Colorado is one of the best places to go white water rafting in the world. The sheer number of rivers and rapids, let alone the beauty of nature all around make it an adventure you’ll never forget! When it comes to where you should go rafting, there are a lot of options out there.
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Kansas River and empties into the Mississippi River. The river flows through Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma and has a drainage basin of about 165,000 square miles (427,367 km²). It’s also one of the most popular places for white water rafting in the U.S., drawing more than half-a-million annual visitors each year to its many rapids and gorges.
The Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado has rapids classified 3 to 7 on the International Scale of River Difficulty.
You may have heard of the International Scale of River Difficulty, but what exactly is it? The ISRD is a classification scale for rivers with rapids ranging from class 1 to class 6. A river with rapids that are rated from 1 to 5 are considered easy, while those with 5+ are extreme and should only be attempted by experienced rafters in ideal conditions.
The Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado has rapids classified 3 to 7 on the International Scale of River Difficulty. This means there will be plenty of fun rapids and waves for you to enjoy during your white water rafting trip!
Salida is located at an elevation of 6,770 feet above sea level and sits along Highway 50 near Monarch Mountain Ski Area and Pikes Peak—it’s a great place to spend time outdoors year-round!
This river is one of the most popular stretches of white water in the country.
If you’re looking to try white water rafting, this river is one of the most popular stretches of white water in the country. It is a great place to go rafting and is also a fun place to raft.
As with most rivers, there are some basic risks involved with this particular stretch of white water. However, if you’re willing to take them on these risks will be worth it and help make your experience an enjoyable one.
Clear Creek is a class 5 whitewater rafting trip, which means it’s short and intense. It’s also the most popular Colorado whitewater rafting trip because of its proximity to Denver. The river runs through Clear Creek Canyon, which is well-known for its historic mining towns, including Idaho Springs and Central City. The rapids are very fun (but not as difficult as you might think), and they are spread out nicely throughout the trip so that no one has to do too much paddling in a row.
As with all Colorado white water rafting trips, Clear Creek offers some exciting class 2 and 3 rapids during your descent down its length. This means that there will be some great opportunities for excitement without having to worry about any major dangers—which can be nice if you’re new to rafting or just want something relaxing but still exciting!
Clear Creek is a class 5 river with lots of short and intense rapids.
Clear Creek is a class 5 river. That means it’s a particularly challenging stretch of white water, with lots of short and intense rapids. It’s full of boulders and other obstacles, so you’ll have to keep your eyes open for problems that could capsize the raft or knock you over the side.
Clear Creek is one of the most popular stretches of white water in the country, and it’s easy to see why: it’s an exhilarating ride!
It runs close to Idaho Springs, through Clear Creek Canyon and into Golden and Denver.
The creek runs close to Idaho Springs, through Clear Creek Canyon and into Golden and Denver.
In order of proximity:
- It runs through the canyon
- It runs through Golden and Denver.
- It also goes by Idaho Springs, but only because it’s a small town that doesn’t mind when it gets flooded with tourists every summer.
If you’re looking for excitement on your next vacation, consider white water rafting in Colorado.
Taylor River (aka The Numbers)
For those of you who are new to class 4 white water, or for those who just want a good place to practice your skills, Taylor River is a great choice. This river is one of the most popular rivers in Colorado and it’s especially enjoyable if you’re doing it as part of a day trip from Buena Vista. It’s also gorgeous—the scenery here will take your breath away! The rapids on this stretch are fun but not too challenging for beginners or for people looking for a relaxing float. If you’re looking for more excitement or adventure, though, then this isn’t the river for you—you’ll find better options elsewhere in Colorado (but we’ll get into that later).
This river is full of shallow rapids that are mostly class 4s.
This river is full of shallow rapids that are mostly class 4s.
- Class 1: Paddle gently with no major obstacles.
- Class 2: Go up to your knees in some places, but nothing too deep. Might have to get out for a few minutes to scout the next rapid (or portage).
- Class 3: You will get wet every second or third wave, but it’s not difficult or dangerous at all. You might want to wear a helmet because you could hit your head occasionally while maneuvering around rocks.
- Class 4: There will be quite a bit of swimming involved here, but the water isn’t too deep and the current isn’t too strong—you should be able to keep your balance easily as long as you don’t panic! If you have any doubts about whether or not this one is right for you, ask our guide before signing up!
The best time to raft this stretch is in the spring when it’s at its highest level.
The best time to raft this stretch is in the spring when it’s at its highest level. This is also the time when you can see some of the most beautiful scenery on Colorado’s Front Range. If you’d like a more mellow experience, then go in the fall when it’s lower and slower. However, if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, go during springtime or summer when water levels are high. Fall and winter are also excellent times to go white water rafting because they offer mild weather conditions that make long days on the river pleasant ones!
The Piedra River is a great option for beginners. The river has Class II and III rapids, which are relatively mild compared to others in the state. There are several access points to the Piedra River, which makes it easy for you to get on your rafting trip without having to drive too far from Denver. It’s also a good option for those who don’t have much experience with white water rafting because it has minimal risk of injury or drowning.
This river flows through Pagosa Springs and has some fun class 2 and 3 whitewater rapids.
This river flows through Pagosa Springs and has some fun class 2 and 3 whitewater rapids. The best time to go is in the spring when the snow melts from the mountains, but it can be run year round if you want a milder experience. Some of the best rapids are near “Cowboy Town”, an old mining town with great views of Mount Blanca. In summer months, there are many hikes that begin or end at this spot as well.
Now for a little history lesson: The name “Pagosa” comes from Spanish meaning “hot waters.” Pagosa Springs was once a thriving resort town with hotels, restaurants and mineral baths that attracted thousands of tourists every year until fire destroyed most of it in 1908!
Finally, let’s talk about food! There are so many options here – Mexican food (my favorites), pizza places (the original Grimaldi’s) or if you have time head over to Durango where there are tons more choices including some excellent breweries such as Great Divide Brewing Company & Ska Brewing Company (both located downtown).
One notable rapid here is called Big Rocks Rapid.
The Big Rocks Rapid is located on the lower portion of the Colorado River, near Glenwood Springs, Colorado. This particular rapid gets its name from huge rocks that protrude out of its surface. These monster rocks can rip through rafts and make this one of the most difficult rapids in all of white water rafting.
The best way to start your trip down this river is by taking a shuttle bus from downtown Glenwood Springs (or even Avon) and making your way to where you’ll start your journey. Once there, you’ll have an opportunity to rent all necessary equipment for your trip: life jackets, paddles and helmets if desired! If you didn’t bring any food or drinks with you (which I recommend), there are some great places nearby where you can stop for lunch on-route so don’t worry about bringing any snacks either!
There are so many great places to go white water rafting in Colorado!
There are so many great places to go white water rafting in Colorado. There are so many rivers for you to choose from, and each one has its own unique characteristics. The difficulty of each river varies depending on the amount of rapids, boulders, and waterfalls that are present. Some rivers are better for beginners and others are better for more experienced rafters. Some rivers have less rapids than others so they’re easier for families with young kids or people who aren’t as physically fit—but if you’re looking for a challenge, there’s also an option for that too!
We hope you consider going white water rafting the next time you visit Colorado! It’s a great way to explore the state and see some beautiful scenery from a different perspective. There are many places along rivers where you can rent or buy gear if needed. It’s also fun for families because it doesn’t require any special skills – just an adventurous spirit and willingness to try something new!
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