White Water Rafting in Colorado
AUTHORED BY: Eva Lambert
This content was created by a Denver Style Magazine Contributor. The opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of Denver Style Magazine.
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Colorado is one of the best states for whitewater rafting. Almost every big city/town has a river nearby to raft. To name a few:
- Fort Collins/Poudre River
- Denver/Clear Creek, Platte River
- Canyon City/Big Horn Canyon, Royal Gorge
- Vail/Eagle River
- Glenwood Springs/Shoshone Rapids
- North of Silverthorne/Blue River
- Kremmling Area/Upper Colorado River, Gore Canyon
- Durango/Animas River
I’ve been a whitewater rafting guide going on 10 years and it’s one of the best outdoor adventure communities I’ve ever been a part of. I went on my first rafting trip back in 2006 on Clear Creek located in Idaho Springs, Colorado. While rafting the creek, everyone in the boat and myself had to swim to shore. I should preface that, an unexpected “out of boat experience”, does not occur every rafting trip. Yet, from time to time it does happen. After the exhilarating experience, I was hooked. I went through Raft Guide Training with Mile Hi Rafting and have worked as a white water rafting guide ever since. If adrenaline adventures isn't enough, the river community is the second half of why it's so easy to keep coming back every year for more amazing adventures. The river community has become my family and they are people I look forward to catching up with, running more wild rivers with and reminiscing all over again every summer.
What rafting trip should I take and when should I go?
Rapids are rated on a scale of I – VI (V being the highest and most difficult section of rapids). Beginner stretches are usually Class III, Intermediate Class IV and Advanced Class IV+, V. Each company uses the same class system (in Colorado) yet can structure the rafting ability levels slightly differently. If you’re not sure which level would be best for you, ask the company you chose and they can help you decide which trip to go on.
When to go is a tricky questions for Colorado because Colorado springs dictate when the rivers will flow. If Colorado has a warm spring, rafting season will start early. Most years, run-able months for Colorado rivers are around May, June, July, August and September. This changes per river too.
Interested in Rafting this Summer?
Clear Creek is a great option if you’re wanting to stay near the Denver area, just 30 min. west on I-70 rafting through the quaint town of Idaho Springs. The creek is action packed class I - IV with 2-3 hour raft trips, half days and full day options. To book a trip contact Mile Hi Rafting 303-567-0717.
Arkansas River located in sunny Buena Vista, Colorado. The Arkansas is a great river with an overnight rafting option. Browns Canyon Class III, the Numbers section Class IV and Pine Creek V. To book a trip contact AVA 1-800-370-0581 or Independent Whitewater 719-539-7737.
If you’re looking for the ultimate multi-day raft trip, consider The Grand Canyon. Outdoor Unlimited offers 5, 6, or 7 days on the upper trip; 8 or 9 days on the lower trip; and 13, 14, or 15 days on the full trip. Outdoor Unlimited 1-800-370-058.