center, Littleton (Nearby Hotels)
Pirate’s Cove just south of Denver in Littleton offers a wide range of activities and rides for the entire family. Hop aboard a tube and float down the lazy river, whiz down three thrilling slides, and swim and splash in the massive Bay pool that has a drop slide and a diving board. The huge Lagoon Leisure Pool is great for the little ones and the giant play structures are sure to keep them entertained for hours. With a zero-depth, even the smallest tots can enjoy the area. The park even has a beach for playing in the sand and building sand castles as well as fun water features and soakers.
Elitch Gardens, Denver (Nearby Hotels)
Elitch Gardens is one of Colorado’s most popular amusement parks, located right in downtown Denver, and it not only offers thrill rides, but a massive water park. Open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, adrenaline-seekers can experience the high speeds of Acapulco Cliff Dive, a 65-foot-tall ride. Pick up a tube and rocket down the Gangplank slides or the CannonBall Falls sides, swirl down into the giant bowl of the RipQurl and take an exciting raft ride down SlideZilla. When you’re ready for a break from the heart-pounding thrills, you can drift down the lazy river, Castaway Creek. There’s also the Commotion Ocean wave pool and Hook’s Lagoon, for the kids, that includes a five-story treehouse and slides meant for the pint-sized.
Clear Creek Whitewater Park, Clear Creek (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re looking for a natural river close to Denver, Clear Creek is arguably the best. The most easily accessible whitewater rafting destination from the city, it also offers plenty of calm water for “lazy river” floating in a tube or a raft for a quarter-mile of fun in the water. It’s a great place for groups or families who are looking for a variety of experiences with both rapids for thrill-seekers and smoother sections for gentle, family-friendly rides.
Yampa River, Steamboat Springs (Nearby Hotels)
Steamboat Springs may be best known for its fantastic winter skiing and boarding with snow-covered powdery slopes, but when it comes to outdoor adventure, it offers just as much in the summer. One of the favorite local activities is to take a ride down the gentle Yampa River, a journey that can be enjoyed for as long as three hours. Experience a different perspective from downtown Steamboat on a comfy inner tube while splashing in the refreshing waters. It can be as short, or as long, as you’d like with lots of fun stops along the way, including parks, bars and restaurants. There are small rapids, standing waves and rock features, though it’s very family ride and easy to maneuver.
Cache La Poudre River (Nearby Hotels)
The top all-natural lazy river in Northern Colorado is the Cache La Poudre River near Fort Collins. While it’s popular for whitewater, there are lots of calm stretches for floating in a tube like the stretch that runs from the Filter Plant to Picnic Rock. If you want to take on challenging rapids, sign up for a guided tour and you can hit rapids that are aimed for the intermediate and advanced rafters as well as kayakers.
Boulder Creek, Boulder (Nearby Hotels)
Boulder Creek is a tubing hotspot for the many college students and other young adults in the area during the summer months. It runs right through town and was named one of the top 10 tubing rivers in the country by Men’s Journal. Rent a tube in town, available from several locations like White Water Tube Co., and then enjoy gliding downstream. The water is cold and the current can be a little fast so it’s best not to wear flip flops or bikinis if you don’t want to lose them. And, avoid going during spring runoff, before mid-June, when the water is at its highest and most dangerous.