If you’re the type that has always wanted to pick up whitewater kayaking as a hobby, Ogden is a great place to get into the sport. There are roll classes taught through the WSU Outdoor Program, and even in the winter you can make your roll bombproof and meet up with other whitewater paddlers by playing Indoor Kayak Polo at the Marshall White Center.
Ogden was the first city in Utah to have a professionally designed and built Kayak Park. It can be reached by driving west from the downtown on 24th Street over the rail yard and offers a great place to experience hole surfing for the first time.
Once you’re ready to hit the water, the rapids in and around Ogden offer a full range of difficulty levels. You’ll want to go with someone experienced until you’ve developed the ability to recognize and respond to potential river hazards like trees and dangerous hydrolics. You can meet up with other paddlers through the Utah Whitewater Club. They have an active online forum and also plan beginning river trips in the spring and summer.
Recommended sections of the Weber River include:
Recommended sections of the Ogden River include:
For an activity you’re sure to remember for a long time, nothing beats a leisurely paddle on one of Ogden’s nearby reservoirs. You can rent a kayak from the Wilderness Recreation Center or from Canyon Sports. Be sure to get a personal flotation device (life jacket) too.
Just a few miles up Ogden Canyon lies Pineview Reservoir. To avoid the motorboats you’ll want to hit the lake early on a weekday morning during the summer months or plan your excursion during the off-peak months like October, November, March, and April. A good spot to put on the water is Windsurfer Beach on the west side since there is a free parking area and beach there. From there, you can take a short trip southwest along the shore toward the spillway where things are quiet, or you can opt for a longer trip north along the west side of the reservoir or maybe even a full circumnavigation of the lake if you want to make a day of it.
If you continue east past Pineview Reservoir you’ll come to Causey Reservoir. It's a beautiful lake with cliff walls and secluded canyons. Motorized boats are not allowed on Causey Reservoir so it might make for a more peaceful trip. Late in the summer, the water level of the lake drops and it can be tricky to get your boat to the water because of mud and rocks, so plan your outing in the summer or spring. You can carry your boat down the embankment at the South side of the lake or scramble it down the rocks near the spillway. Explore the "fingers" of the lake and take a lunch to eat on a secluded shore.
Kayaking in the Pool
A swimming pool is a great place to become familiar with a kayak. The water is warm and calm, letting you concentrate on rolling technique without worrying about what is coming around the next bend of the river. If you’d like a taste of what it will take to do an Eskimo roll, you can take a rolling class from the Wilderness Recreation Center and come play kayak polo at the Marshall White Center during the winter months.
Kayak polo is easy to learn and a fun way to build paddling confidence. If you don’t have a kayak, come anyway since there are a few boats at the center you might be able to borrow. Each kayak polo session starts out with some open pool time when you can practice your roll or meet other boaters, then two goals are suspended several feet off the water and the game begins.