As we near the end of the warmer weather in Colorado and prep our ski gear for the winter, the whitewater available for rafting becomes scarce in the state.  Most rivers here rely on winter’s snow melt for strong whitewater and raftable water levels.  After all the warm weather in June and July has pushed through the snowpack, we are left with natural flows on our rivers.  Don’t let this get you down – AVA still has an option for those wanting to get out on the river in October, and the river is one of the best places to experience Colorado’s fall foliage. Learn more about river conditions and flow on our current river conditions page.

The Colorado River

Colorado River’s History

Originating in Rocky Mountain National Park on La Poudre Pass, the Colorado River forms from the Continental Divide and begins to make its way southwest through the state towards Utah.  This 1,450 mile long river spans across five U.S. states before crossing the border into Mexico.  Some notable features along the Colorado River include Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and the mighty Grand Canyon. !

Colorado River

Colorado River Rafting Options in October

Upper Colorado Near Kremmling

Whether you’re looking for a scenic float, family friendly rafting, or a fly-fishing trip, this stretch of the Colorado River, from Pumphouse to Radium and/or Rancho del Rio, hosts popular half and full day trips during the month of October.  The evening temperatures drop to frosty levels at this time of year, but overnight rafting trips in this area are common among private boaters too.

Shoshone Section Near Glenwood Springs

The Shoshone Section of the Colorado River is less likely to run to the end of October.  Normally the best rafting on the Shoshone would be mid-summer, but on a good water year you may be able to get out on the river further into the fall season, even though the water levels will be lower.

Read more about what to expect when rafting the Colorado River in October.

How to Prepare for an October Rafting Trip

With the unpredictability of Colorado’s weather during the fall season, the day of your rafting trip could be snowy and 30 degrees or 70 and sunny, and it is important to be prepared for every type of weather when adventuring through the Colorado Rockies in a shoulder season. Before rafting with AVA, read our guide for how to come prepared for your rafting trip.

rafting trip

What to Pack for a Day Rafting Trip

  • Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses.  Even if the temperature is lower, the sun is strong at this elevation.
  • Avoid wearing cotton.  When cotton gets wet, it doesn’t dry quickly, so if it’s cooler outside it will make you cold.  Any clothing you have on should be athletic material.
  • As for shoes, you could normally wear adventure sandals but may want to reconsider for raft trips in the fall.  Between colder water temperatures and lukewarm daytime highs, purchasing water shoes or wearing old tennis shoes on the raft will at least keep your feet a little less exposed.
  • Utilize a wetsuit and/or splash jacket.  On trips with AVA Rafting, these items are included in your trip. If you’re used to warmer climates or you’re rafting on a chillier day, be sure to inquire about wearing a wetsuit or splash jacket when you get to our outpost.

Fall in Colorado

Commercial Versus Private Rafting Trip

Book a commercial trip, and you’ll receive all necessary gear, with a knowledgeable guide ready to lead you on your river journey. Choose to rent gear for a private trip and float or paddle downstream at your own leisure. Either way, AVA’s got you covered.

Guided Rafting Trips on the Colorado River

  1. ½ Day Scenic Float Trip
    Spend the morning or the afternoon on the river with AVA.  The time commitment for our ½ day scenic float trip is about 3.5 hours with 2 hours spent on the water. 
  2. Full Day Scenic Float Trip
    If you’re making the drive up to Kremmling, you might as well commit the entire day to a rafting excursion.  Not only will you spend up to 5 hours on the water, but you’ll have plenty of time to sunbathe, relax, and even jump from jump rock on AVA’s full day scenic float trip. 
  3. Inflatable Kayaks or Stand Up Paddle Boards
    If you’re looking to up the intensity of these Class II rapids, you can take on the river in an inflatable kayak or on a stand up paddle board

AVA rafts seen through van window

Private Rafting Trips on the Colorado River

Maybe you just need someone to take care of the groover situation for your private overnight rafting trip on the Colorado, or you need the whole lineup of equipment to rent for a day or two.  AVA has options available for you and your crew to get you out on the river. And to keep your adventure going after your rafting excursion, read more about where to experience Colorado’s fall leaves.

Book your guided rafting trip or gear today, and get your October raft trip started!