Rafting is Over: Now What?
Rafting season can be very short out here in Colorado. From May to the end of September and sometimes into October, rafting gurus hit the whitewater every free chance they get. Those in search for the best river runs revolve their whole summer around the sport, so what do they do once the season is over?
When living in the Rockies, there’s always an abundance of outdoor activities to do – no matter the time of year! Hiking is very popular all four seasons, and the Colorado high country is home to 53 14,000+ mountains. Beginners should consider easing into these treks due to the high elevations and physical exertion they require. Luckily, there are plenty of hikes ranging from beginner to advanced. A good resource to use is AllTrails – find all hikes near and far on their website or phone app, read reviews from fellow adventurers and track your activity.
Living in Colorado, there are plenty of tricked out 4WD vehicles you’ll see on the road. Some of these hikes are 4×4 roads, and only the best of the best can make the climb. Plenty of companies around Colorado offer off road tours if you don’t have your own vehicle to make the journey during the dry months of the year. A handful of 14ers around Colorado have roads that lead to the top. Mt. Evans, located south of Idaho Springs, has a summit elevation of 14,265 feet. Anyone is able to drive up to 14,130′ in their vehicle if the whole hike isn’t up your alley. Breathtaking views of the Continental Divide await you at the top! Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs is another 14er that is accessible by car.
Plenty of rafters will head south/southwest come winter in Colorado to get away from the colder weather at high elevation. Southern Colorado into Utah, New Mexico and Arizona have plenty of great camping spots and national parks to explore.
If you’re looking for something more tranquil, you can do some research on BLM lands in the area. The Bureau of Land Management owns 1/8th of public lands in the United States, and every square foot is accessible to be explored by us.
Once the snow hits a vast amount of outdoor enthusiasts flock to the mountains for ski season. Summit County, Colorado, in all it’s glory, has five ski resorts within it’s 619 square miles: Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Copper, and Loveland. You may see a few familiar faces on the lift lines here since a good amount of raft guides will extend their outdoor work into the winter by getting a job for a ski resort in the Rockies.
From ripping through whitewater to going almost straight to shredding the famous powder snow in the high country, the spring mud season is a much needed breather before the snow starts to melt off the mountains. This relaxation period only lasts a short period of time before we all become anxious for summer activities. The rivers in Colorado don’t start fully flowing until almost the end of May, so the wait can be strenuous. Some may properly prepare for the water season by heading to the front range, which has a lot of indoor pools that offer kayaking rolling and technique practice. Others may plan a trip down to the Salt River Canyon in Arizona. This remote wilderness is only accessible by raft, leaving you and your rafting buddies to enjoy the peace of quiet of the nature surrounding your camping spot for the night. Class II, III, and IV trips starting in March will not disappoint and will get you ready for your summer on Colorado’s whitewater. The Grand Canyon is another spot in Arizona that has a much longer rafting season. From the end of March to the end of October, this canyon offers some great trips with scenery like no other.
Though we’re forever dreaming about those gnarly whitewater runs in the summer, we’re lucky to live somewhere that offers so much outdoor activity year round.