Rafting Tours in Colorado

Home to two major rivers—the Arkansas and the Colorado—as well as a multitude of other waterways that begin gushing when the snow of the Rocky Mountains melts each summer, Colorado is one of the United States’ top river-rafting destinations. Here are our ideas and tips to help you choose the best rafting tour for you. 
 
Highlights
  • Tackle the Class III and IV rapids of the Arkansas River through Browns Canyon National Monument on a white water tour from Buena Vista.
  • Paddle through Glenwood Canyon’s Class III and IV rapids on the Colorado River on a tour from Glenwood Springs.
  • Experience the Royal Gorge, one of Colorado’s deepest canyons, on an Arkansas River rafting tour from Cañon City.
  • Discover the Animas River and its Class I and up rapids on a tour from Durango.
  • Closer to Denver, enjoy the Class II and III rapids of Clear Creek on a tour from Idaho Springs.
 
Things to Know
  • Colorado’s rafting season is generally May to September.
  • The amount of winter snowfall determines the water levels of the rivers each year, meaning that dry winters usually result in a shorter rafting season.
  • River rapids are categorized into six classes, from Class I: easy to Class VI: extreme.
  • Helmets, waterproof jackets, and other safety gear are typically provided.
  • Rafting tours in Colorado’s popular vacation spots are generally family friendly and cater to beginners; you’ll receive a safety briefing and paddling instructions from the guide.
  • Some tours offer a choice between a half- and full-day tour; full-day tours often include stopping on the riverbank for a provided lunch.
  • The sun is stronger in high elevations so wear sunscreen, and bring sunglasses and a hat with straps so you won’t lose them in the water.
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