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Upper "Middle" Animas Whitewater Rafting

Quick Details

Upper Animas Middle Section

Great Adventure and Stunning Scenery!

Great adventure and stunning scenery await you in the San Juan National Forest of Southwest Colorado! There are no roads in paradise, so we board the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway for the best part of the Animas River Gorge. Once we hit the water, the action starts with Broken Bridge rapid just a few miles downstream. Plenty of other class III and IV rapids follow along with some calmer sections and visits to historical landmarks.

This section of the Upper Animas is also known as the Needleton and is suitable for those with at least a moderate fitness level. Some experience is recommended. During high water season in May and early June, you should expect some big wild rapids and colder temperatures. In late June and July/August the rapids are easier and temperatures are generally warmer.

No other river in Colorado can match the scenery and wild character that is found on the Upper Animas.


The Animas River is a free-flowing river that depends on snowpack. The Upper Animas starts running in May and is usually good through July. During lower August flows, we cannot run all the way from Silverton but will start trips in Needleton.

What Should I Bring/Wear?

In the early season, the Upper Animas can be chilly, and you could fall into the river and take a swim. We provide a wetsuit with splash top free of charge or a full drysuit (additional $30) for your safety and comfort. We provide dry storage, a proper-fitting personal flotation device (life jacket), and a helmet, booties, and gloves. We also provide a hearty riverside lunch. This is all included in the price!

What We Provide

  • Safety orientation
  • PFDs (Personal Flotation Devices), a.k.a. life jackets — Sorry, no personal PFDs allowed.
  • Transportation to and from the river
  • Raft guide
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water
  • Snacks

What to Bring

  • Sturdy footwear like old tennis shoes — We also rent river shoes.
  • Please, no flip-flops or sandals
  • Rafts do not have storage. Please leave all personal items in a hotel room or vehicle.
  • Wallets, keys, and phones can be left in our complimentary secure lockers.