For thrill seekers who are looking for a chance to get wet this
Vail whitewater river rafting offers the chance to do
just that. Whether you are with your family, on a solo trip, or
arriving with a large group, there are plenty of ways for you to
experience the thrill of the current on one of Colorado's many beautiful
sections of river.
Located at the base of Vail Mountain, this charming alpine village is mostly known for its world class skiing. However, as the summer months approach and the snowpack melts, it fills the local rivers and streams with fresh, clear water, making for some of the best white water rafting in all of Colorado.
The best time for river rafting in Vail is generally between the months of May through September, with the highest water being from May through June. Summer and late summer months deliver ideal temperatures, and perfect river rafting conditions.
The Upper Colorado River is absolutely one of the best spots for whitewater rafting near Vail, and it provides rapids that are suitable for all levels of experience. This beautiful stretch of river flows through scenic meadows, canyons, and valleys and offers class II and class III rapids that are perfect for all skill and excitement levels, even for children and older adults.
Glenwood Springs is home base for the Colorado River rafting scene, and delivers incredible stretch's of the Colorado River. This section offers slightly more challenging rapids, including the class III-class IV Shoshone section, flowing deep into Glenwood Canyon.
Colorado Whitewater Rafting offers several rafting trips to explore this stretch of the river including its most popular trip, the half day trip, which is a three-hour trip that starts nine miles up the Shoshone, flowing through The Wall, Tombstone, Maneater, and Superstition sections of the river. As the river mellows out, rafters are treated to natural hot springs which flow directly into the river and given a chance to stop, relax, and soak in the warm natural water.
Another popular option is the full day rafting trip on the Shoshone, which covers twice as much mileage as the half day trip and offers a hot catered lunch. This tour gives rafters plenty of chances to hop into the water for a swim, as well as plenty of time to relax in the sun.
All trips meet at the tour company’s location in Glenwood Springs, which is just about a one-hour drive from Vail.
From May to June Vail’s local rivers (Gore Creek and Eagle River) offer rafters some options for thrilling runs. During May, these rivers are packed with local boaters enjoying the Spring runoff. As summer approaches, the snow pack melts away and these two rivers are temporarily converted into a rafter’s dream. After June the water level is typically too low to support group river rafting trips.
The class III Gore Creek and Eagle River rapids are thrilling and high paced, and offer rafters incredible views of the Gore Range Peaks, and a chance to spot moose, bear, foxes, and more.
For those who are happy venturing further away from Vail, the Arkansas River is another great option for families, novices, and experts alike. The round-trip from Vail to the Arkansas River takes from five to six hours.
Offering some of North America’s most popular rapids, the Arkansas River provides more than 100 miles of whitewater, flowing past some of Colorado’s biggest and most beautiful mountains.
For more challenging rapids, rafters can head over to the Pine Creek section of the river near Granite, CO. For families looking for a more relaxing experience, Browns Canyon near Buena Vista offers a much calmer stretch of river to raft on.
Join us on the Colorado River this season. Colorado Whitewater Rafting is based out of Glenwood Springs and is just a one hour dive from Vail. We offer trips from May through September, with multiple departure times and trip duration's available. Explore our trip schedule to find your perfect day on the river.