Dolores River Rafting

White water rafting through a magical Desert Canyon on Colorado’s Dolores River

Dolores River Rafting Colorado

The Dolores is a classic western river, unspoiled, with a majestic desert backdrop. In May and early June we take advantage of the warm temperatures and early season runoff to raft this exceptional wilderness river. Enormous Ponderosa pines grow in stark contrast with a landscape of red and orange sandstone cliffs. This results in a striking kaleidoscope of color unique to the Dolores River as the scenery changes through five major western life zones, from the alpine life zone at its headwaters to Upper Sonoran desert terrain along much of its lower reaches.

Rafting TripsReviewsMapsWater FlowPhotosResources

Rafting Trips:

TRIP NAME
CLASS
DIST.
SEASON
MIN. AGE
Class III-IV
50 mi.
May 15-June 5
Age 10+
Class II-III
50 mi.
May 15-June 5
Age 10+
Class II-IV
100 mi.
May 15-June 5
Age 10+
Class II-IV
168 mi.
May 15-June 5
Age 10+

Dolores River Rafting

Overall rating:


★★★★★


4.7
based on

9
reviews

5
1

Thanks


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Just wanted to take a minute and thank you for the outstanding 3-day trip we took on the Dolores River a few weeks ago. It was exciting to be on the river when the water was high. Your menu selection was far and above anything we were expecting- we had in mind hot dogs and potato salad and you provided smoked oysters, lasagna, burritos, fresh fruit, etc. We had a great time and would like to try again in the near future. We will also pass along our highest recommendations to anyone who asks. Thanks again for providing a great time.

Apprehensive


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
This was a great trip and a lot of fun. Having had a bad experience in the past, I was a little apprehensive about going. But after all was said and done, I had a great time and would do it again.

Thanks


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
I recently took a 3-day rafting trip down the Dolores River and am writing a brief note of thanks to you, Thomas, Sarge, Koni, and the entire Wilderness Aware organization. I had a tremendous time and immensely enjoyed the Dolores River and the beautiful country through which we traveled. Every facet of the trip was well planned, organized, and executed. Further, I was impressed with the seriousness and professionalism exhibited by all 3 guides while the party rafted down the river. The attitude exhibited made it readily apparent that safety is a priority with Wilderness Aware. At camp, all three of the guides busted their humps to make sure we were well fed and comfortable. I must admit that at times I felt a bit of a prima donna. I cannot wait till next summer. I will be back.

We’ll be back!


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
I am writing to rave about the 6-day rafting trip that I participated in through your company. The trip was run on the Dolores River and was absolutely amazing. The scenery itself was breathtaking, however the guides Mark Rob and Eric made the trip into much much more. The guides were continually bending over backwards to make the trip everything the guests wanted it to be. Some of my favorite parts of the trip were from the unplanned side hikes, where we were able to explore some of the side canyons that did not run directly along the river. The rafting was amazing—I had only been rafting once before in my life—the food was extraordinary (I didn’t know that you could make lasagna in the middle of the wilderness). I especially liked the tent side coffee service! The guides were extremely laid back and funny, however I had 100% confidence that they would be able to handle an emergency, if one were to arise (me falling into the river for example-they had me safely out of the river in a few seconds). The guides were continually trying to educate the guests (those who were interested that is) about the river and how to guide the boats through the whitewater. You could tell the guides were having a good time—it was extremely contagious. Thanks again for a great trip—I will definitely be back next year (hopefully for the 10-dqy trip) I’m also going to rave about your company to anyone who will listen. It was a fantastic trip. Thanks again.

Feedback


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
I want to give you a little more feedback on our 6-day trip down the Dolores Canyon than I could on the forms we filled out on the van. This trip is one that all of us will remember (and talk about) for years to come. The Dolores Canyon has to be one of Colorado’s treasures that very few people know about. I feel very fortunate that we were able to run it, especially in view of the low volumes of water released each year. Of equal importance in making this a trip to remember was the crew! All of the guys, Dude, Nate , Hollywood) were terrific. They were mature beyond their years, yet still had their youthful enthusiasm that was so contagious. Their first concern was always our safety, comfort, and enjoyment. Each guide had their own unique personality, but hey worked extremely well together as a team. Thank you for accommodating our requests for OJ, half and half, and all the fresh fruits and vegetables. These little extras added to the overall excellent quality of the meals. The lunches, which could have been rather dull, were especially appreciated. Again, thank you all for a most memorable trip! I think several of us are interested in running he Gunnison River with you—maybe next year.

