If you’re looking for a thrilling, adrenaline pumping, heart rate-increasing activity to enjoy this summer, whitewater rafting is probably just the thing you need.

While whitewater rafting is definitely a sport that can vary in intensity, there is no shortage of fast-paced rapids for those who want a more extreme experience.

To better know what classifies as “extreme,” rivers are categorized in intensity from class I to class VI – class being the least intense, and class VI being the most. This class system rates rivers on both how difficult they are to the raft and how dangerous they are.

  • Class I: Slower moving water with few riffles and waves. A very small amount of maneuvering is required. Great for beginners.
  • Class II: Easy rapids with small waves, clear channels, and a slightly higher level of maneuvering than class I. Also great for beginners.
  • Class III: Rapids that contain high, irregular waves, and channels that require precise maneuvering. Best for intermediates.
  • Class IV: Rapids that are long, difficult, contain many high waves, and narrow, difficult passageways. Requires advanced scouting and high level of maneuvering around many obstacles. Best for advanced rafters.
  • Class V: Extremely difficult, long, and violent rapids with congested routes. Need to be scouted from the shore. Rescue conditions are difficult here, and in the case of a mishap, there is a significant risk of life. Only for advanced rafters.
  • Class VI: Incredibly difficult rapids that are nearly impossible and highly dangerous. Risk of life. Not available for commercial rafting.

Extreme Rafting Experiences

The best time to experience extreme rapids is during the high-water season of May and June when the rivers are full from the recent spring runoff. For a more leisurely experience, the summer months of July and August offer medium levels of water and a nice mix of rapids that are great for families and beginners.

However, if you’re looking for a more adventurous ride, class III and class IV rapids will be right up your alley. Colorado Whitewater Rafting offers several trips that fall into the category of class III and class IV including their Double Shoshone Rafting Trip; the Double-Extreme Shoshone Rafting Trip; and their Private Trips.

The Double Shoshone trip is for the adventurous rafter and includes the famous Baptism, Tuttle's Tumble, Tombstone, Wall, and Maneater rapids. These rapids are run not just once, but twice, offering a more challenging run the second time around. This trip is recommended for fit people in their 20s and 30s and for anyone who thinks the half-day trip may be too mild.

The Double-Extreme Shoshone Rafting trip runs the same rapids as the Double Shoshone but is done in smaller 12’ rafts to make for a more intense experience. This trip is considered a staff favorite and is one of the company’s most exciting adventures.

The Private Tours are also available for those who want a more extreme experience and can vary from class II to class IV depending on what you’re looking for. Private trips offer a more intimate experience and include private launch times, private shuttle for your group, private rafts, and custom routes on the river to suit your group.

How To Get To Glenwood Springs

To get to the Colorado Whitewater Rafting facilities in Glenwood Springs, hop on Interstate 70 take Exit #114 – West Glenwood. From there, take the round-a-bout to Midland Ave southbound. You will cross the river and make an immediate left on Devereux Rd at the Harley Davidson dealership. The facilities are 0.4 miles down on the right.

Keep in mind it is best to avoid exit 116 as traffic can sometimes cause extended slowdowns along this route.

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