Best Time To Raft

The Best Time to Go Rafting in Colorado in 2024

The best time to raft in Colorado is between May – September. It’s possible to raft in Colorado starting in the early spring all the way through early fall, and the best trip for you could fall at anytime throughout depending on what experience you are looking for on the river. 

Colorado Rivers fluctuate throughout the season and from year to year. Therefore, the best time to raft can range depending on what you group wants, and what month you are rafting. Our rivers our fed by melting snow, so conditions are variable depending on the amount of snow that each region received the winter before rafting season.

What to Expect During Each Rafting Month

May Rafting

May is great time to go rafting in Colorado to avoid crowds and typically high water. We offer rafting on the following rivers in May:

  • The Arkansas River: Families with children ages 7+ as well as thrill seekers and experienced rafters.
  • The Upper Colorado River: Families with children ages 2+ as well as those looking for a relaxing river trip.
  • The Clear Creek River: Families with children ages 6+ as well as thrill seekers and advanced rafters.

June Rafting

June is a common month to raft in Colorado. Typically, we see peak run-off happen in June which means higher water. We offer rafting on the following rivers in June but the age minimums typically increase at some point during the month.

  • The Arkansas River: Families with children ages 7+ as well as thrill seekers and experienced rafters.
  • The Upper Colorado River: Families with children ages 2+ as well as those looking for a relaxing river trip or SUP/Kayak.
  • The Clear Creek River: Families with children ages 6+ as well as thrill seekers and advanced rafters.
  • The Blue River: Thrill seekers and advanced rafters. Minimum age for the Blue River may vary during June

July Rafting

This is the most popular time to raft in Colorado. Typically, water levels start to decrease and age minimums go back to their listed number. The following trips are typically offered during the month of July:

  • The Arkansas River: Families with children ages 7+ as well as thrill seekers and experienced rafters.
  • The Upper Colorado River: Families with children ages 2+ as well as those looking for a relaxing river trip or SUP/Kayak.
  • The Clear Creek River: Families with children ages 6+ as well as thrill seekers and advanced rafters.
  • The Blue River: Families with children ages 5+ as well as thrill seekers and advanced rafters.

August & September Rafting

August and September bring less crowns and tamer water. This is the perfect time to raft to really take in the Colorado scenery. The following trips are typically offered at this time:

  • The Arkansas River: Families with children ages 7+ as well as thrill seekers and experienced rafters.
  • The Upper Colorado River: Families with children ages 2+ as well as those looking for a relaxing river trip or SUP/Kayak.
  • The Clear Creek River: Families with children ages 6+ as well as thrill seekers and advanced rafters.

How to Choose the Right Trip for Your Group

The best time to raft for families with kids is between July and September, however, there are plenty of trip options in May & June such as the Upper Colorado River. We recommend the following trips for kids at the following ages throughout the entire summer:

  • Kids between the age 2-4: Upper Colorado River Trips
  • Kids age 5: Blue River and Upper Colorado River Trips
  • Kids age 6: Clear Creek, Blue River, and Upper Colorado River Trips
  • Kids between the age of 7-11: Arkansas River, Clear Creek, Blue River, Upper Colorado River Trips + ziplining packages
  • Kids between age 12-14: Same as 7-11 + Via Ferrata packages
  • Those 15+: All trips on all rivers

*Minimum ages are subject to change based on water levels.

The best time to raft for a relaxing experience is between July and September, however, there are plenty of trip options in May & June such as the Upper Colorado River. If you are looking for a more leisurely experience for your group sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible scenery, then the following river trips are best for your group.

  • Scenic Float Full Day Rafting on the Upper Colorado River
  • Scenic Float Half Day Rafting on the Upper Colorado River
  • 24 Hours on the Upper Colorado River
  • 3 Day Upper Colorado River Float

*Age minimum for all of these trips are 2 years+

The best time to raft for families with kids is between the end of May until Mid July. However, there are plenty of trip options the entire summer to get your adrenaline pumping. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush for your rafting trip, then the following rivers and trips are best for your group.

  • Clear Creek River
  • The Blue River
  • The Arkansas River
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking on the Upper Colorado River

The best time to raft for experienced rafters is typically June. However, those who have never rafted before can also raft in June just different sections of each river. If you have been out on the river a few times before, and you are looking to work hard and go out on the hardest rapids that Colorado has to offer then the following rivers are the best for you to visit.

  • Clear Creek River
  • The Arkansas River

How will High Water Affect My Rafting Trip in 2024

Colorado Zipline with Kids

MINIMUM AGE

Minimum ages can be increased during high water. We have trips that allow rafters as young as 2, so if the age is increased we will have a different trip to offer your group.
Whitewater flowing along a river in Colorado.

