Colorado is an adventurer’s paradise with lots of exciting outdoor activities to keep visitors busy. While the state features so many mountains suitable for mountain climbing and hiking, there are also lots of rivers flowing at incredible speeds offering exciting white water rafting opportunities. This experience is usually available during the summer months and will have adventurers riding through the scenic outdoors of Colorado while getting water-splashed and thrown around by the strong rapids of the river. With rapids suitable for both beginners and experts, no one will be left out of this experience in the centennial state. For starters, here are the best places to enjoy this thrilling adventure in Colorado.
10 Arkansas River, Brown’s Canyon National Monument
One of the best sections of Arkansas River offers class III rapids and takes adventurers through the Browns Canyon National Monument offering opportunities to see towering 14ers while paddling more than 10 miles of exciting rapids. Browns Canyon is great for beginners and experienced rafters as well as families with kids.
9 San Miguel River
San Miguel River is best suited for beginners as it mainly presents class II and sometimes class III rapids. The river is made up of several sections offering different views and experiences to rafters. While the lower parts present a more relaxing experience, the upper part is more challenging, and rafters on this part are required to be in good physical condition to be able to withstand the rapids.
8 Animas River
White water rafting Animas River is an opportunity to see the stunning mountains in Durango. The river is divided into two main sections - the Lower Animas which presents class III rapids and the Upper Animas which is characterized by class IV - V rapids. While the lower part is great for families with children, the upper section of the river is best left for experienced rafters who will experience raging rapids and views of the surrounding towering mountains.
7 Blue River
White water rafting Blue River is best suited for visitors to Breckenridge and Keystone as it is the closest to these towns. The river comes with class II to III rapids and is suitable for families, beginners, and expert rafters. The ride at many parts of Blue River is short and easy but one will still be able to witness the dramatic views of the Gore Range. The lower part of the blue river offers an easier experience and is great for fishing while the upper part is more challenging as it presents class II to IV rapids best suited for adrenaline junkies.
6 Cache La Poudre River
White water rafting Cache La Poudre River is an unforgettable experience as the river is Colorado’s only National Wild and Scenic River. Rapids at Cache La Poudre River range from Class II to V and the ride begins from the peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park taking rafters towards the town of Fort Collins while offering views of the towering Poudre Canyon and lush jungles as well as unique wildlife such as - elk, squirrels, rabbits, fox, and eagle.
5 San Juan River
San Juan River originates in Southwest Colorado and flows towards the state of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. White water rafting the river presents an exciting experience with sights of red rocks, wildlife, interesting ruins, and rapids ranging from class III to IV. Like many rivers in Colorado, there are various sections offering different difficulty levels on the San Juan River. The west fork section of the river presents class IV - V rapids and is characterized by rapids filled with boulders while the east fork section presents class III-IV rapid with lots of technical spots and steep drops.
4 Eagle River
Eagle River offers an exciting white water rafting adventure near Vail. The river welcomes rafters of all levels as it presents rapids ranging from class II to IV. Beginners and adrenaline junkies can choose from the different sections of the river which include - Gore Creek, Upper Eagle River, and Lower Eagle River. Gore Creek presents Class III to IV rapids and takes rafters through the natural beauty of the region. The Upper Eagle River and Lower Eagle River sections are great for those seeking a relaxing float and some scenery although some parts of the Upper Eagle River feature continuous class IV rapids and lots of steep drops.
3 Piedra River
The White water rafting experience at Piedra River is characterized by class II to class IV rapids. During the 22-mile ride, rafters will be presented with views of the canyon and the surrounding lush forest. The river features an Upper and a Lower section which both come with consistent rapids, steep drops, and numerous rocks that require maneuvering to get past. While the thrill is one thing to enjoy on this river, the dramatic lush scenery of the area is another thing to enjoy on the ride.
2 Clear Creek River
Clear Creek offers one of the best white water rafting adventures near Denver. Rafters here will experience rapids ranging from class II to class V rapids with different sections offering different difficulty levels. The river’s steepness makes it even more challenging as rafters will have to deal with a downhill ride characterized by lots of rocks and consistent rapids. During the ride, one will also enjoy exciting views of the Rocky Mountain ranges and the surrounding lush forests while getting splashed and tossed around by the rushing rapids.
1 Taylor River
Taylor River offers a white water rafting experience that is suitable for beginners, and intermediate and advanced rafters. Most parts of the river feature class III rapids, although few parts feature class IV rapids. Overall, the ride at Taylor River is peaceful and rafters will be presented with views of the surrounding lush forest as well as wildlife such as - Bighorn sheep, elk, and deer.