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Colorado River Rafting Trips: From Tame to Insane!

a group of people riding skis on a raft

Extending nearly 1,450 miles and winding through 11 of the United State’s national parks, the Colorado River is the Southwest’s solitary major river. For those eagerly planning their Colorado white water rafting trips, here’s some information to help you choose the best type of river rafting trip for you.

1. Family-Friendly.

This trip along the Lower Animas is ideal for families and larger-sized groups. It’s also appropriate for children four years of age and older.

On the Lower Animas ride, you’ll go through smaller Class II rapids along the way, and there’s a large rapid called Smelter at Santa Rita Park. Depending upon the height of the water at this point, it may be necessary to walk small children around this rapid. After passing Smelter, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted small-sized rapids and lovely views of majestic cottonwood trees and flourishing vegetation.

2. Adventure-Loving.

If you’re in the mood for a more adventurous trip, complete with spectacular scenery, the Upper Animas Raft ‘n’ Rail (“Middle-Upper) is what you’re looking for. This trip is more suitable for those who are at least moderately fit, and prior river rafting experience is recommended.

The adventure takes you to the San Juan National Forest of Southwest Colorado. Because there is no road access here, you’ll hop aboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway and ride through the majority of the Animas River Gorge. The water portion of the trip begins with the Broken Bridge rapid. Lots of additional Class III and Class IV rapids are right behind this one, and there are also some smoother sections of river and stops at historic landmarks. During May and early June, the high water season brings cooler temperatures along with large, wild rapids. The temperatures are typically warmer and the rapids are calmer in late July and August.

3. Holy-Moly!

Adrenaline seekers, hold on to your hats! White water rafting trips like this are geared toward individuals having above-average levels of fitness and endurance, previous experience with white water rafting, and proficient swimming skills. This is particularly important during May and early June, because it’s likely that you’ll portage at least one of the rapids. This means that you must have the ability to assist with carrying the boat. Based on the flows or the participants’ skill and fitness levels, 4 Corners Whitewater reserves the right to transfer individuals to a Middle-Upper rafting trip.

This wild one-day ride runs over 25 miles of Class III, Class IV, and Class IV rapids. You’ll also travel through the San Juan National Forest and have breathtaking views of nearby mountain peaks measuring 14,000 feet. Then comes the Class V Tenmile rapid, the No Name Rapid, and the Broken Ridge rapid. Depending on the flow, and on how high your level of craziness is, you can also add the Rockwood Box, making this an ultra-marathon to remember!

Armed with this information about white water rafting trips, you, your family, and friends can plan an exciting Colorado river rafting vacation that suits all of you perfectly.