RIVER CLOSURES

Certain sections of the river can be closed due to high water. Typically they close because we cannot get under bridges, the water floods over the banks, or dangerous conditions can occur. If this occurs during your 2019 rafting trip, we can move you to a different section of water that is not closed at that time.

Our Main Adventure Outposts

Rafters on smooth waters.

Buena Vista

40671 US-24
Buena Vista, CO 81211

If using Google Maps, ‘US 24 North’ is incorrect and will take you 10 miles south of us. Type in the address exactly as listed above to ensure correct directions.

On the hunt for a true mountain excursion?  Head to Buena Vista, Colorado to raft through a national monument on our Brown’s Canyon 1/2 day trip, fly above the Arkansas River Valley on our Mountaintop Zipline, or Rock Climb the majestic Granite Gorge Cliffs, where views of the majestic Collegiate Peaks will take your breath away.

AVA’s Buena Vista Outpost is located just over an hour from Summit County and under two and a half hours from Denver, Colorado.

Group of people on a rustic bridge.

Idaho Springs

431 Chicago Creek Road
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

Our Idaho Springs outpost offers beginner to advanced levels of whitewater rafting on Clear Creek, soar among the treetops on our Cliffside Zipline, or try our  Via Ferrata course for an introduction to mountaineering.  Enjoy an afternoon in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and catch some incredible sights of historic Idaho Springs- the location of Colorado’s first gold discovery!

Our Idaho Springs outpost is conveniently located near Denver, just 30 minutes west of downtown on I-70, and less than an hour from Summit County.

Oars up on a Colorado River.

Kremmling

1606 Park Avenue
Kremmling, CO 80459

Kremmling is the perfect destination for families looking for a mountain getaway. Our Upper Colorado River Scenic Float rafting trip welcomes adventurers as young as 2 years old on a half day or full day adventure on mellow Class II rapids. While in Kremmling, be sure to also try one of our Fly Fishing excursions or kick up dirt on our UTV Rentals!

You will find our Kremmling outpost just 45 minutes from Summit County and just under two hours from Denver.

Looking for a more Customized Answer?

NOT QUITE SURE WHICH ADVENTURE OR TRIP IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Give our Trip Specialists a call to build your perfect adventure: 1-800-370-0581

Don't just take our word for it

Olivia G.2024-06-11

We had an incredible experience with AVA Rafting & Zipline last weekend for our birthdays! My husband, two friends, and I went white water rafting in Buena... Read More »

Brady B.2024-06-22

AVA team was great and zip lining was fun for the whole family. Will be coming back for a rafting trip and want to run the Numbers! Should be just as fun! Read More »

Bill A.2023-07-04

Decided in this spot for some fun on a summer vacation in Brekenridge.

The drive from Breck was about 90 min. For meal plans after plan for about 30 in... Read More »

Olivia Karaszewski2024-06-12

We had an incredible experience with AVA Rafting & Zipline last weekend for our birthdays! My husband, two friends, and I went white water rafting in Buena Vista, and it was an adventure we'll never forget. Our guide, Todd, was absolutely amazing. His expertise and enthusiasm made the trip both thrilling and safe. We tackled class 4 rapids, and Todd’s guidance ensured we had an exhilarating and enjoyable time. The scenery was breathtaking, and the entire tour was perfectly organized from start to finish. If you're looking for a top-notch rafting experience with skilled and friendly guides, look no further than AVA Rafting & Zipline. We can't wait to return for another adventure!

Read More »
Gale Yocom2024-06-22

There is not a company out there in Colorado that cares this much about the experience of their customer. We did the Via Ferrate with the amazing Jessi and Cody. These two made our experience incredible. Their professionalism and humor turned this into one of my favorite adventures. I had my 12-year-old son with me and felt 100% safe and taken care of the entire time.

Everyone has to listen to this!!! If you are going to do river rafting, you have to do the overnight with AVA! This is an experience of a lifetime. The entire team, from the Boss Boss (Duke) to Todd to Heather to our amazing guides Brighton and Will, made this a father and son trip that will never be forgotten. The day before the trip, they overcame several obstacles to ensure that we could take this trip. I run a company, Strong Fitness, in Dallas, and their care for the customers matches my own, which is hard to do!

I would trust this company with all my trips on the mountain or river in Buena Vista, CO. We are going back with more friends and family if they will have us.

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Edgardo alomar2024-06-19

We did the Via Ferrata with Julian and Ernie and it was one of the most fun experiences of my life. They taught me how to do a flip on a zipline an hang upside down an how to jump of the side of a cliff. 10/10!

Read More »