Five Reasons to Love Rafting in Glenwood Springs

There’s a reason Glenwood Springs is one of the most family-friendly rafting destinations in Colorado. Miles of whitewater thrills, jaw-dropping views and in-river hot springs make a day on the river a summertime vacation highlight for visitors to Glenwood Springs.

What We Love About Whitewater Rafting

Rafting in Glenwood Springs is a family-friendly, fun-for-all good time! Despite the fierce sounding names of some of the rapids, the whitewater in Glenwood Canyon is considered intermediate. Most of the rapids fall between Class I — water that is gentle and wavy to Class IV — bigger waves and holes but with predictable hydraulics. In addition to the thrill-a-minute experience, there are plenty of good reasons to go rafting in Glenwood Springs this season.

  1. The Anticipation. Long before you hop aboard a raft in Glenwood Canyon, the expectation of an action-packed day of running the river starts to ramp up from the moment you arrive at the headquarters of Glenwood Springs’ rafting outfitters. You’ll feel the excitement build as you’re handed gear that includes a properly-fitted life jacket and a paddle that you’re expected to use! Riding the shuttle bus through Glenwood Canyon further amplifies the pitch as you near boat ramps and the places where the rubber meets the rapids.
  2. The Adventure. Native Americans—the Shoshone along with the Ute—were among the first people to explore the region around Glenwood Springs. The Shoshone Power Plant and the Shoshone Boat Ramp are named in their honor. For rafters, however, the name is synonymous with exhilarating, churning whitewater that starts right out of the chute. The Class III and IV rapids extend for approximately two miles downriver and they’re so addictive that most rafting companies offer trips that run Shoshone on repeat! Try not to be intimidated as you punch through one rapid affectionately called “Man-Eater.” During high runoff in early to mid-May, when flows are at their peak, rafting Shoshone is off-limits. In June through September, as water levels taper off, conditions become ideal to run this section of the Colorado River.
  3. The Scenery. Towering cliffs, unusual geology, historical artifacts, wildlife and trains are some of what you can expect to encounter on a rafting excursion through Glenwood Canyon. The landscape through the narrow canyon is stunning thanks to 550 million years of mountain-building and erosion. The base layer of granite is topped with 500-foot cliffs of Sawatch quartzite and further downriver the limestone is riddled with caves that include those at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. As you travel westward, note remnants of bygone days such as the dry-stacked retaining walls built by Chinese, Italian and Mexican immigrants in the late 1880s, as well as the “Canyon Flag,” that tops a jagged rock outcropping. The American flag was originally placed there by a couple of friends in 1967 to commemorate an exceptionally fine summer of rock climbing before they went off to serve in the military. The flag is replaced every year with a new standard. As for wildlife, Glenwood Canyon is home to diverse species including bald eagles bighorn sheep, coyotes, marmots and mule deer. Adding to the charm of the scene, take a moment to wave to the trains—including Amtrak—that chug along the southern bank of the river through the canyon.
  4. The Hot Springs. A perk of rafting the Colorado River through Glenwood Canyon is the opportunity to “pull over” for a soak in an all-natural wild spring. Access to the in-river hot springs depends on how high the river is flowing. At its peak at the beginning of the rafting season, the hot springs can be washed out. As water levels descend, visitors like to form pools using river rocks to corral the warm water and adjust the temperature.
  5. The Guides. Proficient in the skill of rafting, your guide not only knows the exact location of the previously mentioned hot springs, but chances are also good that he or she is a treasure trove of tales. The best rafting professionals are consummate storytellers who can delight their captive audience from put-in to take-out. Guides are also locals who have the inside track on what’s happening in Glenwood Springs. Just as you trust your guide to safely navigate you through the jaws of the Man-Eater, lean on your guide for suggestions about where to go and what to do while visiting Glenwood Springs.

Lead the Way: Connect with Local Rafting Outfitters

Blue Sky Adventures

Blue Sky Adventures provides an exceptional adventure experience that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come. The most convenient location in town.

Defiance Rafting

Defiance Rafting is committed to providing you an experience that gives you the adventure you’re looking for. Let’s have fun. Let’s make memories. Let’s go rafting!

Glenwood Adventure Co.

Glenwood Adventure Company is a one stop-shop for outdoor adventures. From spring through fall, they provide whitewater rafting and many more activities!

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Whitewater Rafting, LLC

Whitewater Rafting, LLC offers river rafting on the Colorado River and Roaring Fork Rivers. They offer trips from mild class II, half day to full day class IV trips.

Whitewater Rafting, LLC logo

Glenwood Canyon Rafting

Whitewater Rafting, LLC offers river rafting on the Colorado River and Roaring Fork Rivers. They offer trips from mild class II to full day class IV trips to half day trips.

Whitewater Rafting, LLC logo

Whitewater Rafting, LLC

Whitewater Rafting, LLC offers river rafting on the Colorado River and Roaring Fork Rivers. They offer trips from mild class II to full day class IV trips to half day trips.

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