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Are you looking for white water rafting near Denver, CO? We got you covered! The Colorado Adventure Center is the premier base camp for Denver white water rafting. Specializing in beginner, intermediate, and advanced rafting trips near Denver. Conveniently located approximately 20 miles from the Denver Metro Area.

Denver, CO has all the great amenities of a major city plus white water rafting trips only a short drive away. Enjoy a Colorado dog at the Rockies game, check out one of the many amazing museums, and don’t miss out on a brewery tour through Denver’s thriving craft beer scene. Part of Denver’s charm is the big city experiences and its proximity to amazing adventures in the Rocky Mountains. A trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without making the short drive to the mountains for a white water rafting adventure!




The Clear Creek Beginner raft trip offers lots of easy white water rapids and terrific views. A perfect choice for first timers, families and groups with varying ability levels.

A Clear Creek Beginner river rafting trip is the perfect adventure for the entire family! This trip offers up plenty of white water rapids, beautiful scenery and some peaceful float water. You’ll have a blast splashing through Class II-III rapids where we’ll help you develop your paddling skills. Relax as you meander through the historic mining town of Idaho Springs past the Argo Gold Mine and Charlie Taylor waterwheel. Keep an eye out for wildlife in the canyons surrounding you as you enjoy your Colorado adventure. This is a fabulous trip for first timers, families and large groups with varying ability levels.

River Class
Class II-III

7 years old / 50 pounds subject to change with river and weather conditions

Meeting Time
30 minutes prior to trip time

Meeting Location
Idaho Springs Basecamp
2697 Stanley Road, Idaho Springs, CO 80452


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Our most popular trip! A great choice for experienced paddlers or aggressive first timers. This intermediate half day trip offers challenging nonstop Class IV and V rapids white water and fabulous views.

The Clear Creek Intermediate raft trip is a great choice for experienced paddlers or aggressive first timers craving the thrill and challenge of white water. From the very start of this adventure at our private put-in, be prepared for white water action. This trip will definitely get you wet and your adrenaline pumping while paddling through “Nomad”, “Fall River” and “Deliverance” rapids. Ramp up the excitement level with the grand finale Class IV “Outer Limits”, then enjoy your journey through the historic gold mining town of Idaho Springs.

River Class
Class IV and V rapids

Minimum age 14 years subject to change with river conditions. We recommend but don’t require the ability to swim.

Meeting Time
30 minutes prior to trip time

Meeting Location
Idaho Springs Basecamp
2697 Stanley Road, Idaho Springs, CO 80452


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This is the most extreme, steep and technical stretch of Clear Creek for experienced paddlers only. With very little time to warm up, rafters drop right into Class IV-V white water that is fast and furious.

The Clear Creek Advanced raft trip is for experienced paddlers only. With very little time to warm up, rafters drop right into Class IV-V white water that is fast, wild and non-stop! The names of the rapids such as “Guide Ejector”, “Hell’s Corner”, Double Knife” and “Terminator” give you a glimpse of what to expect. This is the most extreme, steep and technical stretch of Clear Creek that requires the ability to swim, strong physical conditioning and prior experience. For those up to the challenge, you will not be disappointed!

River Class
Class IV-V

16 years minimum age with prior rafting experience and ability to swim is required

Meeting Time
30 minutes prior to trip time

Meeting Location
Idaho Springs Basecamp
2697 Stanley Road, Idaho Springs, CO 80452


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As one of the first outfitters to take guests paddling on Clear Creek, we have years of experience and have developed a special affection for this waterway’s narrow, technical nature. The Creek shoots out of the Colorado mountains high atop the Continental Divide and rushes toward Denver at a steady clip. It’s rafting in Colorado as you’d expect it…exhilarating and stunning at the same time.

The closest white water rafting trips to Denver can be found on Clear Creek

Our most popular and exciting rafting trips are on Clear Creek, which is just a 35-minute drive from downtown Denver. The Colorado Adventure Center’s Idaho Springs Base Camp is located on the banks of the Upper Clear Creek intermediate section. Rafting trips near Denver are available for anyone and everyone, from beginner river floaters to intermediate river runners and beyond. Whether you’re traveling with young children or great-grandparents, rafting trips offered by the Colorado Adventure Center are appropriate for the whole family. Beginners and advanced paddlers can find the perfect trip on this section of white water just minutes from Denver.

