When I packed my bags and moved west to Denver, I firmly expected to leave my nine-year rowing and coaching career behind. I missed the long, rhythmic workouts and the satisfying splash of my oar hitting the water, but assumed that a water-based sport couldn’t survive in the bone-dry west. Little did I know that the Denver area is actually home to two public rowing clubs that make great use of our reservoirs.

The Rocky Mountain Rowing Club and Boulder Community Rowing offer a range of rowing programs for novices, intermediate rowers, and seasoned oarspeople. Former rowers can recapture their glory days—or just keep fit with an old-favorite sport. Locals looking for a new way to enjoy the outdoors can learn the basics in a Learn-to-Row course, offered by both programs during the summer.

Why row? Rowing combines cardio and strength training for a fantastic full-body, low-impact workout. And competitive athletes will enjoy the summer regattas, where they can race head-to-head against other rowers.

Grab an oar: The Rocky Mountain Rowing Club rows weekday mornings on the Cherry Creek Reservoir. This summer’s Learn-to-Row programs are booked, but check in regularly for cancellations or sign up for next year. Boulder Community Rowing spends weekday and weekend mornings on the Boulder Reservoir. Their remaining Learn-to-Row sessions are July 12-14 and August 23-25. Parents can also check out the Mile High Rowing Club, a youth-only program for high-school aged kids.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock