Summer is upon us and Denver locals are fortunate to have some of the top rafting venues in the state within only a couple hours’ drive. Rafting is a fabulous way for the entire family to have an experience they will never forget. With both half-day and full-day trips offered, a rafter’s day journey will be filled with the adventure that comes with floating and gazing at the incredible canyon scenery, and mixed with the thrill of working as a team to traverse the whitewater rapids. Many trips offer opportunities to raft, camp and fish, engage in water fights with fellow rafters and come home with some amazing stories and new friends. Two tips to remember are to load up on waterproof sunscreen and bring dry clothes to change into after your water adventure.
Glenwood Canyon Rafting, Inc.
2610 Gilstrap Court
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
One of the most highly recommended areas to raft is Glenwood Canyon just outside of beautiful Glenwood Springs. This venue offers far more than just a day trip on the rapids; this unique location will treat visitors to an evening soak in the relaxing hot springs, fabulous restaurants and great places to stay the night. The Colorado River and the Roaring Fork River meet close by and visitors will actually be able to tell the difference in the appearance and temperatures of the two waters. While visiting in Glenwood, it will be worth putting aside a few hours to hike up to experience the breathtaking Hanging Lake. Simply a three-mile round trip, this hike is a somewhat steep climb up to experience gorgeous waterfalls and spectacular scenery.
Related: Top Spots To Go Fishing Near Denver
Buffalo Joe’s Rafting
113 N. Railroad St.
Buena Vista, CO 81211
The very popular Browns Canyon is not only a great warm-up for rating the Royal Gorge rapids, it offers must-see lush green scenery along the Arkansas River. Buffalo Joe’s Rafting is a great company to go with for a day of rafting one will never forget. The trip is very well organized and the guides are so well trained that they make the rafters comfortable and secure enough to take on the adventure. Full day trips are well worth the extra time and expense as they offer the most delicious lunch and plenty of chances to play in the water and briefly go ashore to explore.
Royal Gorge Rafting
45045 W. US Highway 50
Canon City, CO 81212
Exploring the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge Bridge Canyon is an experience rafting enthusiasts will never forget. Not only will rafters get the chance to float under one of the world’s highest suspension bridges in the world that spans a quarter mile across, they will be seeing the wilderness of the canyon beauty and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad train. This spectacular trip is not for the novice as some of the rapids will be rather tricky. Guides will share some amazing stories along the way including some hiding places where years ago, competitive railroad companies hired gunmen to shoot the workers on the opposing side. Along the trip, guides will explain the reasons behind the names for many sections of the river.
A1 Wildwater Rafting
2801 N. Shields St.
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Poudre River offers class II to class IV rapids and the guides at A1 are knowledgeable and entertaining and make everyone feel safe in the raft. The Wild and Scenic trip is one of the most popular trips and happens to be ideal for first timers. Depending upon the time of year, Poudre River offers class II to class IV rapids. Always a fun adventure, the guides take rafters to places where the rafters get the chance to jump out of the raft, swim down an exhilarating shoot of water and then swim to the side. After a day in the river, visitors have plenty of spots in Ft. Collins to grab dinner and even stay the night.
Rocky Mountain Adventures
1117 N. US Highway 287
Fort Collins, CO 80524
Not everyone is into the thrill of the rapids. For those who are seeking a lazy day in the water under the gorgeous Colorado sunshine, tubing the Poudre River in Ft. Collins may be the ideal way to spend a day. Innertubes can be purchased at the local Wal-Mart or Big O Tires for $10-$12 each and they can be filled at most any gas station in town. Tubing is an affordable activity for the family and for adults hoping to float away their cares hanging on with one hand and sporting a cold one in the other.
Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.