Colorado River rafting is possible in several states, with the beginning of the river—and some of its best scenery—being located in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado itself. The river has rapids to tempt paddlers of nearly any skill level, ranging from Class I to Class IV along the length of the river. Whether your trip is planned for a few hours or several days, Colorado River whitewater rafting offers an unforgettable trip, with options for hiking and camping as well. Whether it’s a peaceful float trip or an exciting run through rapids you’re seeking, Colorado River rafting will likely suit you perfectly.
The best Colorado River rafting is in the northwestern portion of the state, and a lot of the excellent ski resort towns have pick-up points for rafting outfitters. For instance, Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge are all popular places to start a rafting trip, and accommodations in these towns is usually quite affordable during the summer, when it’s outside their peak tourist seasons.
For beginner and intermediate rafters, Brown’s Canyon and Bighorn Sheep Canyon are great places to try the rafts, and there are both full- and half-day options for both areas. Brown’s Canyon blends exciting Class II and Class III rapids with long stretches of calm water that are perfect for viewing the surrounding mountains. The relatively easy rapids and large number of guided tours available make this portion of the Colorado River very popular among families who are looking for Colorado River rafting trips. If your kids are older or you all have some rafting experience, then the Shoshone Rapids on the Lower Colorado are a good option, as they have Class III rapids as their most difficult, as well as stunning views of Glenwood Canyon.
There are also excellent rapids for more experienced travelers. Gore Canyon, for instance, is located on the Upper Colorado River, and its rapids are known as some of the most challenging in the country, with the steepest drops in the state—120 feet per mile. There are Class III rapids at the beginning of the journey to help you get your bearings, but beyond that it’s Class IV to the top of Tunnel Falls and trips through Kirshbaum, home to the longest and most technical stretch of water in Gore Canyon.
Colorado River rafting is not the only option for paddling adventurers; inflatable kayaks are also a great choice for travelers of all skill levels. Kayaks are known to be quite buoyant and stable, making them an excellent choice for beginners at paddling alone as opposed to canoes or standard kayaks. As one of the most famous rafting experiences in the US, Colorado River rafting trips are an unforgettable way to explore this part of the western US. From dabbling in the waters for just a taste of the adventure to delving into a weeklong Colorado rafting excursion, a trip to anywhere along this river will be a breathtaking experience.