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Adventures In Colorado: 5 Places To Go White Water Rafting

a group of people riding skis on top of a wave

Colorado offers a great many outdoor activities for the discerning sportsman or woman. The soaring peaks provide ideal skiing and snowboarding conditions; the thick forests supply ample opportunity for hikes of all sizes and lengths (not to mention the numerous zipline courses and zipline tours that carry you through the treetops); and the state’s 158 rivers offer whitewater rafting trips to delight and challenge adrenaline seekers of all experience levels.

Whitewater rafting is a favorite in the Centennial State. Depending on what you’re looking for (a simple float or a thrilling adventure) you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. Here are the top five rivers to go whitewater rafting on in the state of Colorado.

  • Colorado River: Unsurprisingly, the Colorado River is the state’s favorite and most famous river. Extending approximately 1,450 miles, it stretches through seven different states (and two more in Mexico) in addition to crossing through 11 national parks — you can just imagine the views.
  • Arkansas River: The versatility of this river attracts many people to it. It has every class of difficulty — Class I to Class V — depending on where you push off from. Since it’s not too far from Denver, it’s also extremely easy to access.
  • Clear Creek: Tourists tend to love Clear Creek because of its convenience — it’s located right off I-70, the popular mountain highway that leads to the ski resort towns of Vail and Breckenridge.
  • Roaring Fork River: If you’re staying in or near Aspen, this is the river for you. The top part of the river is called Slaughterhouse, a section of extreme rapids that is rarely commercially rafted.
  • Rio Grande River: Yes, that Rio Grande. The famous river begins in south-central Colorado and contains class difficulties of all levels.

Whitewater rafting is more than just a fix for adrenaline junkies; in fact, it garnered so much popularity in the 70s that it was introduced to the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. With six difficulty classes, the sport takes a lot of time and experience to master. If you’re visiting Colorado, why not find out what it’s like for yourself?