Colorado River Rafting Ultimate Guide




The Arkansas River attracts rafting enthusiasts from around the world, making it the world’s most popular whitewater rafting location. Raft Browns Canyon and the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas.


The North Platte is one of Colorado’s only remaining free-flowing white water rivers.


From its official start near Almont, CO the Gunnison transforms from mild whitewater to extremely technical and back again.


The Dolores is a classic western river, unspoiled, with a majestic desert backdrop.


Flowing through meadows, valleys, and canyons, the Upper Colorado offers up mellow, scenic float trips & intense whitewater. This is a great river for guests coming from Vail. 


The Salt River is a hidden whitewater gem nestled among the cliffs and towering saguaro of central Arizona.

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We have listed a recommended outfitter on every commercially raftable section of every river in Colorado.
Our recommendation is based on insider knowledge of Colorado’s quality rafting companies. Some sections of river don’t have outfitters
recommended for then and this is usually due to limits such as lack of rapids, development, or lack of access.

If a river has an outfitter, we have a suggestion! Please browse this site to discover the best place to go to rafting in
Colorado not only with a recommended outfitter but you can also discover all the details you need to
know to run all Coloroado’s rivers on your own. More details like maps, photos and planning resources are available.


Tucked in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. Offers both advanced and mild whitewater.


Located near Summit County in North Central Colorado. Short trip length packed with fast-paced rapids.

Cache La Poudre

Close to Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado. Offers challenging whitewater as well as mild family trips.

Clear Creek

Closest whitewater to Denver in Central Colorado. Technical, fast-paced whitewater in a variety of trip lengths.

Colorado (Lower)

Located in East Central Colorado, running west into Utah. Ruby-Horsethief and Westwater Canyon are popular stretches.


Near Vail in Central Colorado. This early season river has short sections of action-packed whitewater.


Located the unspoiled country of Northwest Colorado. Raft the Gates of Lodore section through gorgeous Dinosaur National Monument.


Remotely located in Southwest Colorado. Fast-paced whitewater can be found on both the Upper and Lower sections.

Rio Grande

Located in South Central Colorado. Trip vary in length and difficulty as this famous river begins its long journey high in the Rocky Mountains.

Roaring Fork

Near Aspen in Central Colorado. Beginner to advanced rafting trips available.

San Juan

Located in Southwest Colorado near Pagosa Springs. This river offers fantastic short trips as well as extended adventures.

San Miguel

Remotely located in West Central Colorado near Telluride. Mild rapids surrounded by high country mountain scenery and sandstone canyons.

South Platte

Located in Central Colorado. The Upper section is nestled in the mountains, while the lower section runs through urban Denver.


Tucked quietly in Central Colorado near Crested Butte. Fantastic, quick and exciting rapids as well as mild whitewater define this short river.


Located in West Central Colorado. Start out with steep technical whitewater before transitioning into more laid-back rapids.


Near Steamboat Springs in Northwest Colorado. This long and diverse river floats through the stunning Dinosaur National Monument.


  • Great rafting outfitter. We did a half-day whitewater trip in the afternoon, and planning-wise it went very smoothly. (Though the water was indeed rough!) Wilderness... read more

    Will Athol Avatar
    Will Athol

    I have rafted with Wilderness Aware several times and have had a blast every time! Their office is clean, the people are incredibly nice and... read more

    camille flournoy Avatar
    camille flournoy

    The Overland Summers crew and I took a two day rafting trip down the Arkansas River. All guides were very kind and safety was their... read more

    Luke Duckworth Avatar
    Luke Duckworth
  • My experience here was great because Bret was out guide (and also an ex-student/runner I used to coach).

    Skeeter Rankins Avatar
    Skeeter Rankins

    This outfitter is great. Well worth the money. We left at 9, floated until lunch then floated after lunch until about 4. Breakfast and lunch... read more

    Neal Bellamy Avatar
    Neal Bellamy

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