Top 3 Rivers For Whitewater Rafting Near Denver

Choose from our top picks for whitewater rafting near Denver! If you are looking for an outdoor adventure in Colorado, this is the perfect escape outside city limits. Embrace the challenge of thrilling whitewater rafting in some of our country’s most pristine river canyons! Denver is convenient to several world-famous rivers with rafting opportunities waiting to be discovered.


Here are our top 3 rivers for whitewater rafting near Denver!

  1. The Blue River

  2. The Arkansas River

  3. The Cache La Poudre


1. Blue River ½ Day Rafting Trips

This river is a great option being located less than 2-hours from the city. The season begins in May with the arrival of high water and continues through July. The river cuts through a scenic valley and it offers a great experience for beginner and intermediate paddlers. At peak flows, the river is rated up to class IV so expect some big waves and wild waters. As it drops into summer flows, class II-III rapids are the norm. The highlight of this trip is the amazing scenery of this valley so close to Denver! The whitewater section begins below Dillon Reservoir and is a ½ day trip lasting 3-4 hours with most tour companies. Morning and afternoon trips are available, making it a flexible option with plenty of other recreation to fill the day in Summit County.


2. The Arkansas River Colorado – Royal Gorge ½ and Full Day Trips

 The famous Arkansas River is only a few hours from Denver and it offers everything a whitewater enthusiast can imagine. Family-friendly class III trips in Bighorn Sheep Canyon or advanced Royal Gorge whitewater rafting are both great options to consider. The Royal Gorge specifically is the major highlight for many visitors seeking big water and technical rapids in a stunning canyon setting. The trips are geared towards intermediate and advanced paddlers who are strong swimmers and in good physical condition.

The half-day trips cover an excellent run while the full-day trips require all of your energy to run the biggest and most challenging rapids on the river. Unlike most rivers in the area, the Arkansas has a very long season that begins in mid-April and runs through mid-September. It’s the trip of a lifetime for many paddlers visiting the Denver area. Check out more of our Colorado Springs whitewater rafting trips today!


3. Cache La Poudre – Mishawaka

At just over an hour from Denver, this trip is an excellent opportunity. The season is short with most trips running during the high water in June so mark your calendars! Depending on the outfit, the Mishawaka is run as a half or full-day trip. The full-day option is worth considering because it runs through the less popular Lower Rustic section. This section has exceptional mountain scenery, great rapids, and plenty of solitude. After the Lower Rustic and a nice lunch break on the river, the trip hits a series of exciting drops in the Plunge section. If you have a free day to explore in June, make the short drive and enjoy a great day of rafting.


Arkansas River Tours is your premier Colorado whitewater rafting outfitter. From family rafting trips to extreme Royal Gorge rafting, there is a trip for everyone. Book an exciting adventure today!

By: Arkansas River Tours
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