Top 5 Activities on the Upper Colorado River

Posted by on Apr 3, 2023 in River activities, Upper Colorado River
Top 5 Activities on the Upper Colorado River

Colorado is the headwaters for nearly two dozen major rivers, including the Colorado River, Rio Grande, Animas River, and Arkansas River. Beginning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and flowing 1,450 miles (2,334 kilometers) to the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in Northwest Mexico, the endangered Colorado River is a lifeline for millions of people in the United States and Mexico. The Upper Colorado River includes its segments flowing through Colorado, Utah, while parts of Arizona, Nevada and California contain the Lower Colorado River–all offering boundless activities to experience this powerful river.

Colorado River at sunset

The Colorado River at sunset

There are many ways to enjoy the scenic Upper Colorado River, especially as we head into summer. The top activities on the Upper Colorado River include whitewater rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fly fishing (walk n wade or by boat) and tubing. These are all activities you can do with your family or on your own!


1.Whitewater Rafting

Colorado’s snowpack is currently around 140% off normal levels, meaning river conditions for whitewater rafting will be the best they have been in years! As the mountains welcome spring and summer, the snow begins to melt and rushes down to fill our rivers and lakes. This makes it a great time to book a whitewater rafting trip!

Anyone can whitewater raft in Colorado. Adrenaline junkies can certainly get their fix on the Upper Colorado, which is also safe and fun for people of nearly all ages and abilities. Some of our favorites include the Upper Coloardo Scenic 1/2 Day Float trip for families and those looking for a more relaxing adventure, or an overnight camping and rafting trip for those looking to experience the best of Colorado!

2. Kayaking

kayaking on Upper Colorado river

The Colorado River is one of the most treasured waterways for kayaking in Colorado. While you can’t kayak the entire Colorado River from start to finish without exiting your boat and hiking a great deal, you can kayak most of it.

Most kayakers choose a spot to put in and leave transportation at either end. Here are our recommendations for the best put-in and take-out locations. Rent a kayak or book a guided kayak trip and experience the Upper Colorado River from your boat!

3. Fly Fishing

Man holding fish up

Fly fishing on the Upper Colorado is a fun way to get out on the water and try out a new sport, and who knows, you might be a natural!

Check out day tours, including a 4 hour float trip or 2 hour walk and wade, as well as overnight trips!  Read more about everything you need to know about fly-fishing on the Upper Colorado, including the best spots to fish and what species of fish you will find. Don’t forget to get your fishing license before you head out!

4. Stand-up Paddleboarding

For the average recreational paddler, spring and summertime is the most enjoyable time to try paddleboarding.Kid paddleboarding

Paddleboarding does not require a lot of equipment and falling in the water is a nice way to cool down in the heat rather than a potential experience in freezing temperatures! For those already familiar with kayaking or rafting, stand-up paddleboarding can provide a unique adventure experience.


Enjoying tubing

5. Tubing

Our favorite activities on the Upper Colorado River also include Tubing–another great way to spend a warm summer day! Tubers will encounter class II and III rapids as well as calmer water without currents. Be sure to wear a personal flotation device and read up on the segments you choose to tube.

The Upper Colorado River offers many opportunities for adventure for thrill seekers and floaters alike. As the weather gets warmer, we are itching to get out on the water and experience the best of this powerful and majestic river!

Written by Tiffany Weber, Colorado River Rentals Sales Team Member

Edited by Rosa Canales, Marketing Specialist