The snow is melting, and rivers are running fast this season. Catch wild whitewater this summer with these six Colorado rafting outfitters:
River Runners: River Runners offers two locations – Cañon City and Buena Vista – and both float our boat. You’ll recognize many guides from season-to-season with in-depth knowledge of the mighty Arkansas. The Buena Vista folks will steer you masterfully through Brown Canyon’s Zoom Flume and Seidel’s Suckhole or the advanced class V’s of Pine Creek. The Cañon City locale will set you up for a spectacular voyage through Bighorn Sheep Canyon or the raging Royal Gorge. Half-day, full-day, overnight and multi-day trips available.
$28 - $450
24070 County Road 301, Buena Vista
44641 US Hwy. 50, Cañon City; 719-395-2466
Clear Creek Rafting: Clear Creek Rafting is our go-to group when we want to raft close to home – about 30 minutes west of Denver – with less commercial rafting congestion. Take the beginner route past the waterwheel, which includes 11 rapids. Or hit it hard with the 18-mile, 30-rapid advanced trip through Hell’s Corner, Corkscrew and Double Knife. Half, full-day and evening trips available.
$45 - $105
350 Whitewater Road, Idaho Springs; 800-353-9901; email@example.com
Colorado River Guides: Colorado is equally spectacular by land or by water, which is why we like this outfitter’s family-friendly Saddles & Paddles, which splits the day between a horseback ride up the Piney River, followed by a picnic lunch, then a whitewater adventure down the Colorado.
Puts in at State Bridge Landing (www.raftcolorado.com/info.html); 800-938-7238; firstname.lastname@example.org
Colorado Whitewater Rafting: Head to Glenwood Springs for a whitewater-only trip down the craziest of Shoshone Rapids. The Double Extreme and Triple Extreme give you multiple chances to conquer the wild, frothy waves. Minimum age, fitness, and swimming abilities required.
$45 - $59
Glenwood Springs; 800-993-7238; WhitewaterRafting@juno.com
Wilderness Aware Rafting: You don’t have to “rough it” to surf through the Rockies on whitewater: Adventure meets luxury in this multi-day, inn-to-inn rafting trip. Not only will you be spending evenings in bed and breakfasts near the Arkansas River, but dinners are catered by local restaurants. Two-, three- and four-day trips available; minimum age is 10.
Buena Vista; 800-462-7238
Mild to Wild: All right, we realize this one, located in Southwest Colorado, is a good distance from Denver (six hours), but with whitewater packages on four markedly different rivers – Dolores, Animas, Piedra and San Miguel – there’s no better way to journey through the varying terrain of the awe-inspiring San Juans. True to its name, Mild to Wild offers an array of whitewater trips for all levels, including an advanced Upper Animas adventure with 100+ rapids. Half-day, full-day, overnight and multi-day trips available.
Contact for price info.
50 Animas View Drive, Durango; 800-567-6745