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Colorado Whitewater Rafting Guide

Updated on March 26, 2017
Fun for the whole family!
Fun for the whole family! | Source

For the past few years, Colorado and its river outfitters have felt the wrath of mother nature and the drought that she has brought upon us. Last season, most outfitters took a beating and business was way down, but this year things are looking up nicely.

Snow has been falling late this year and more is on the way, so hopefully the Spring run-off will offer a business boom for rafting companies. Our local economy could definitely use the boost and river outfitter owners might be able to sigh a little relief. We hope!

Some of the rafting companies have already sent boats down some of Colorado's beautiful rivers. They are getting a good jump on the season, probably the earliest start in 4-5 years. Let's hope for a fun and long rafting season.

What's your favorite Colorado whitewater river run?

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Colorado offers some of the best and most fun rafting and has rivers for all skill levels. Throughout the state, there are mild to wild rafting trips waiting for you.

Right outside of Fort Collins, up Poudre Canyon, runs the Cache La Poudre river. This fun river has class II on up to class IV rapids. A Wanderlust Adventure has rafting trips for beginners to advanced. With rapids called Pinball, Headless Bridge, Liquid Thunder, Big Drop and Roller Coaster they have enough action for rafters of all everyone 7 yrs and up.

  • 970-482-1995 or 800-745-7238 for details

Poudre Canyon Whitewater Rafting!

Another very popular river run is Brown's Canyon of the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, CO. This trip is perfect for families and groups or for the beginner, but the advanced rafter will still get a kick out of this mostly class III rapid run.

Brown's Canyon Rafting, owned and operated by Byron Brown and Shaun Davis is one of the smaller river outfitters, but offer tons of fun on the river with a personal touch. They also offer zip lines, paddle boards, fishing, ATV tours, horseback riding and more.

For the more advanced rafter, The Numbers is the way to go. Offering class IV and V rapids even the bravest of paddlers would cringe at. And even more intense than that is Pine Creek with almost all class V rapids, only 18 yrs and older need apply.

Siedels Sinkhole Brown's Canyon!

When floating down the Royal Gorge...DO NOT FALL IN THE WATER! I have done this run and it's a blast but dangerous!

One of the most exciting and beautiful river runs in Colorado is in Canon City and goes underneath a bridge that is almost a 1000 feet above the river, the Royal Gorge. This trip has class III to V rapids and is exhilarating for brave beginners and hearty pros alike. On this run you must be 100% prepared for anything and everything. Good physical condition is a must, as hard paddling is required by everyone in the boat. As you come underneath the Royal Gorge Bridge, the rapids are boat crushers and your guide will insist that stay in the boat!

Royal Gorge Whitewater Rafting!

River Runners, is like your one stop shop for all your rafting needs. They offer a lot of runs around Colorado. Visit their website to see what they deals or specials they may have.

There are many great places in Colorado to enjoy whitewater rafting, but there are some things you should know before heading out on your adventure. Safety is the number one concern and it is very important to any river outfitter and should be to you too.

Keeping that in mind here are some quick tips:

  • No matter which outfitter you go with, do your research and find one that has a proven safety record and has many satisfied customers.
  • Always choose a river that fits you or your group's skill level, don't ever underestimate the river or over estimate your skill!
  • Be well prepared- stay hydrated, sunscreen, camera, extra warm clothing(don't wear cotton), food. Talk to your outfitter prior to find out what you will need.
  • Be prepared for anything, and be a team player. You are part of a paddling team on the boat.
  • LISTEN to your guide, have a lot of fun, but take the river very seriously! Remember, even in small rapids boats can flip and you may be in the water, be calm and think about what the guide taught you.


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    • jimmyglaughlin profile imageAUTHOR

      Jim Laughlin 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks a bunch! If you ever get the chance, it is a thrill ride worth trying. There's nothing quite like it.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      5 years ago from malang-indonesia's great adventure. I really enjoy the video here...awesome. I hope I can try river rafting in Colorado one day. Thanks for writing and sharing with us. Voted up :-)


    • jimmyglaughlin profile imageAUTHOR

      Jim Laughlin 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      You are welcome. I've always wanted to go the Grand Canyon, I keep saying I'm going to go, but never quite make it.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Met the Colorado while hiking the Grand Canyon.

    • jimmyglaughlin profile imageAUTHOR

      Jim Laughlin 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you, I appreciate your kind words. Rafting is a love of mine, and hope this might encourage people to try it.

    • maheshpatwal profile image


      5 years ago from MUMBAI

      Jimmy... River-rafting is very adventurous and adrenalin pumping sports which is recent years has become quite famous in some parts of India, though still in initial stage. You have written beautiful hubs giving very goods insights about the rafting business in Colorado.....

    • jimmyglaughlin profile imageAUTHOR

      Jim Laughlin 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      The Snake river in Wyoming is awesome! Never rafted Utah.

      Thanks, and sitting here waiting for the rain to change over to snow as I write!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have been on two different white water rafting outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the other in Utah. Hope the rafting companies host many visitors in Colorado this year. It is so much fun! Supposedly Colorado will be getting a lot more snow tomorrow according to the weather forecast as of April 30, the snow melt should add to the eventual fun. Up, interesting and sharing with my followers.

    • jimmyglaughlin profile imageAUTHOR

      Jim Laughlin 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      TY! The rafting in Colorado is fantastic. I've done all the rafting trips in the article, so I write from personal experience. It's been a few years since I've been, but the 'itch' is growing to get back out there!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Jim. I have always wanted to go white water rafting out west so this hub definitely caught my eye. This is great info for anyone considering a rafting trip to Colorado. I'll bookmark this so I can come back to it when we finally get around to planning a rafting trip. Thanks for sharing the info. Voted up and shared.


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