Gained Weight


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
This past weekend, eight friends and I had the pleasure of running the Dolores River with guides Thomas, Koni, and Sarge. The trip was an exceptional experience. Those 3 gentlemen were highly professional, well organized, entertaining, and most importantly very safe. They were also good cooks. I think I gained weight. I was impressed by their attention to detail, their knowledge of the local terrain, plants, and wildlife. They could not have done a better job, and I thought it appropriate to let you know. I hope that you commend them on a job well done. Thanks you for running a first class organization. I can’t say that I can pull this group together next year to run another Colorado River, but if I do, you can be certain that I will request that they be our guides. Thanks again for the wonderful trip.

10 Day


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★☆

4


5


1
Everything was fantastic!!! The hikes were a real surprise and were absolutely delightful. It was my first time rafting and I loved every minute of it. Food was unbelievable! Better than what I fix at home! …Congratulations to all of you! PS.Have the boatmen bring a pair of binoculars for the hikes.

Fantastic adventure


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★☆

4


5


1
I thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days rafting together—especially the great food and good companionship. I hope to do it again, maybe next year. Please say hello to Jeff.

Sahara Desert Rafting


Dolores River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Now that we have returned home to the Philadelphia area and have settled in again, I wanted to write a review concerning our raft trip earlier this month. The Colorado beauty has to be experienced to be appreciated. Living in the midst of it 24 hours a day is the only way to take it all in. Your itinerary provided a great opportunity to do so. As impressed as we were with Colorado, your crew really made an impression on us. I think they had the ability to make a raft trip through the Sahara Desert a memorable experience. They did an unbelievable job. Even during the toughest periods of the trip they remained spirited and enthusiastic. It was obvious they enjoyed their work and the nature around them. Each of the three had their own special talent and didn’t hesitate to share it with us. The food was unbelievably great. We still marvel at how they prepared gourmet feasts under such primitive conditions. With 3 kids, we were quite concerned as to how they would deal with the trip. Cindy, our 10 year old is ready to do it again. The guides did a splendid job on the last day keeping them occupied and enthusiastic, even when some adults were getting a little tired. We have traveled extensively and it is a rare instance that we are privileged to experience the professionalism exhibited by your guides.

Maps Dolores River, McPhee Reservoir to the Colorado River Confluence – Whitewater Rafting!

This map gives an overview of the trip from the McPhee Reservoir  to the confluence of the Colorado River in Utah. The traverse of the Dolores takes one through an area as interesting for its history as for its rare natural beauty. It is not known who named the Rio de Nuestra Senora de las Dolores (River of our Lady of Sorrows) and when they did so, but the Spaniards knew it by that name when Dominquez and Escalante joined it near the present day town of Dolores, Colorado on August 11, 1776. Click on an outlined section to see details including rapid names. Printer friendly souvenir-quality low-resolution or high-resolution versions of this map are great to bring along when visiting us.

Dolores River map

Pre-Trip Information Ponderosa Gorge Slick Rock Canyon Gateway Canyon

Water Flow Levels for Dolores River

USGS waterflow reporting for the Dolores. Blue line is last seven days and yellow triangles are historical medians.  Measured near Slick Rock, Colorado

Photos of the Dolores River as well as the other river we raft, area wildlife, our staff and many more.

The traverse of the Dolores takes one through an area as interesting for its history as for its rare natural beauty. It is not known who named the Rio de Nuestra Senora de las Dolores (River of our Lady of Sorrows) and when they did so, but the Spaniards knew it by that name when Dominquez and Escalante joined it near the present day town of Dolores, Colorado on August 11, 1776. They were searching for a northern route to the California missions. The unspoiled character encountered by Dominquez and Escalante remains today.

The Dolores River is located about 30 miles northwest of Cortez Colorado, home of Mesa Verde National Park. It is west of Telluride and Durango and within easy driving distance.

