The Top 6 Places to Go White Water Rafting in Colorado
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The Top 6 Places to Go White Water Rafting in Colorado

Colorado Whitewater Adventures

Colorado’s Spring is almost in full swing and you know what that means… It’s time for some rafting! With so many rivers in Colorado to raft, which ones are the best? Some rivers are good for the family, some rivers are for the adrenaline junkies. Every river presents a new journey and challenges, here is a list of 6 of the best rivers to raft in Colorado.

Check out our list for the top places to go whitewater rafting in Colorado:

The Colorado River

 

Fly Fishing Colorado

The Colorado River is a huge river that stretches through seven different states and crosses through 11 different national parks. The most famous part of the river is going to be the stretch in the Grand Canyon, but rafting the Colorado in Colorado is a must. With the class V Gore Canyon section being great for those experienced paddlers looking for excitement! Then after Gore Canyon, it becomes much more mild and is absolutely fantastic for families, especially those with little children. This section is near Kremmling is going to be a class II section with one class III rapid.

Best time to whitewater raft the Colorado River: We recommend rafting on the Colorado River between May and October.

  • The spring will bring less crowds, cooler temperatures, and more wildlife sightings.
  • The summer is a great time because other rivers in the state can begin to close for low or high water. The Colorado will run safely no matter how much water we get.
  • Fall is perfect to see the most beautiful colors and again miss the crowds.

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend this river to people of all ages. If you have young children, this will be a safe and fun option.

  • We can take kids as young as 2 on the Upper Colorado River.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: If you are looking for a more thrilling experience, you can get on a paddle board or a kayak and raft the river next to the raft, and make it more challenging.

The Arkansas RiverArkansas River Rafting

The Arkansas River is one of the most popular places in Colorado to go rafting. The river has amazing views around Browns Canyon, which is the one most rafted white water in the world. Which is a great stretch of water for those with younger kids and beginners. For those looking for a more adventurous time the Numbers and Pine Creek are going to great choices. These sections are located near Buena Vista, CO. In that area you can make it an all-exclusive trip with overnight trips as well as adding a zipline or a rock-climbing session to add more outdoor adventure.

The Arkansas River is one of the most rafted rivers in the world, so it is definitely on the top of our list for the top places to go whitewater rafting in Colorado.

Best time to whitewater raft the Arkansas River: We recommend rafting on the Arkansas River between late April through September.

  • The most optimal time can change from year to year, but typically May, June and July are a great time to raft the Arkansas River.

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend this river to people ages 7+. However, during certain times of the year the minimum ages can be increased to 12 years old or even 15 years old.

  • We recommend rafting this river in May, July, August, and September if you will have children with you.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: If you are looking for a more thrilling experience, there are plenty of sections of the Arkansas for you to raft.

  • June is a good time to raft the Arkansas for those looking for a thrilling experience.

Clear Creek

Clear Creek Whitewater Rafting

For those closer to Denver the Clear Creek is going to be your best bet! It is conveniently located right off of I-70. This stretch of river has something to offer everyone from the youngsters looking to get on the river for the first time should try the Gold Rush 1/3-day trip and those more advanced looking for an adrenaline rush should try the Upper Colorado ½ day or the Lower Canyon ½ day trip. Because of its convenience for Colorado locals and visitors alike it is one of Colorado’s most popular rivers to raft.

Best time to whitewater raft Clear Creek: We recommend rafting Clear Creek between May through September. The best time can change from year to year, but typically May, June and July are a great time to raft Clear Creek Canyon.

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend this river to people ages 6+. However, during certain times of the year the minimum ages can be increased.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: If you are looking for a more thrilling experience, there are plenty of sections of clear creek we recommend for thrill seekers and even class V sections we recommend for experienced rafters.

The Yampa

The Yampa River is another awesome river to raft. It is located in Steamboat Springs and eventually runs through the Dinosaur National Monument. The area is full of dinosaur remains that can be seen everywhere. Another pretty awesome fact about the Yampa is that it is the only free flowing river in Colorado, so it is not obstructed by any dams or diversions. This river has rafting trips for every experience level. You can either take a rafting tour through the Dinosaur National Monument’s canyons or you can go straight through town. Once it gets into the busy season you will want to book ahead for sure.

Best time to whitewater raft Yampa River: We recommend going rafting on the Yampa River between May and June.

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend this river to people ages 7+, and at times it can be ages 12+.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: You will get to enjoy class III and potentially a few class IV rapids.

The Animas

Photo by Mike McBey

If you are visiting the Durango area the Animas River is going to be the river to raft. The Animas is 126 miles long and is a tributary of the San Juan River and the Colorado River. Since the river is ice-free during the winter months, the Animas serves as a major habitat to resident bald eagles. The Animas is great for beginners, families, groups, and those that have rafted before. The ½ day trip is going to be an awesome choice, but if you want to spend more time on the river the ¾ day trip is going to be right up your alley.

Best time to whitewater raft Animas River: We recommend going rafting on the Animas River between May and July

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend this river to people ages 7+, and at times it can be ages 12+.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: There are sections of this river that are great for thrill seekers.

The Roaring Fork River

Last and definitely not least the Roaring Fork River is going to another top choice for rafting in Colorado. It is a great adventure for those visiting Aspen or Carbondale. The main and most awesome portion of this river is the waterfall. It is the state’s rare commercially rafted waterfalls. For those that would like something a bit more tame, just go a bit further downstream. Once you get lower the water is more mild, you can even kayak.

Best time to whitewater raft Roaring Fork River: We recommend going rafting on the Roaring Fork River between May and August.

Best river to raft with families with kids: We recommend rafting the cemetery section with young kids or the Woody Creek section with kids who are 12+.

Best river to raft for thrill seekers: The slaughterhouse section of this river is between class IV and V and is the perfect section or a thrill seeker and experienced rafter.

Now that you have this great list of awesome rivers to raft, just remember that the high-water season is usually during May and June. With so many beginner, intermediate, and expert sections of river there should be nothing to worry about. So to get more information on these rivers and what they have to offer be sure to check out www.coloradorafting.net or call 877-RAFTING-1.

Next time you are in Colorado, make sure you check out one of these top rivers to go whitewater rafting!

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