For those looking for a simple introduction to stand-up paddleboarding, flatwater kayaking, or windsurfing, Big Soda Lake is an excellent choice. Though the lake doesn’t allow motorized watercraft and is situated adjacent to a noisy highway, it’s a great place to spend a hot afternoon if you don’t feel like driving too far out of Denver.
From Memorial to Labor Day paddleboats, canoes, kayaks, sailboards and paddleboards are available for rent, and you’ll hardly see a group hanging out on the sandy beach area without one. Be sure to contact the Soda Lake Water Ski School for details on rentals. The beach can get a bit crowded, but there’s plenty of space for all watercraft to move freely. If you’re looking for some motorized boating fun, Little Soda Lake allows private boats and even hosts a water skiing school during the summertime.
Big Soda Lake sits within the Bear Creek Lake Park, and views of the rolling Rocky Mountain Foothills hardly get better. The iconic Red Rocks Ampitheater is also visible from the lake. In order to accommodate the crowds, well-maintained bathrooms and a concession stand are available, and you’ll usually spot a ranger walking or biking around to ensure the safety of the park goers and to answer questions.
Even though the park is extremely well-loved and used often, a remarkable array of wildlife calls it home. The ecology of this small area is impressively varied as well—high prairie, wetland and riparian ecosystems are represented and host over 150 different species of birds including great blue herons, double-crested cormorants, woodpeckers, magpies, and an array of owls and hawks. Mammals typically spotted around the park include mule deer, beaver, rabbit, prairie dogs, and the occasional coyote.
Feeling like this is something you'd like to wake up to? Indian Paintbrush Campground is right down the road.