The Colorado Adventure Center offers full day, half day, and happy hour adventure packages. If you don’t have a full day to play in the mountains, a half day or happy hour trip could be the perfect white water rafting adventure to fit into your Denver itinerary. The close proximity of the Colorado Adventure Center’s Base Camp to Denver allows you to enjoy the city and a white water rafting adventure in the same day!

Want to find out more information about our Denver rafting trips? Call 877-947-7238 to book your trip or learn more.


The best thing about running rivers in Colorado is the wide variety of difficulty levels you can choose from. White water rafting in Colorado has something for everyone from young children to experienced white water enthusiasts. When choosing a white water raft trip, you should always keep in mind the ability of every member of your group. It is a good idea to choose an adventure that is geared to the person with the lowest ability level. Remember, every river adventure is fun, even the most mellow experience. Rafting rivers is more than just wild white water and extreme excitement; it is the total experience that creates memories of a lifetime. A positive Colorado white water rafting experience can include white water excitement as well as wildlife, beautiful views, rich history told by knowledgeable guides and, most of all, enjoying a comfortable experience with friends and family. Keeping this in mind, it might be necessary to adjust your expectations to accommodate everyone’s comfort levels.

This will begin to help you choose the trip best suited to your group’s abilities.

Our staff has years of experience helping our guests select the very best adventures so please email us today at info@coloradoadventurecenter.com or call us at 877-947-7238. Your Colorado adventure awaits and is closer than you think! 

Colorado Adventure Center offers white water rafting adventures for every experience level, from scenic float trips on which you get a chance to view wildlife or sit quietly listening to nature, to heart-stopping white water rapids with crashing waves and vigorous paddling. To enhance your rafting experience, why not get familiar with Clear Creek and the class of rapids you will be navigating. Here is a little history on Clear Creek and its different sections of white water.

Clear Creek is the 2nd most rafted river in Colorado, and for good reason. With more rapids per mile than any other river in Colorado, Clear Creek offers world class rafting conveniently located just 40 minutes from Downtown Denver. Clear Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 66 miles long. The creek flows through Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains, directly west of Denver, and descends through a long gorge where it emerges on the Colorado Eastern Plains and eventually joins the South Platte River. Clear Creek is unusual because it is actually a stream, but named a “creek” and is fed by stream called a “river” – the Fall River, which empties into Clear Creek along I-70 west of Idaho Springs.

Clear Creek is famous for its location as one of the most intense early gold mining hot spots during the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859. Clear Creek also provided the route for the Colorado Central Railroad and later, U.S. Highway 6 and I-70.

The Clear Creek riverbed is composed of blasted river rock as a result of the gold mining industry. This is what creates the rumbling rapids through Clear Creek Canyon as water flows over river rock and makes for challenging raft trips as you navigate through these giant boulders and class II – IV rapids. Appropriately named by French hunters on the Stephen H. Long expedition as early as 1820, Clear Creek was originally called Cannonball Creek – after the oversized river rock. In the 1830s, Clear Creek became known as Vasquez Fork and later, Vasquez River, after fur trader Louis Vasquez who built his fort at the mouth of Clear Creek and trapped along it. Clear Creek officially gained its present name from the gold rushers in 1859.

Kayakers discovered Clear Creek in the 1950s, but were chase away with the construction of I-70. Then, in 1989, commercial rafting kicked off on Clear Creek and has since become one of Colorado’s most popular white water rafting and kayaking destinations.

Clear Creek has an average gradient of 67 feet per mile and over 100 feet per mile on its advanced sections – simply meaning more rapids per mile. Clear Creek is divided into different sections according to class of rapids from perfect beginner rapids to thrilling intermediate and heart-racing advanced sections. Here at Colorado Adventure Center’s Idaho Springs Base Camp, Clear Creek typically runs from Class II to Class IV rapids, providing fast-paced, exciting white water conveniently located along I-70. Colorado Adventure Center runs beginner rafting trips between Idaho Springs and Two Bears Tap and Grill (previously historic Kermits), and intermediate and advanced trips along the neighboring historic mining towns of Dumont and Lawson.

A little further up the the hill from Denver, the Upper Clear Creek runs Class IV and V rapids, offering exhilarating white water that is both fast-paced and challenging. For even more of a challenge, the Lower Clear Creek Canyon, close to Golden, houses Class IV and V rapids. This exciting section of white water provides a great side raft trip just outside the city.. While fun to watch, this section is advanced, steep, technical, and demanding white water, and not for the faint of heart!

