Kayaking Lake Granby, Columbine Bay

Kayaking Lake Granby to Columbine Bay
Columbine Bay, Lake Granby

It has been two summers since we had kayaked Lake Granby and back to Columbine Bay, the portion of the Colorado River that spills in from Shadow Mountain Lake. So, we were pretty excited to get back there again. For us kayaking Lake Granby offers a multitude of adventures. From the Stillwater Boat Ramp we launched our Perception Cove 14.5 Tandem Kayak, also know as the “The Big Mango” into Lake Granby. Unlike the previous trip, this time we had started our paddling journey toward the southern end of Cutthroat Trout Bay, which is near the pump station at the north end of Gull Island. Stella wanted to paddle in that direction since we had never kayaked along that area of the shoreline. 

We continued paddling toward the southern end of Rainbow Island, and skirted the shores Shelter Island. We could have easily spent a more time exploring the waters from the pump station to Columbine Bay, but billowy clouds had begun to build along the western ridge. At that point we were four miles into our adventure, paddling to the east of Harvey Island. Once past it, we had entered Columbine Bay on the western shore.

Paddling north along the western shoreline, you will find that it is covered with rugged sagebrush (the opposite side of Columbine Bay is covered with trees) for about a mile or so. Beyond that, the shoreline takes on a forest-like appearance, and is dotted with rudimentary campsites, where one could either spend the day, or hang out over night. 

Pushing further on into the bay, we had finally reached the bouy, which marks the ’no wake’ area of the bay. At the end of the bay is the river and we had hoped to paddle as far up the Colorado River as possible but there were too many people in the river and along the shoreline fishing. We did not want to interrupt, so we turned around and paddled along the eastern shoreline of the bay.

The eastern shore has plenty of areas to explores, and shares the shoreline with the Continental Divide Trail. It is there where Stella and I discussed the possibility of kayaking and camping along the shore overnight, which would play into a grander adventure of kayaking several days in a row, and paddling over seventy miles. Stay tuned for that!

We continued paddling past Columbine Creek and Twin Creek, which were both still emptying into the bay from the plentiful winter runoff. Now we headed towards Rocky Point at the southern end of the bay, before setting our sights on the western end of Harvey Island. To this moment we have paddled about eleven miles.

Passing the western end of Harvey Island, we headed into open water for the remainder of the kayak trek. And then, without warning, the weather suddenly shifted. Straight line winds had come pouring across the lake from the north/northeast. Battling both the wind and the washtub-effect waves, we were stuck in the middle of a precarious situation, not to mention the wakes from the boats racing past us, who also were aiming for shore. Needless to say, we paddled very fast and very hard from that point on to keep us upright, and get us back to shore.

Back on land, our paddling adventure was just shy of fifteen miles and we enjoyed the paddle from start to finish, despite the rough conditions on the way back. The next goal would be to paddle to the Arapaho Bay campground from the Stillwater Boat Ramp, and then spend the night ashore before paddling back the next day. Stay tuned… As always, we look forward to our next adventure kayaking Lake Granby.

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