Colorado offers a variety of river rafting opportunities for all skill levels

PICT White Water Rafting Near Canon City - wikimedia - public domain
Published Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When it comes to river rafting in Colorado, you won't be disappointed. There's a river for everyone, from the extreme whitewater rapids of the Arkansas to the lazy, scenic stretches of the Upper Colorado. To help you decide which river to explore on your next rafting adventure, we've compiled a list of some of the mildest and some of the most intense rivers in Colorado--with their classifications included.

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Rafting on the Upper Arkansas River - Courtesy CPW
Rafting on the Upper Arkansas River - Courtesy CPW

Relaxing Colorado River Rafting

This easy-going 25-mile stretch is excellent for rafting, kayaking, and wildlife viewing. Located just west of Grand Junction, CO, these Class I and II waters are gentle enough for children.

Tucked away with a remote feel, this little-known stretch of the Lower Dolores River features Class II and III rapids, yet still a good deal of tranquil water. Trips on this river are suitable for kids ages 10 and older.

Experience a variety of river conditions as you raft through this area. A great introduction to whitewater rafting, this scenic stretch features Class I, II, and III rapids.

This stretch of Class I and II waters offers relaxation, a little bit of excitement, and unrivaled scenery. Depending on your journey, you can encounter natural hot springs, historical points of interest, and alpine views.

A favorite when it comes to Durango river rafting, the Dolores River provides exceptional views of majestic desert scenery and ancient ruins. A Class II - IV river, these waters offer a little bit more of a challenge than the other easy-going rivers we've listed.

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Rafting on the Upper Arkansas River - Courtesy CPW
Rafting on the Upper Arkansas River - Courtesy CPW

Whitewater Rafting

The Arkansas River is well-known throughout the American West for its 100+ miles of whitewater rapids. Depending on your skill (and comfort) level, you can enjoy stretches of river from Class I to Class V+ rapids.

Also featuring Class I to Class V+ rapids, this stretch of Gold Medal trout waters is sure to keep you on your toes. These waters change from mild whitewater to extremely technical and challenging rapids and back again.

Whether you're interested in a high-stakes whitewater rafting tour or a laid-back adventure that the whole family can enjoy, you'll find the ideal stretch of river in Colorado. From Durango river rafting tours in the Southwest to experiences just outside of Grand Junction in the West, there are a wide variety of landscapes, intensities, and excursions to enjoy.