Now that you’ve learned a little history about Clear Creek and the types of rapids you will be cruising on, check out our raft trip pages and book your raft trip today!

The thrills and excitement of white water rafting are located just minutes from Denver and the Front Range, and an easy drive from Winter Park, Summit County and the Vail Valley. Conveniently located in Idaho Springs, the Colorado Adventure Center has access to some of the best white water in the state on Clear Creek. Perfect for families wanting to get away from the city for the afternoon or visitors from out of state searching for an authentic Colorado experience. Regardless of your skill level, our team at the Colorado Adventure Center strives to provide a white water experience that is fun, safe, exciting, and creates memories lasting a lifetime.

The Colorado Adventure Center operates its Colorado white water rafting trips from our beautiful base camp facility easily accessed off I-70. Our selection of trips and times allows you to pick the very best options for your white water rafting adventure in Colorado. We tell you what to bring, when and where to meet us, then we provide everything you need including transport to and from the river. Don’t worry, we’ve perfected the logistics so you can focus on the adventure!

This will begin to help you choose the trip best suited to your group’s abilities.

Our staff has years of experience helping our guests select the very best adventures so please email us today at info@coloradoadventurecenter.com or call us at 720-807-3250. Your Colorado adventure awaits and is closer than you think! 

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Now that you’ve learned a little history about Clear Creek and the types of rapids you will be cruising on, check out our raft trip pages and book your raft trip today!

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Do We Go Rafting If It's Raining?

The weather in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is very unpredictable and varies from mile to mile and minute to minute. Colorado averages over 300 days of sunshine a year. The odds are, the weather will be good. We run our Colorado white water rafting trips in all weather conditions, rain or shine, and have gear available to help keep you comfortable, even in the worst conditions. Wetsuits, neoprene booties, and splash tops can really make a big difference and make your trip a pleasurable one. Don’t forget, you’re going to get wet rafting, even on the sunniest of days. Weather is not a cause for cancellation.

Nope! Except for advanced, you can go white water rafting even if you can’t swim. Each person will be fitted with a Type-V Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (life jacket) to be worn while on the river at all times. This life jacket is designed to float the wearer on their back with their head out of the water. Guests are instructed on the proper use of this life jacket in a safety orientation talk before departure. It does help to have some knowledge of swimming, especially in some of the more aggressive sections.

We have a beautiful new basecamp facility and boathouse in Idaho Springs/Dumont right off of I-70 where we’ll meet, get you checked in, geared up, and introduce you to your guide. We provide location and directions in our reservation confirmation letter to you when you reserve your trip. Then, we take care of everything else, including transportation between the river and the basecamp. We are located at 2697 Stanley Road, Idaho Springs, CO 80452. You may call our office at 720-807-3250 for more specific directions to our basecamp.

All our guides go through extensive river training, basic first aid, CPR, and are certified by the state of Colorado. While anyone can fall out of the boat at any time, keep in mind that your chances of falling out of the raft do increase when rafting in a paddle boat and on more challenging sections of river. Rafting is an adventure sport and involves a degree of risk on the part of the participant. Although we take precautions to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip, we cannot be responsible for lost or damaged articles and/or personal injury. We require you to acknowledge these risks by reading and signing a liability release prior to departure. All children under the age of 18 must have signed release form from a parent or guardian. It is important for the group to choose a trip within their entire group’s limits. Read our Customer Responsibility Policy for more information. 

Altitude sickness can be a problem, especially for people coming to the mountains from sea level. To prevent altitude sickness, stay hydrated by drinking extra amounts of water, and stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Altitude sickness can be serious. You may experience an upset stomach, headaches, dizziness, or shortness of breath — please inform your guide so they are aware of your symptoms and can begin treatment as soon as possible.

Should We Tip Our Guide?

Our guides make a base wage similar to a bartender or wait person. General guidelines for tipping would be the same as for a bartender or a waitperson (~20%). Please do not feel obligated to tip, but if you do believe in tipping, and the guide has proven to do a great job, it is a nice way to express your appreciation, but only if you feel you had a safe, fun, and informative experience. If you did not have a pleasurable and adequate experience, we would appreciate it if you would please bring it to the attention of our management. Feedback and letters from our guests are greatly appreciated and helps us maintain the highest standard of customer service and appreciation.

