Colorado is home to some of the best white water rafting in the United States. The vast amounts of snow that fall in the winter melt in the Spring and early Summer. This snowfall feeds the rivers and waterways below the Rockies and provides amazing white water rafting conditions in sections from May – September. Some of the best rivers for white water rafting in Colorado include:


Best Rivers For Whitewater Rafting in Colorado 

Arkansas River

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River and is fueled by the snowmelt of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. As the sixth longest river in the United States, the river stretches 1,469 miles and provides exhilarating white knuckle whitewater rafting through sections like Browns Canyon National Monument, The Numbers and Pine Creek.

Is Beginner Whitewater Rafting Available on the Arkansas River?

Yes! The Arkansas River provides various classes of rapids from Level I to Level V. Regardless of the skill level of your party, the Arkansas River provides a memorable and fun experience for all rafters regardless of skill level.

A family friendly favorite on the Arkansas River is the Browns Canyon National Monument section. The minimum age for this section is 7 years old. The Family Float is a beginner whitewater rafting trip for those four and older.

Advanced Whitewater Rafting Near Denver, CO

Pine Creek on the Arkansas River is an eleven mile float with class V rapids. Class V rapids involve violent waters that are intended for well-trained and experienced rafters. This demanding section of the Arkansas River provides a serious challenge to experienced rafters across the globe.

Located roughly two hours away from Denver, CO – Pine Creek provides the thrill seekers fix for a day or overnight trip from Denver. The Arkansas River provides varying difficulty that is considered one of the best rivers for whitewater rafting in Colorado.

What City is the Arkansas River Close To?

Buena Vista is the main launching point to the Arkansas River in Colorado. Several impressive stretches of the Arkansas River are located within a few minutes drive from Buena Vista. Browns Canyon is easily accessible and provides impressive views of the Browns Canyon National monument.

The Arkansas River is the sixth longest river in the United States and spans numerous states and cities including Pueblo, CO Wichita KS, Little Rock, AR and Tulsa, OK.



Animas River

The Animas River is a popular whitewater rafting river. Located in Southern Colorado, the Animas River is a tributary of the Colorado River System and is easily accessible through Durango, CO. Durango is roughly seven hours away from Denver by car.

The Animas River provides Class III – Class V rapids to whitewater rafting enthusiasts in Southwest Colorado.

Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the largest and famous rivers in the United States. With whitewater sections accessible in the Rocky Mountains, the Colorado River provides beautiful scenic rafting trips from half day to multi-day trips.

How To Find the Best Rafting Company in Colorado?

It is important to perform research on a rafting company. Ensure that the rafting company you go with matches the adventure you and your group is looking for. Different sections of the same waterway can offer different levels of rapids and those that are unfamiliar with whitewater rafting, should find a whitewater rafting outfit that provides the skill level that best suits the adventure desired.

Additionally, review the business’ reviews on reputable outlets like Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. Read the positive reviews and more importantly, read the negative reviews before booking an adventure. Following these tips will help any party to find one of the best rivers and best companies for whitewater rafting in Colorado.