First Colorado Whitewater Runs of the Year

By the end of April most people are ready to take a break from the snow and start their summer activities, many of which use the rivers of Colorado.  Kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting are some of the most popular activities during the summer, and we’ve got a list of the first rivers you can hop on to shake that winter cabin fever.

First, it is important to understand that many factors affect when you can get on the rivers with the most important being snowmelt.  The rivers of Colorado are dependent on the amount of snow that falls in the winter and the temperature in the spring and summer to melt it. This affects what is called the CFS, which stands for cubic feet per second.  Every river has a CFS range of when it has enough water flow to ride to when it has too much water and becomes dangerous.

When it comes to riding with commercial companies, you can usually get your first river trips starting in early May.  The Arkansas River, Clear Creek, and the Colorado River are typically the first rivers of the season to have a CFS that will provide a good flow for those sought-after rapids.

Arkansas River

Buena Vista, Colorado

This dam controlled river relies solely on snow melt to determine when it will start releasing water.  If there’s enough, whitewater rafting trips can begin on the Arkansas River as early as April.  Some of the most popular river runs in North America are on the Arkansas River, including the scenic trip through Browns Canyon.

Clear Creek

Idaho Springs, Colorado

Located near Idaho Springs, Colorado, Clear Creek runs trips with levels ranging from intermediate to advanced.  The accessibility of trips on Clear Creek is it’s most favored feature, since Idaho Springs is only half an hour west of Denver.

Upper Colorado River

Kremmling, Colorado

The more mild waters of the Upper Colorado make this river one of the longest running in the state, and the most family friendly!  Bring the whole crew on these float trips and take in Colorado’s beautiful outdoors.  Right now, we’re offering a great deal where kids raft free on the Upper Colorado River with the purchase of an adult trip.  Book now to take advantage and get your summer set up!

In the early season the class IV-V sections will probably be a bit low for a full whitewater experience, but fear not as the class III sections will be exciting enough for most!  May is a perfect time to raft due to the smaller crowds on the water.  June is going to be the peak season for water levels, and July holds the best whitewater of the year.  

While the sun may be out and the air warm, do not be fooled. That water you are about to get into is fresh snowmelt and at the beginning of the season is usually around 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  Be sure to wear the right clothes; synthetic materials like under armor work best.  If you choose the right company to guide you down the river, such as Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting, we will provide you with a wetsuit and splash jacket that will keep the shivers away and let you focus on ripping through the rapids!

Get ready to pack those skis up and grab a paddle when May rolls around!  If you book now, you’ll get the best deals for the 2018 season.