Ages 7+ | Intermediate | Allow 3 hours
With the perfect balance of thrills and beauty, it’s no wonder why this is the #1 rafting trip in Colorado!
With well over 100 miles of raftable waters ranging from Class I Floats to Class V white-knuckled adventures, it’s no wonder that the Arkansas River is the top destination for white water rafting in Colorado! Whether your looking for a unique way to enjoy the amazing Rocky Mountain scenery or if an adrenaline packed thrill ride is more your style, let our highly trained professional guides lead you on an adventure that you won’t soon forget!
Experience some of our all time favorite rafting adventures!
Whitewater trips appropriate for ‘little adventurers’!
Enjoy steep drops, big waves, and nonstop action!
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Whitewater rafting is the ultimate summertime activity, and the Arkansas River is the most popular white water destination in the state. Carving its way through the high country, this river is known for delivering exhilarating rapids that are surrounded by stunning views! Rafting through the Arkansas River is perfect for families, adventure seekers, large groups, or individuals looking to explore white water rafting in Colorado. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline rush or a relaxing, gorgeous float, our rafting adventures have the perfect trip for you!
This exciting stretch of the Arkansas River in Colorado is not for the faint of heart. Class IV-V rapids await paddlers on The Numbers. The route gets its name from the nearly continuous rapids that — in a good way — barely give you enough time to soak in the stunning scenery lining the route.
With numerous rocks and narrow curves, The Numbers are highly technical. You can expect to work hard, elevate your heart rate, and test your limits. This trip is best for intermediate to advanced paddlers.
If visiting all of the national monuments is on your bucket list, check this one off in unique fashion by rafting through it! In 2015, President Obama designated 21,586 acres of the Colorado wilderness as the Browns Canyon National Monument, helping conserve this section of the Arkansas River so that it can be enjoyed by anglers and white water rafters for generations to come. Browns Canyon stretches from Buena Vista to Salida, and ranges in elevation from 7,300 to 10,000 feet.
There are more than 10 named rapids along this stretch, with some of the most iconic being: Zoom Flume, Big Drop, and Toilet Bowl. They range from class II-III, making it one of the most popular stretches for rafting in Colorado. It is just enough action to keep the adventure-seekers entertained, while not overwhelming those who are mostly along for the ride and scenery.
The Royal Gorge is the only place where you can raft under the highest suspension bridge in the U.S., and one of the highest in the world, the Royal Gorge Bridge. This bridge near Canon City, Colorado is a popular tourist destination, and it’s fun to wave to those walking across the 1,270-foot bridge standing 955 feet above you.
This section of the Arkansas River is challenging but gives enough downtime for you to take in the impressive bridge and sky-high canyon walls. Enjoy adventurous class III-IV rapids before and after your bridge sightseeing.
The Gorge is easily accessible from Colorado Springs and Pueblo, yet it feels as though it’s in the middle of nowhere. You can even combine rafting and visiting the suspension bridge in the same trip to make the most of your Royal Gorge experience.
Tucked in the northwest corner of Colorado, this trip offers some of the best white water rafting and sightseeing in the state. You’ll paddle through class III-IV rapids on two impressive rivers and get to explore Dinosaur National Monument which stretches across the Colorado border into Utah.
The Yampa and Green rivers curl through an area of archeological phenomena, fossils, and American Indian rock petroglyphs. Rafters have a lot to take in on this trip, including unique geological formations, sandy beaches, and plenty of sunshine.
This stretch is perfect for history buffs who will enjoy floating past significant rock formations such as the Grand Overhang, Cleopatra’s Couch, and Tiger Wall.
A rafting trip wouldn’t be complete without spotting the official state animal: the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Chances are high that you’ll spot a herd or two while rafting through Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
A day in this section of the Arkansas River Valley can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities, making it a popular choice for families. The rapids are all class II-III, including Five Points, Spikebuck, and Shark’s Tooth.
Eastbound between Salida and Canon City, Bighorn Sheep Canyon winds through a gorgeous high-desert landscape with plenty of wildlife. Kids and adults revel in spotting different animals and getting splashed.
In Colorado’s southwest, the Animas River is famous for its technical class IV and V rapids which steal the spotlight as some of the most challenging commercially rafted segments in the entire country. However, there is a big difference between the Upper and Lower Animas River trips. Rafting the Lower Animas is great for kids and beginners, while the Upper Animas is where you’ll find some of the most challenging rafting.
The charming mining town of Durango serves as a delightful backdrop to the river as it snakes right through town, and you should take the opportunity for a drive or hike in the San Juan Mountains while you’re there. But first — rapids such as Smelter, Santa Rita, Pinball, and Sawmill await you.
The Cache la Poudre River is Colorado’s first and only federally designated National Wild and Scenic River. The designation helps preserve this incredible river for future generations and solidifies its high natural, cultural, and recreational value.
Easily accessed from just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, this river includes a taste of everything for everyone, with rapids ranging from class III to IV. Beginner and intermediate white water rafters can all experience plenty of excitement while floating among the beautiful jagged peaks and sprawling meadows of northern Colorado.
Keep in mind that conditions for all of the best Colorado white water rafting trips vary depending on the previous winter conditions and what time of year you decide to go. As the summer passes, rapid ratings tend to drop with the water level. However, lower water can also mean an increase in exposed rocks, making the paddling more technical.
When you are planning your next fun vacation, we know you don’t want to stress out about renting a bunch of gear, or relying on final confirmation from flaky friends to avoid cancellation fees. With American Adventure Expeditions, you can cancel more than 72 hours before your trip departure and receive a full refund. If it’s just a trip change you need, we’ll make it happen at no additional cost, based on availability. We also offer free wetsuits, splash jackets, and river shoes so you don’t have to add weight to your suitcase!
People come to Denver from all over the world to ski and hike in the Rocky Mountains, but forget to take advantage of the beauty and adventure that flows in our rivers. White water rafting allows visitors to experience Colorado and the Arkansas River in a uniquely awesome way.
If you’d prefer to do your rafting without too much white water, we can make that happen. Our family float option is great for kids and beginners. You’ll still get to spend the day outside on the water, and enjoy the sights in a calmer setting with little to no rapids.
If excitement is what you’re after, there is certainly plenty of that to go around as well. We’ll have you paddling through the thrilling rapids of The Numbers and experiencing huge white water that will have you laughing and wanting more. You can expect to have fun and get wet!