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River Rafting in Colorado is one of the most enjoyable and exciting summer activities available. There are trips for all ability levels, Class I – V, throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

Vail offers up some of the best rafting in the country. Enjoy a sun-drenched float through the high desert canyons of the Colorado Plateau, or rushing whitewater rafting in the infamous Gore Canyon of the Colorado River. Whatever the level of adventure you’re seeking, rafting in Vail will satisfy your appetite. From first-timers to experienced rafters, you'll find it here.

All trips include state-of-the-art equipment, including wetsuits, booties, life jackets, and splash jackets. Helmets are provided for Class III – V trips. Just bring your bathing suit, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses. Don’t forget a waterproof camera! Brochures and information for half-day, full-day, or longer rafting trips are available by calling the Colorado River Outfitters Association at (303) 280-2554.

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Popular Rafting Routes

Bighorn Sheep Canyon, Class I – III

This trip is ideal for younger people or first-timers. You’ll find plenty of action as you paddle through Spike Buck, drop into Double Dip, and ride the waves of Shark’s Tooth.

Dowd Chute on the Eagle River, Class IV

Experience Colorado’s classic rafting experience. First-timers and veterans alike enjoy the big, soft waves of Shoshone in Glenwood Canyon. This water can rage at an expert-only level, so if you’re looking for a relaxing experience, consider the Grizzly Creek just downstream.

Shoshone on the Colorado River, Class III

Always a local favorite. If you’re ready for the ride of your life, the Dowd Chute is the place to be. Ask your outfitter what ‘the gauge’ reads, and get ready for a wild ride anywhere at 5 feet or higher.

Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River, Class III

About 3 hours south of Vail, Brown’s Canyon is one of the state’s most popular rafting destinations. This trip offers swelling waves and rugged mountain scenery. This section is affected by the dam, which extends the rafting season well into September.

Pine Creek/Numbers on the Arkansas River, Class IV – IV+

This is the most challenging rafting on the Arkansas River, filled with steep drops.

THE BIG ADVENTURE! Gore Canyon on the Colorado River, Class V

A huge adrenaline fix awaits you at Gore Canyon on the Colorado River. A classic Class V, Gore Canyon’s rapids involve river-wide waterfalls and a good possibility for a swim. It’s a great time, and it happens in the tight narrows between the razor-sharp cliffs of Gore Canyon.