The Colorado River is one of the largest and most well-known rivers in the US, but many people ask “Where is the Colorado River located? The answer may surprise you. It starts in Colorado, but it definitely doesn’t end there.  Learn a bit more about the Colorado River, then join us on a scenic float or guided fly-fishing tour out of Kremmling, Colorado.

Boating on the Colorado River

1. The Colorado River is one of the Longest Rivers in the U.S.

It may come as a surprise to some that The Colorado River is quite a lengthy river, flowing for 1450 miles. Passing through California, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, and Colorado, this river winds through 11 different national parks.

Where does the Colorado River start and end? The source of the river starts at La Poudre Pass at 10,184 feet above sea level and drops down through the county, passing through the Grand Canyon and eventually ending in the California Gulch at sea level in Mexico. As it twists and turns through the country, it supplies water to 4 million acres of land.

Colorado River Horseshoe Bend

2. The River Hosts Diverse Wildlife and Plant Life

Due to the expansive amount of land that the Colorado River covers, it passes through diverse terrain, home to unique species of wildlife. If you were to follow the entire Colorado River, you’d be pointing out pine trees and then cacti. Elk, moose, bears and mountain lions can be found in the Colorado region, while mountain sheep and coyotes call the more southern areas home. Many bird species also reside along the different areas the river, varying as the climate changes from coniferous to alpine to arid.

moose in winter on road

3. The Colorado River is a Valuable Resource

The power of this river allows it to be used for many purposes including irrigation, a water source and as a source of power. 40 million rely on the Colorado River for water, and its system irrigates millions of acres, with 75% of the river’s water used for agriculture. With 29 dams, aqueducts and channels the Colorado is used for so much more than just recreation.

Hoover dam, Colorado River

Due to climate change and increasing demand, the Colorado River is often in a state of drought, and currently may be experiencing the driest on record. This drought causes not only environmental consequences, but political and ethical as state officials struggle define how the valuable resource should be split.

4. Recreational Opportunities are Abundant

The river changes from slow moving to faster rapids, allowing for varied recreational activities. Colorado River rafting and kayaking are popular in the narrower regions such as Fisher Towers, Westwater Canyon, Cataract Canyon, and of course, the Grand Canyon. In areas where the water is calmer, visitors can try out stand up paddle boarding, fishing, canoeing and pull-behind boat activities such as wake boarding and water skiing.

Colorado River Rafting

5. The Colorado River Offers Some of the Best Whitewater Rafting

From fly fishing to stand up paddle boarding, the portion of the Colorado River located in Colorado offers exciting whitewater rafting opportunities. The narrower sections of the Colorado create great white-water rafting and kayaking in areas such as Gore Canyon. In the wider, mellower portions of the upper portion of the Colorado River, scenic floats and stand-up paddle boarding are popular.

Read about more of our favorite Colorado rivers, as well as how to choose the perfect river for your trip. View all trips and join us out on the water!