If you’ve been following the news as you plan your Colorado vacation, you may have heard that this year is a drought year. Low snow levels over the winter and minimal rain this summer may have you thinking that there is no whitewater rafting. Think again! While water levels on several rivers are lower than usual, there are still plenty of great options for you and your group. At AVA, we’re still running trips from Class I to Class V. Whether you’re seeking a family float or a high adrenaline adventure, we have the trip for you.
Where can I find the most water?
Due to the size of the river and an upstream dam that allows for the release of more water, the Colorado offers the best river levels this year. We are expecting water levels to be fantastic into early-mid August with some trips running until Labor Day. If you’re looking for a great family option, our Upper Colorado scenic float is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing day on the river. For those wanting to add a little more excitement, our inflatable kayaks, or “duckies,” all you to steer your own individual boats through the mini rapids of the Upper Colorado. Experienced rafters wanting high-adrenaline adventure can take on the Class V+ whitewater of Gore Canyon, scheduled to open on July 27th.
Where can I find the most variety?
The Arkansas River’s levels have recently risen! After several weeks of low water and multiple trip closures, the combination of rain and dam releases has given us consistent flows to offer a wide range of trips. Class III Browns Canyon, Class IV Numbers, and Class V Pine Creek are all running and offering fantastic whitewater! While the rapids are still a little bit milder than in past years, they still provide fun whitewater experiences for all ages and ability levels. We’ll be running select trips on the Arkansas until Labor Day, but the water is at its best right now, so get out there! We are also running our mountaintop zip line tours and rock climbing tours, so you’ll find plenty of activities to fill out a day, a weekend or a whole vacation.
What about rafting near Denver?
We are still running trips on Clear Creek! Water levels are low, so we are making decisions on a day to day basis, and we are continuing to hope that we will get more rain to keep the season going. If you book, expect the beginner section to provide a Class II experience with mild rapids. Expect the intermediate section to provide a few Class III rapids. For more whitewater, consider going to the Arkansas River, the rapids are bigger and the river is running more consistently. Our Idaho Springs outpost will continue to offer mountaintop zip line tours daily through September 3rd and on weekends after September 3rd.
Whether you are planning a rafting trip for tomorrow or for Labor Day weekend, we will have trips to offer. Water levels are going to be lower all summer, though, so the sooner you can get to the river, the better the experience will be. If you have questions about current conditions or anticipated conditions, don’t hesitate to contact our reservations office, where we’ll be happy to help you plan your vacation and decide on the best trip for your group.