Colorado River
Rafting: Colorado River, Colorado
Tackling big whitewater in the 'Applesauce Rapid' on the Gore Canyon section of the Colorado River (courtesy, AVA's Colorado Rafting)
Colorado River at a Glance
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: Upper: II-III+
Trip in Miles: Lower Gore Canyon to State Bridge (Upper Colorado): 14 miles; State Bridge to Dotsero (Upper Colorado): 44 miles
Trip Duration: 1 to 2 days
Season: May-September
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: Gore Canyon and State Bridge
Nearby Towns: Kremmling (CO)
Gateway City: Kremmling (CO)
Driving Times: Denver (CO): 2.5 hours

The primary put-in for the Upper Colorado River lies within a two-hour drive from Denver. Rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, or a chance for pure relaxation attract day users as well as those on overnight trips. The most popular upper segment from Pumphouse to the private take-out at State Bridge is principally for day use. Boaters may continue or initially launch at Catamount Bridge to run the lower segment. Both public and privately owned take-outs are scattered along the river from the Burns townsite to the Dotsero Bridge at I-70. Upper Gore Canyon was considered unrunnable until lately. It is Class V water and requires several mandatory portages. Rafting this section is discouraged.

Beautiful Ruby Canyon of the Lower Colorado River provides flatwater river trips for canoeists, rafters, and kayakers. Grand desert painted walls tower overhead. The 25-mile stretch between Loma Boat Launch, below Grand Junction and the Westwater Ranger Station take-out in Utah, is some of the most noteworthy canoeing waters in western Colorado. The trip provides river access to seven spectacular canyons in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Study Area and the river has been recommended to Congress as a National Wild and Scenic River. This area contains the largest concentration of natural sandstone arches in Colorado. Boaters can either make this a day trip or the first leg of a trip through Utah's famed Westwater Canyon. All but experienced rafters and kayakers are discouraged from passing beyond the Westwater Ranger Station take-out. A permit is required for all boating use downstream from the Westwater Ranger Station.

Published: 31 May 2011 | Last Updated: 27 Oct 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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