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Fun on the Water for All Ages

Sparkling, mountain lakes and tree-lined, winding rivers provide the perfect settings for exploring the Ridgway area by raft or kayak and cooling off on hot summer days! Nearby lakes provide peaceful locations for a stand-up paddle board or canoe session with stunning views of the San Juan and Cimarron Peaks. Paddle sport rentals are available by the hour at Ridgway State Park.

Spring snowmelt from high in the San Juan Mountains brings increased water flows and the thrills of rushing rivers, enjoyed by rafters, kayakers, and other water recreation buffs May through August. Late summer and autumn offer reflections of colorful leaves while enjoying a relaxing stream-side picnic, boating, or paddle boarding in the midday sun.

“I love the juxtaposition that Ridgway has in the region – not a resort town, not a service center, but just the perfect balance of livable community and small-town character. It’s easy to access all the amenities in the region, but small enough to have its own personality. I also appreciate the cultural history and ranching heritage that brings character to the area and helps preserve the vistas and open spaces we all enjoy.”
Tim, RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service Co-Owner

Local’s Tip

Rivers are rated at five difficulty levels based on the water flows and geography such as the elevation change and in-stream obstacles or boulders. Be sure to pick the appropriate river for your activity, experience, and ability level.

RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service

Since 2001, RIGS Fly Shop & Guide Service has offered the finest year-round Fly Fishing Guide Service (Walk Wad...

How to Enjoy Ridgway Like a Local

Residents and businesses take great pride in our community and surrounding open spaces. We invite visitors to consider ways to minimize impacts and maximize local benefits. Traveling responsibly means educating yourself on outdoor recreation best practices, local ethics and community expectations.
  • Know Before You Go
    Be prepared and be informed about your destination.
  • Stick to the Trails
    Protect our natural land￾scapes by staying on the trails and roads.
  • Trash the Trash
    If you pack it in, pack it out.
  • Leave It as You Find It
    Camp in designated areas only.
  • Be Careful with Fire
    Follow seasonal restrictions, and keep campfires small and manageable.
  • Keep Wildlife Wild
    Leash your dogs, pack out waste, and don’t feed wildlife.
  • Share Our Parks & Trails
    Try out the lesser-known paths and sites, and minimize noise.

Be Prepared for Adventure

The San Juan Mountains are a rugged, steep mountain range rising to just over 14,000 feet. These beautiful public lands offer adventures year round. If you are interested in exploring the San Juans, be prepared for challenging terrain that sometimes requires technical expertise and knowledge of the area.

Come prepared by doing research online to find maps, rules and helpful guidance from public agencies and user-generated websites. Utilize local expertise when you get into town by stopping in at our local gear stores. We highly recommend working with our local guide services that employ experts who can help you achieve your goals for world-class recreation. You can also take a course in: backcountry skiing, avalanche safety, rock climbing, ice climbing, and other valuable outdoor skills.