Many people feel that Aspen is Colorado’s most beautiful mountain town. A popular ski destination in the Rockies, Aspen is also known for dining, nightlife, art galleries, shopping and for its rich and famous residents. The town is also home to the spectacular Maroon Bells, one of the most picturesque and most photographed mountain ranges in the world.
In addition to skiing, Aspen offers a wealth of warm-weather outdoor activities. And when it comes to outdoor adventures, white water rafting in Colorado is one of the best, most exciting and funnest adventures of all!
Highside Adventures Tours offers a number of white water rafting options, our closest being a variety of trips down the famous Shoshone Rapids in Glenwood Springs, where we also guide zipline adventures on our high ropes course at Glenwood Canyon Resort. The resort is less than one hour from Aspen, and is near world-famous hot springs — a perfect way to finish your day! View the map on this page to see your route to Glenwood Springs from Aspen.
Whitewater rafting the Arkansas River can be the adventure of a lifetime or a relaxing, scenic river trip — it’s your choice. A Colorado rafting trip on the Arkansas can accommodate all ages, all skill levels and all preferences, from a calm and relaxing beginner trip to exhilarating and challenging whitewater rapids.
From Aspen, whitewater rafters for Arkansas River trips meet at our Buena Vista basecamp. A gorgeous 1.5-hour drive from Aspen, the ride takes you over Independence Pass, one of the highest paved passes in North America, and includes some amazing scenery along the way. The drive showcases the Collegiate Peaks, which is the largest collection of 14,000-foot mountains (“Fourteeners”) in the continental U.S. and one of the top 10 prettiest drives in America.
We encourage you to take your time to thoroughly enjoy the drive, making this incredibly scenic trip a part of your white water rafting in Colorado adventure.
From Aspen to Buena Vista, take Colorado Highway 82 east over Independence Pass. Take a right onto Hwy 24, and head east toward Buena Vista. We’re located two miles south of Buena Vista on the left hand side of Hwy 24. You can also view directions by clicking the map on this page.
Following your rafting adventure, you may want to explore all Buena Vista and its surroundings have to offer. Quite different from the Aspen experience, Buena Vista (“B.V.” to the locals) is rustic and largely undeveloped with nothing glitzy or fancy about it. However, like Aspen, the surroundings are beautiful. Don’t miss a soak in Cottonwood Hot Springs or Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, both just minutes outside of town.
Glenwood Springs’ Shoshone Rapids definitely offer the most convenient whitewater paddling to Aspen, and they’re exciting, no doubt! The Arkansas River is an adventurous choice if the scenic drive sounds like it would be part of the fun for your group. Enroute between Aspen and Denver, your choices also include: