As river surfing begins to really take off across Colorado with more waves coming online every summer, a local wave might be around the corner from you. We are lucky to have two tremendous whitewater parks a short distance from Denver. River Run Park is located in Sheridan, just outside the city. This park is as close to a beach as you can find here in Denver and it does not disappoint! The second spot that we have chosen is also just a short drive from downtown in Historic Golden, Colorado. Located on what many consider the epicenter of whitewater on the front range, don’t miss this picturesque mountain surf spot.
The obvious first choice is River Run Park located just outside of Downtown Denver. Featuring three unique waves manufactured specifically for river surfing, this is a can’t miss spot for river surfers of any skill level! The three waves, Chiclets, Benihana’s, and Nikki’s progress in difficulty in that order. Located the furthest downstream is Chichlets. This is a great wave to get your feet back under you. This wave features a wider mouth that flows less aggressively than the other two waves in the park. Chichlets is best for high buoyancy surfboards.
Benihana’s (featured in the image above) is widely considered the best wave in the park for skilled surfers and is located upstream, but within earshot of Chicklets. Benihana’s features a wave shaper which can be modified based on the flow to optimize for the best wave shape. Due to the high velocity of the water, short boards thrive here and many surfers have great success using a wake surf board.
Nikki Six wave is located about a half mile upstream from the other two waves.. This wave is a shallower, wider, and faster wave compared to Benihana’s. You can have some incredible rides here, but it is particularly important to wear protective gear with the shallow nature of this wave. The Protec Ace Wake Helmit is an excellent waterproof helmet that will provide the necessary protection while river surfing.
The community at river run park has grown into a tight knit squad of like-minded Denverites trying to get their surf on. Don’t forget to check out the rules they have posted here.
Widely considered the whitewater mecha of the front range, Golden’s Clear Creek gives kayakers, tubers, and surfers great access to a world class river just outside of Denver. Due to its popularity, you can expect to share the river with other recreators, but Golden Whitewater Park is worth checking out. There are four surfable holes throughout the park, but I am going to highlight our two favorites below.
Bleacher Hole is the primary spot for surfing as it is located right in front of the main parking lot. This spot is non-exclusive and is rideable on almost any board. We find this hole to be most accommodating when the flow is between 80 – 110 cfs. During the higher runoff part of the year, typically towards the end of June, this hole can become less shapely and harder to ride. We recommend riding here as early as May and then again once the runoff begins to dwindle towards the end of July.
Bingo Hole is located further downstream towards Coors Brewery and offers rideable conditions even at low river levels. Rideable below 60 cfs, this spot can keep you shredding deep into August. Since the water level is often lower at Bingo, we recommend riding an inflatable or durable board that can handle some rock encounters. The Softech Mason Twinn is a great option!
Be sure to grab a bite to eat after your session at The Golden Mill which has a wide array of delicious food and drinks (including a self-pour wall) and is located on Clear Creek next to The Ford Street Bridge.It’s the perfect spot for live music after a float on the river!
To find accurate information about the cfs, visit the US Geological Survey for Clear Creek here.
We hope that you have a great time surfing around Denver! Send us photos on instagram @Colorad_bros for a feature on our socials!