Learn More at:

Directions

Directions to the
Dolores River

Our Dolores River trips meet in Cortez, CO, with a short shuttle to the departure point.

Packing List

Packing List and
Pre-Trip Information

Complete lists of what to bring, what we provide, where to meet, policies, rental costs and info.

 

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What Our Guests Say:

I love the staff!! Very entertaining and welcoming. This was a great rafting experience. I want to come back tomorrow and do it again!
Bailey W.
This company is quality. Six years ago I did the same trip with Jack, Ian, and Kelly and the quality is as good today.
Chris G.
We have rafted round the world and this is by far the best—best trained guides, best safety, best food, best fun. Thanks.
Jane H.
This was my first rafting experience and you guys made it awesome! Thank you so much!
Jamie L.
I would like to commend your staff on their great teamwork and enthusiasm. This was the highlight of our trip to Arizona.
Michele E.
I work in safety – wish I could get all our regional safety folks to present their safety meetings with the same enthusiasm and professionalism.
Karla S.
We had an awesome time. I would definitely recommend your company!
Leona H.
Pete was great. Extremely friendly and he took great care of us and really put our group first. Our trip was relaxing and fun!
Erin L.
Good job, as usual. Our 5th or 6th trip with WA. Big fans of WA.
Tim S.
I want to raft again and again and well you get the point…again.
Levi V.
Sarah, our guide, was the consummate professional.
Becky M.
When I made our reservation I knew we were going to have a fantastic time. Everything that happened today exceeded my expectations.
Mark E.
I started rafting at WA in 1999 and have always had a good time. I highly recommend WA to anyone who wants to raft.
Marty E.
Very professional yet very informal approach—not an easy combination to sustain—nice team—office included.
Mark W.
The trip, your people, your facility never get old.
Fred P.
From the enthusiastic greetings when we arrived at the office this am, all service was top notch.
John D.
Appreciate your professional and fun staff! Will definitely return next year!
Dana Q.
We’ve been with a lot of different rafting companies over the years and we have never used the same company twice but everyone on the trip agreed that your company is the best!
Lisa P.
Been rafting six times around the country. Best trip and guide so far.
James H.
We started rafting with you in 1988. This is our fourth trip. Will be back.
Jim L.
We had an awesome time! All staff we dealt with were very personable and helpful. I can’t imagine anything you could do to improve!
Rusty B.
Family friend always said Wilderness Aware Rafting was the best. I totally agree!
Angie D.
Your internet advertising was great. People who answered the phone very helpful and the guides top notch. Seems like your manager has done a wonderful job. I see why you are a successful company.
Phil G.
Best time I’ve had on the river in the past 15 years!!!! Will return soon!!!
Dylan S.
This was the highlight of our trip to Colorado!
Beth G.
The entire staff from reservations to first contact to trip guide was friendly and helpful. Our Scouts had an outstanding time!
Ken T.
We feel we have found new friends in Wilderness Aware and plan on spending time in the future with you.
Susie S.
I loved my experience at WA and will definitely be back with more people.
Cory D.
You are great to work with and your guides are fun to be around and well trained. Each experience I’ve had with you (3) has been excellent.
Dawn R.
This trip surpassed all of my expectations.
Amy B.
Matt was the most enthusiastic and exciting guide I have ever had… and I have done this a lot.
Carl M.
Thanks for the great time on the river. You do a super job of taking care of your crews.
Jan P.
We booked our trip cold off the internet and found from the very beginning a very friendly and courteous staff that helped out and answered all our questions.
Carolyn W.
It was the best first experience in rafting. Ben was awesome!! Five stars!
Kirby S.
Frenchie was the best guide I’ve ever had! This is a great company and I will definitely be telling friends about it!
Jamin R.
I have rafted with other companies before but I found your company and Mike, our guide, to be outstanding! I will be back!
Joe M.
One of the best times of my life!
Dylnn R.
Very pleasant and enjoyable experience. Rafted four other times and this was the best.
Linda H.
Sarah was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and very fun! Best trip ever, even the low water! We will be back again!
Barbara L.
Your staff and guides were so helpful and so much fun. My kids ranked that half-day trip as the highlight of our month long trip!
Patty G.

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