Best Places to Go White Water Rafting in Colorado

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Water Rafting in Colorado
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Colorado is home to some of the world’s most stunning and diverse scenery. The state has something for every adventurer, from beautiful alpine lakes and wildflower-filled valleys to snow-capped peaks and deep canyons.

There are many activities to choose from when visiting the state. But white water rafting is one of the best ways to explore the untouched parts of Colorado. An average of 500,000 rafting trips have been reported each year since 2000. Also, Colorado reported approximately 620,000 rafting trips in 2021.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing float trip or an adrenaline-pumping adventure down rapids, here are some of the favorite places for white water rafting in Colorado:

Arkansas River

The Arkansas River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, flowing through Colorado and Kansas. The river is the longest in Colorado, with over 1450 miles, running through the city of Pueblo. The river is a Class IV river, which means it has class III rapids and is pretty easy to navigate.

The Arkansas River flows through Royal Gorge in Cañon City, which contains many rapids. The rafting season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend every year. The Arkansas River Royal Gorge rafting trip includes 13 miles of waterfalls, caves, and tunnels as you float through a canyon carved by glaciers.

Arkansas River Royal Gorge rafting offers guided tours for all levels of experience. From first-time rafters to expert paddlers looking to test their skills on one of North America’s most challenging stretches of whitewater.

Clear Creek

Clear Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River and is located in Clear Creek Canyon. The river has numerous rapids that range from Class I to Class V, with many rapid changes occurring in a short distance.

The average flow rate is about 0.4 cubic feet per second (CFS), which is low compared to other Colorado rivers. However, since the creek is shallow and rocky, it can feel much more challenging than its flow rate would suggest.

The most popular rapids are “The Box” and “The Slot.” The Slot is a Class III rapid that starts with a large rock in the middle of the creek. There are several ways to navigate this rapidly, but they all involve staying in the center while avoiding rocks on either side.

Colorado River

The Colorado River is the longest river in Colorado and the most popular place to raft. It runs through the Grand Canyon, one of America’s most breathtaking natural wonders.

There are many different levels of difficulty when it comes to white water rafting on this river, ranging from mellow Class II waters to very fast-moving Class IV rapids. You’ll find plenty of wildlife along the way, including bald eagles, deer, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep.

Roaring Fork River

The Roaring Fork River is a 70-mile river in south central Colorado that runs through Aspen, Snowmass Village, and Basalt. Class III rapids can be found throughout the year, with many different types of rapids depending on the water flow level. The average flow rate is around 100 cubic feet per second but can be as high as 300 CFS or more during heavy rains.

The best time for rafting this river is from May to September when flows are moderate, between 100 to 200 CFS. With flows between 100 to 200 CFS, you won’t get stuck on rocks or have trouble navigating through swift currents.

Taylor River

Located in the Rocky Mountains, Taylor River offers white water rafting on a Class III-IV river with a beautiful mountain backdrop. A trip down the river takes about 3 hours, but you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and take photos.

When you arrive at Taylor River, you will be provided with all of the equipment for a rafting adventure, like life jackets, helmets, and paddles which are included in the cost of this activity. However, when it comes to clothing choices for this excursion, it’s recommendable to wear comfortable clothing that can get wet.

It is necessary to wear safety gear before rafting. Safety gears like a life jacket, helmet, and paddles are life savers in case of any mishap. Statista states that around 658 people died, and 2641 were injured in the US in 2021 in recreation that involved boating. However, the figure has decreased in recent years due to knowledge about safety gear.

You may end up getting splashed by some water during your adventure. You will also want to bring sunscreen if you plan on being outside during much of your day. Unfortunately, only a few trees offer shade along this stretch of river, so sunburn is more likely than not if precautions aren’t taken beforehand.

Dolores River

The Dolores River is a great place to head out with your family or friends and get some white water rafting done. The Dolores River is located southwest of Colorado, just south of Durango. It is also a tributary of the Colorado River and flows through an area known as “The Maze.”

This maze consists of hundreds of miles worth of canyons and other geological features that make this river quite popular for rafting trips.

The river is rated between Class II through Class V, which means anyone can try it out, but you’ll want to be sure you’re prepared before heading out on this adventure.

Yampa River

The Yampa River is a great place to go rafting if you’re a beginner or have been rafting before and want to do it again. It’s one of the most popular destinations for white water rafting trips in Colorado, meaning plenty of different companies offer trips down the river.

You have to pay for every recreational activity, as is the case with rafting in Yampa River. A fee of $185, along with a non-refundable $15 application fee, is charged for a multiday permit to Yampa river.

The rapids here aren’t too hard, so if you’re not confident in your swimming ability or don’t know how to swim, this may be the perfect place. There are also many campgrounds near the river where you can stay overnight after your trip.

Piedra River

The Piedra River is a great place to go rafting in the summer. This Class III River runs 5.5 miles through a narrow canyon with steep walls in the San Juan Mountains. You can also choose from several other activities while you’re there and enjoy some of the natural beauty of Colorado’s western slope.

You can’t go wrong with any of these four rivers, but if you’re looking for an even better experience on your next trip, consider booking a guided rafting trip. This way, you’ll have some professional guides at your disposal who know every inch of their local waters, and they’ll make sure that everyone has fun.

The river rafting guides help you enjoy the session while keeping you attentive and safe. These professionals are registered by the concerned authority that monitors the rafting activities in the country.

Colorado – Best Place to Go White Water Rafting

These are some of the best places to go white water rafting in Colorado. The best time to go whitewater rafting in Colorado is between April and October. The best time of day to go white water rafting in Colorado is in the morning.

If you decide that you want to do some hiking after your rafting experience, there are plenty of trails near these locations. You can hike through beautiful mountain meadows and enjoy some spectacular views.

You now have the list of the best white water rafting spots in Colorado. Whether you’re an experienced rafter or want to try something new and exciting, these rivers bring out that adventurous spirit. Thus grab your life jackets, paddles, and helmets, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.

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