When is the Colorado rafting season anyway?

Our rafting season generally runs from early May to the beginning of September.  Temperatures begin to rise towards the end of April and the warmer weather causes the snow in the mountains to melt.  This, in turn, makes the rivers rise providing the start of the rafting season.

The faster the snow melts, the faster the river rises until it peaks in mid-June.  As the mountains run out of snow, the rivers begin to drop.

An approximate rafting season timeline:

April: A few trips start to open.  Low water levels mean very mild whitewater.  Variable weather with temperatures ranging from 30’s to 50’s.
Early-Mid May: Most trips open.  Water levels start to rise, which means trips will start to have more whitewater.  Weather continues to be variable with temperatures ranging from 30’s to 50’s.
Late May to Early June:  Days become warmer and sunnier.  Days reach 60’s and sometimes 70’s.  Water levels rise quickly and provide exciting whitewater.
Mid-Late June: Temperatures reach 60’s to mid-70’s.  Most days are sunny.  Water levels reach their peaks with plenty of exciting whitewater.  Some of the more advanced sections may be restricted for safety.  Some of the smaller rivers and milder sections will have the best whitewater at this time of year.
Early-Mid July: Highs reach high 70’s to low 80’s.  The sun shines for the majority of the day, although a brief, mid-afternoon cloudburst will occur most days.  Rivers will start to level off and provide fun, consistent whitewater.  Some smaller rivers may become too low to run.
Late July to Early August: Temperatures are high 70’s to mid 80’s.  Sunny mornings and evenings with brief showers mid-afternoon.  Water levels begin to drop, providing milder whitewater.  Smaller rivers become too low to run.
Mid- Late August: Highs remain in the 70’s and 80’s.  Days stay mostly sunny with a brief afternoon shower.  Water levels continue to drop.  Many sections become too low to run and some rivers close all together.
September: All but a couple of trips close.  Mostly sunny.  Temperatures cool off with highs in the 50’s and 60’s.

Keep in mind that Mother Nature can be unpredictable.  To get the best idea of how our rivers are running, give us a call.  We’d love to chat with you about our trips and help you plan your dream vacation!