Best time to visit Colorado

Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

The Rocky Mountain rivers of Colorado offer world-class whitewater rafting

Best time: May–September

Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater Rafting

Colorado, with its mountains and fast rivers, is a perfect rafting destination with at least eight rivers featuring plenty of great rafting routes, ranging from peaceful floating to high-adrenaline adventure. Even overnight rafting trips are available.

The Arkansas River in Central Colorado is among premium world whitewater rafting destinations. You can pass the iconic Browns Canyon National Monument and enjoy exciting class V thrills.

About 30 minutes from Denver, there is Clear Creek, which has plenty of rafting locations. Further north, Colorado River is suitable for all kinds of water trips. Eagle River near Vail, the Blue River, and the Dolores River also offer nice rafting.

Whitewater rafting season starts in May when the snow melts in the mountains and fills the rivers with water. The season runs through the end of August or September depending on location.

Practical info

What is the best time to go whitewater rafting in Colorado?

The ideal time frame for whitewater rafting in Colorado is from May to September. This is the period when the rivers are filled with mountain water that melts from snow. The season ends at the end of August or September, depending on the location. However, the unstable weather in the mountains necessitates consulting a local rafting guide or outfitter for accurate weather conditions and suitable options. Show more

Where can I find the most challenging rafting routes in Colorado?

If you want a challenging rafting experience in Colorado, Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River is your best bet. This location boasts class V rapids and traverses the legendary Browns Canyon National Monument. Nevertheless, there are numerous other rivers throughout the state that cater to varying skill sets and interests. A local guide or outfitter can assist you in selecting the most appropriate route based on your requirements. Show more

Can I go on an overnight rafting trip in Colorado?

Overnight rafting trips are readily available in Colorado, and numerous outfitters offer one- to three-day excursions that include both camping and lodging. Overnight trips provide a more immersive experience with wildlife sightings and backcountry exploration. However, provisions, availability, and prices should be discussed with the outfitter when making arrangements for an overnight trip. Show more

Which river is the most accessible from Denver for whitewater rafting?

Denver's most accessible whitewater rafting river is Clear Creek, which is about 30 minutes away. Clear Creek offers a variety of rafting routes for different skill levels, ranging from mild to wild rapids, and has stunning scenic views with abundant wildlife. Other excellent whitewater rafting rivers such as Blue River, Arkansas River, Eagle River, Colorado River, and Dolores River are further from Denver, but they are also worth considering. Show more

Are there any age restrictions for whitewater rafting in Colorado?

Whitewater rafting age restrictions exist in Colorado and vary by outfitter. To participate, most outfitters require rafters to be at least 6-8 years of age and weigh between 50-70 pounds. However, certain rivers with more challenging rapids may have higher age and weight limits set by outfitters. Before booking your rafting trip, it is best to check with the outfitter to ensure that you meet their age and weight requirements. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin