Colorado rafting trips begin each spring, when gravity and sunshine draw Colorado’s beloved winter snow down from the high country and into Colorado rivers for some of the country’s most amazing adventures. Find yourself on a Colorado rafting trip passing by five 14ers on the Browns Canyon portion of the Arkansas River, carving narrow sections of the Cache la Poudre River, glimpsing Gold Rush relics on Clear Creek, looking up at the massively high Royal Gorge Bridge from the Arkansas River or floating down mild stretches of the Colorado River near Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs.

12 people in yellow helmets and red life jackets hold yellow paddles and ride the river waves in an inflatable blue boat
Colorado rating trip in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs
An aerial view of two rafts filled with paddlers passing by a train on the banks of the river
Colorado rafting trip on the Arkansas River near Cañon City
Five people in yellow helmets and red jackets paddle through fierce rapids while a guide at the back of the blue boat shouts instructions at them. They all appear to be smiling
Colorado rafting trip on Clear Creek near Idaho Springs
Inside a red raft, give paddlers in lifejackets dodge rocks and rapids while the guide in the back tries to steer them safely
Colorado rafting trip on the Arkansas River near Cañon City
Two adults and three children ride along a relatively calm stretch of river. They all wear lifejackets and the sun is setting over the river
Rafting the Colorado River
A blue and great boat tips its nose up as it crests a wave. Inside, paddlers in red helmets and life jackets grip their paddles as they wait for the next one
Rafting the Colorado River

4 Things to Know About Rafting in Colorado:

Almost anyone can whitewater raft in Colorado: While adrenaline junkies can certainly get their fix on Colorado rivers, the sport is safe and fun for people of nearly all ages and abilities. Just discuss your group’s abilities with the rafting company when you sign up.

Colorado whitewater guides are experts: All the rafting companies listed on this site are state-certified and have all the expertise needed to lead you safely down the river. They are accustomed to guiding trips for seasoned rafters and those who’ve never dipped a paddle in the water. Pay attention to the safety talk, follow directions, go with and have fun!

Intensity varies by time of year: Depending on the time of year and stretch of river, your trip could be a leisurely ride through placid waters or a thrill-a-minute adventure through the rapids. In May and June, melting mountain snow makes the rivers run faster for more exciting rides. By August and into September, the rivers are much milder. During peak water cycles, commercial outfitters may raise the minimum ages on popular family-friendly stretches of river, and those with younger kids can opt for mellower segments of the river with fewer rapids.

You can customize your trip: Colorado whitewater companies offer plenty of options for your trip, including multiday adventures that include camping, and the ability to combine whitewater trips with other adventures, like train rides, winery tours and fly-fishing trips.

Where to Whitewater Raft in Colorado

With rafting hubs and companies located near dozens of Colorado towns, including Buena Vista, Salida, Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, Vail, Grand Junction, Durango and Fort Collins, it’s never hard to find a good place to get on the water.

Watch a rafting video.

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