Colorado Rivers to Raft this Summer

Colorado Rivers to Raft this Summer

Summer is finally just around the corner!  As the snow begins to melt in the Rocky Mountains, many rafting enthusiasts have begun to plan their river trips for the year.  Some things to consider as you sit down and sort everything out are equipment needs and especially where to go.

The Arkansas River

The Arkansas River has many runs that are always great for skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced.  As long as you are not utilizing any Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), recreation site the river is free to use.

Royal Gorge

The Arkansas River has many runs that are going to be awesome for summer and will appeal to all ability levels.

  • Location: Cañon City
  • Difficulty level: Class IV-V

Bighorn Sheep Canyon

If you’re looking for a more family friendly float riddled with a bit of excitement still, Bighorn Sheep Canyon is a popular destination.

  • Location: Salida, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class II-III

Browns Canyon

One of the most favored stretches of whitewater in the country is Browns Canyon. It’s another family friendly part of the river that yields breathtaking views.

  • Location: south of Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class III

Pine Creek

One of the most difficult commercially rafted sections of whitewater on the Arkansas River and in the state is Pine Creek.  If you take this on without a rafting outfitter, be sure you know what you’re doing and have had experience on the water.

  • Location: near Buena Vista, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class V


Clear Creek

If you are living near Denver or visiting Denver, Idaho Springs is located just west of the city about half an hour and makes for the perfect afternoon getaway into the mountains.

Gold Rush

Looking for some rapids your kids can take on with you?  Clear Creek’s Gold Rush is the perfect spot to try.

  • Location: Idaho Springs
  • Difficulty level: Class III

Lower Canyon

Really push your limits with this challenging stretch of whitewater.  Much like the Arkansas River’s Pine Creek, you need to know what you’re doing before you put in on these rapids.

  • Location: Idaho Springs
  • Difficulty level: Class V

Upper Colorado River

If you’re looking to raft solo, the Upper Colorado River is a great scenic destination for some beautiful float trips.  If you have small children or you’re looking for a nice day on the water with friends, head here this summer.  There are plenty of cliffs you can jump off of into the water to cool off and even a natural hot springs along the side of the river if you’re out on a chilly day.

  • Location: Kremmling, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class II

Eagle River

Another great whitewater spot not too far from Kremmling is the Eagle River.

Lower Eagle

This family-friendly oriented run is perfect for those who don’t have too much experience rafting.

  • Location: near Vail, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class III

Dowd Chute

On the other end of the spectrum, Down Chute holds narrow, steep, and fast whitewater only fit for the thrill-seekers.  You’ll need experience and a permit to run this, but it is free of cost.

  • Location: near Vail, Colorado
  • Difficulty level: Class V

For those of you near Kremmling and need any river gear equipment, you are in luck!  Colorado River Rentals has an outpost in Kremmling which offers river gear rentals for most equipment.  Whether you need a raft, a groover (toilet), or a fishing net, we have you covered this summer.  Colorado River Rentals also offers gear transportation drop-off to Pumphouse and Radium and pick-up from Rancho and Radium for those who don’t have a vehicle fit to carry your gear.