If you’re planning a summer trip to Colorado, remember to pack your splash gear and sense of adventure!
The Colorado white water rafting season typically runs from late May through October. However, the best time to go whitewater rafting in Colorado is in June, July, and August when the weather and the water are at their warmest, especially for beginners, families, and mixed groups.
Colorado summers are an ideal setting for all sorts of outdoor adventures.
With an average of 300 days of sunshine throughout the year and ample snowmelt to keep the rivers running high, summertime in Colorado is truly a white water rafting paradise.
Keep reading to find out all about the best white water rafting in Colorado and when to plan your trip.
When Is the Colorado Rafting Season?
There’s no doubt that Rocky Mountain rivers provide some of the best white water rafting in Colorado for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Nonetheless, the exact timing of the Colorado white water rafting season varies from year to year, based on environmental factors like:
- River flow levels.
Some sections of the river may open earlier or later than others, depending on the water levels.
Here’s an overview of the Colorado rafting season and what you can expect on your white water rafting trip at different times of the year.
Early-Season Rafting in May and June
Early-season rafting in Colorado, which is typically in late May to early June, is characterized by colder water temperatures and high water flows. The snow is still melting in the mountains, and that means the rivers are running at their highest levels of the season.
The high water makes for an exciting and challenging rafting experience, with bigger rapids and faster currents. Rafters should be prepared to get wet and wear warm, quick-drying clothing and/or a wetsuit.
That being said, it’s important to note that early-season rafting may not be suitable for beginners and families with young children. Additionally, water levels often change from day to day, and certain sections of the river might not be open yet. It’s always best to check with local outfitters and guides for the most up-to-date information on river conditions and safety when booking your white water rafting trip.
Peak Rafting Season: June, July, and August
Nothing says summertime in Colorado like bluebird skies, a fresh alpine breeze, and long, warm days. Peak season rafting in Colorado takes place during the months of June, July, and August. The rivers have stabilized, and the water levels are typically lower. These factors make for a more moderate and manageable rafting experience, making mid-summer the best white water rafting in Colorado for beginners and families.
In addition, the water temperatures are a bit warmer during this time, although many of Colorado’s rivers are fed by snowmelt and tend to remain pretty chilly throughout the season. However, the weather is also considerably warmer, making it more comfortable for getting splashed or going swimming. What’s more, the Rocky Mountain scenery is at its best in mid-summer.
Peak season tends to be the busiest time of the year for white water rafting in Colorado, which means there will be more people on the river. Be that as it may, mid-summer is a fantastic time to experience the best of what Colorado rafting has to offer. Make sure to plan ahead and reserve your trip well in advance.
Late-Season Rafting in September and October
Late-season white water rafting in Colorado takes place during September and October. The water temperatures and river flows are generally lower than in the early and peak seasons, making for a more relaxed and scenic white water rafting experience.
Moreover, the changing foliage in early fall provides stunning views of the Rocky Mountain scenery from the river. Also, Colorado’s wildlife is often more active in the autumn, so there will likely be more opportunities to view the local fauna on your late-season white water rafting trip.
However, you will definitintely want to factor in the fact that the weather can be a bit more unpredictable during the fall months in Colorado, with a higher possibility of colder temperatures and rain. Warm, quick-drying layers and wetsuits are a must at this time of the year.
It’s also important to note that some sections of the river may be closed by this time and rafting companies often have limited availability for booking trips. As such, be sure to check with the local outfitters for the most up-to-date information on their:
- Current trip openings
- River conditions
- Safety information.
Best Time to Go Whitewater Rafting in Colorado
If you’re looking for the best white water rafting in Colorado, Clear Creek near Idaho Springs should be at the top of your bucket list.
When you book a white water rafting trip with Colorado Adventure Center, you’ll get to enjoy first-class views of the surrounding mountains and forests while you float the river and splash through the rapids. In addition, there will be plenty of opportunities to view the local wildlife and learn more about Colorado’s unique history from one of our expert guides.
Clear Creek features many different sections with various difficulty levels. The rapids range from beginner-friendly Class II-III to expert-level Class IV-V. As such, Colorado Adventure Center offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced white water rafting trips, so there’s something on offer for everyone to enjoy.
Idaho Springs is conveniently close to numerous Colorado hotspots. It’s located within an hour’s drive of Denver as well as many other Rocky Mountain resorts, such as:
- Copper Mountain
With convenient access to and from the airport, it’s the perfect place to launch your summertime mountain adventures!
Best White Water Rafting in Colorado for Beginners to Advanced
The outdoor adventure experts at Colorado Adventure Center are ready to help with whatever you need to plan your next trip to the Rockies. To make it a full day of non-stop fun and excitement during Colorado white water rafting season, check out our combo trips to add ziplining or a sky trek through the aerial adventure park to your rafting voyage. We’d love to welcome you on one of our trips soon!