You are going to get wet, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. Avoid cotton clothing, as it tends to get wet and stay wet – not to mention taking valuable warmth from your body’s surface. Bathing suits and shorts are recommended. Your best bet is loose, woven materials such as wool, polypro, fleece, micro fleece, polyester, waterproof jackets, and any other outdoor material that dries fast. Staying dry, or at least drying off fast, is the key to staying warm. Towels don’t do you much good because there is no way to keep them dry. There is limited space on the rafts, so you should limit what you bring to what you can wear. We provide wetsuits and have booties and splash tops available for rent. This equipment is designed to keep you warm and comfortable. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) and helmets are included with all rafting adventures. On some Colorado white water rafting trips, wetsuits are recommended and on others, wetsuits are required. This is to help keep you warm, comfortable and protected on your white water rafting trip.

Bring a few towels to leave in your car; you’ll be happy to have something to dry off with after white water rafting. Bring a change of dry clothes to leave in your car; our basecamps offer changing rooms so you can be comfortable after your Colorado raft adventure. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, sunglass straps and hats that protect from the sun. If you forget, our basecamps offer these items in the retail areas where our white water rafting trips meet. Bring water for pre-rafting and post-rafting hydration. Remember, you’re in the Colorado Rockies, and it’s important to stay hydrated! We also suggest bringing cash to tip your guide. Check out our “10 Tips for White Water Rafting Beginners” for more information!

This depends on what you’re interested in. If big, exciting water is what your group is looking for, then high-water season is the best time. June is traditionally high-water season. When rivers run at their peak, it can make for a big ride. Keep in mind some sections may close due to high water conditions. Most people enjoy normal run off-season, which is mid-June to early August. The water stays consistent and the days tend to be sunny and warm with the occasional afternoon rain shower. Water levels and weather are very unpredictable, so book a date that best suits the group and be prepared for the unexpected.

We require full payment at the time of reservation and our cancellation policy differs, depending on whether or not you have purchased Worry-Free Cancellation plan. We highly recommend purchasing Worry-Free Cancellation plan, as it allows you the flexibility you many need. Please click here to review our cancellation policy.

River and rapid classifications are another great way to determine the suitable age for a river trip for your group. Remember that classification can change with weather and water conditions.

  • Beginner = first timers, young children
  • Intermediate = aggressive first timers, teens
  • Advanced = experienced paddlers looking for an adventure

This River Rapids Class Rating System is strictly a subjective scale. You can characterize a rapid by class or give a general class to a whole river even though it has several different classes of rapids within it. The class of a rapid or river can change at different water levels. The temperature of the water, the air temperature, the remoteness of the river, and the difficulty of a rescue can all influence the rapid’s class.

  • Class I – Easy. Small riffles. No significant waves or obstacles.
  • Class II – Novice. Moderate rapids with regular waves, small drops, clear passages and wide channels. Occasional maneuvering may be required.
  • Class III – Intermediate. Moderately difficult rapids with larger irregular waves, often narrow channels. Complex maneuvering to avoid obstacles required.
  • Class IV – Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise maneuvering in fast, turbulent water. Complex channels with many significant obstacles to be avoided.
  • Class V – Expert. Extremely long violent or obstructed rapids, often following each other almost without interruption. Drops may have large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with difficult routes. Steep gradient.
  • Class VI – Unrunnable.

Classifications of river sections may change due to water levels. For information to help you choose a trip, or for any questions you might have please, call 1-720-807-3250 and our office personnel will be happy to assist you in putting together a river experience. Or, send us a message.

Cold weather gear is recommended and may be mandatory for some river adventures. Cold weather gear is not only for your comfort but also for your safety. Because of cold water and rocky river bottoms, wetsuits, footwear, and splash tops make a big difference. If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry; cold weather gear is available at all basecamp locations for a small rental fee.

We do not charge taxes on our services because we are not required to by law. We are, however, required to pay numerous fees to many local, regional and state organizations, including but not limited to the City of Idaho Springs, Clear Creek County, Division of Oil and Public Safety (OPS), Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Department of Revenue and our property owner.

In addition to those fees, our booking software and credit card fees charge a large percentage of each transaction. When weather cancels events, we eat this cost. If weather is not the cancellation reason, however, we must charge the customer to recoup that cost.

In addition, we are a voluntary member of numerous local, state and national organizations that offer regulatory and strategic support to us as an outfitter. These membership costs are not included in our fees but they do provide additional layers of safety and professionalism that not all outfitters adhere to but we are committed to following. These include: Colorado River Outfitter’s Association (CROA), America Outdoors (AO), Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) and more. 

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