Five pro tips for planning your Colorado whitewater rafting vacation

Posted on January 9, 2019

Colorado whitewater rafting in the Royal Gorge.

Colorado whitewater rafting tours on the Arkansas River

Above Photo: A River Runners raft exits the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. By Catherine Eichel Photography.

River Runners Winter Sale

  • 40% Off Full Day Rafting Tours – PROMO CODE: Winter40
  • 20% Off All Other Tours – PROMO CODE: Winter20
  • OFFER EXPIRES FEBRUARY 4, 2019
  • Questions? Call 800-723-8987

BOOK ONLINE

Five Pro Tips:

Below are five pro tips for planning your Colorado whitewater rafting vacation on the Upper Arkansas River in Colorado.

1. Book with a reputable Colorado whitewater rafting company

Whitewater rafting can be an amazing experience for beginners and seasoned rafters as long as everyone has the proper equipment and there is an expert guide in each raft. The only way to go for most people is hiring a certified Colorado River Outfitter like River Runners. Tour fees include guide service, logistics and rafting equipment. Photos, souvenirs and gratuities are extra.

2. Choose a date

Peak rafting season on the Arkansas River is mid-May through Labor Day with high water in June and swift water levels through August 15 (thanks to the Voluntary Flow Management Program). Flows can vary from year-to-year depending on the previous winter’s snowpack which may raise age limits and physical requirements at high water. Please call 800-723-8987 if you have questions about whitewater conditions.

Check out the latest snowpack update here.

3. Choose a tour

The Arkansas River has whitewater for nearly all ages and abilities. Choose the right tour for your group to keep everyone happy and safe.

Trips departing from River Runners at the Adventure Hub

Trips departing from River Runners at Browns Canyon

  • Family Float (Beginner) – Class I-II
    Recommended minimum age is 3 years old and 35 lbs.
  • Browns Canyon (Beginner/Intermediate) – Class III-IV
    Recommended minimum age is 6 years old and at least 50 pounds
  • Overnight Rafting Tours (Intermediate to Advanced) – Class III to IV (V)
    Recommended minimum age is 6 years old and at least 50 pounds (14 for advanced)

Trips departing from River Runners at the Royal Gorge

  • Royal Gorge (Advanced) – Class IV – V
    Recommended minimum age is 14
  • Bighorn Sheep Canyon (Beginner/Intermediate) – Class III-IV
    Recommended minimum age is 6 years old and at least 50 pounds

4. Book now for the best deal

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your Colorado whitewater rafting trip. Save money and get preferred dates and times by booking in advance.

  • 40% Off Full Day Rafting Tours – PROMO CODE: Winter40
  • 20% Off All Other Tours – PROMO CODE: Winter20
  • OFFER EXPIRES FEBRUARY 4, 2019
  • Questions? Call 800-723-8987

BOOK ONLINE

5. Book lodging or camping now

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a popular summer destination. Don’t miss out on the best lodging and camping. Check out some of our preferred partners below.

The best lodging

Buena Vista, CO

Salida, CO

Cañon City, CO

  • Airbnb.com – search “81212”
  • Royal Gorge Cabins
  • Prospectors RV Resort

The best camping

Buena Vista, CO

  • River Runners at Browns Canyon – four group campsites plus event space
  • Buena Vista KOA – book in advance – 5 minutes from River Runners
  • Chalk Creek Campground – book in advance
  • BLM and National Forest (FREE) – arrive early

Salida, CO

Cañon City, CO

  • Prospectors RV Resort
  • Royal View Campground
  • Royal Gorge KOA
  • BLM and National Forest (FREE)