7 Spots for Whitewater Rafting Near Denver Colorado 2023 – Where Adventure Meets Scenery

Whitewater rafting is an exhilarating adventure that combines the thrill of navigating rapid waters with the beauty of nature. Near Denver, this activity has gained immense popularity, thanks to the pristine rivers surrounded by Colorado’s breathtaking landscapes.

The rush of water, the splash on your face, and the adrenaline pumping through your veins as you navigate the rapids. Denver’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains offers locals and tourists alike a unique opportunity to experience this adventure.

Top Whitewater Rafting Spots Near Denver

Location Fun Fact
Browns Canyon 🌊 Known for its scenic beauty and thrilling rapids, it’s also a designated National Monument.
Clear Creek 🌄 Clear Creek offers a range of rafting experiences, from beginner to advanced, and is conveniently located near Denver.
Bighorn Sheep Canyon 🐏 Named for the herds of bighorn sheep you might spot during your rafting adventure.
The Numbers 🔢 This spot offers some of the most challenging rapids and is named because the rapids were originally numbered instead of named.
Royal Gorge 🏰 Home to one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, it offers breathtaking views and thrilling rapids.
Raft Masters 🚣 They include all necessary gear in their pricing, ensuring a hassle-free experience.
AVA Colorado Rafting 🌲 Apart from rafting, they offer a range of outdoor adventures, making it a one-stop destination for thrill-seekers.

Browns Canyon 🌊

Whitewater Rafting Browns

Nestled in the heart of Colorado, Browns Canyon offers a pristine rafting experience on the Arkansas River. Known for its captivating scenery and thrilling rapids, it’s no wonder Browns Canyon is a top choice for rafting enthusiasts.

With its diverse range of rapids, it caters to both beginners and seasoned rafters. The surrounding landscapes, combined with the rush of navigating the river, make for an unforgettable adventure.

Clear Creek 🌄

Whitewater Rafting Clear

Clear Creek is not just a river; it’s a testament to Colorado’s wild spirit. Starting high in the Rockies, it roars out with vigor, offering a range of rafting experiences. Whether you’re a beginner looking for a gentle introduction or an adrenaline junkie craving Class IV-V rapids, Clear Creek has it all.

With companies like MAD Adventures and Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting offering guided trips, you’re in for a treat. And the best part? It’s just a stone’s throw away from Denver, making it a perfect getaway. As you navigate the waters, don’t forget to soak in the views of historic mining areas and the former gold mining boomtown of Idaho Springs.

Bighorn Sheep Canyon 🐏

Whitewater Rafting Sheep

As the name suggests, Bighorn Sheep Canyon offers more than just rapids. While the Arkansas River ensures a heart-pounding rafting experience, the canyon itself is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The craggy, boulder-filled landscapes are often graced by the presence of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.

So, as you paddle through the continuously moving waters, keep an eye out for these majestic creatures. It’s a blend of nature, adventure, and wildlife, all rolled into one exhilarating package.

The Numbers 🔢

Whitewater Rafting Numbers

The Numbers section of the Arkansas River is renowned for its continuous, challenging whitewater. Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, this stretch offers paddlers a thrilling ride, with rapids aptly named after their sequence, from Number One to Number Seven.

It’s a haven for adrenaline junkies, demanding sharp maneuvering and a penchant for adventure.

Royal Gorge 🏰

Whitewater Rafting Royal

The Royal Gorge is more than just a natural wonder. As the Arkansas River carves its way through this magnificent canyon, it creates some of the most challenging and exhilarating whitewater rafting experiences in Colorado.

Towering cliffs and dramatic landscapes accompany rafters, making it a visual and adventurous delight. The sheer beauty of the canyon walls combined with the roaring rapids makes this a must-raft destination.

Raft Masters 🚣

Whitewater Rafting Masters

With a legacy spanning over three decades, Raft Masters has been offering unforgettable adventures on the Arkansas River. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of navigating wild rapids or a serene float amidst Colorado’s scenic beauty, they’ve got a package tailored for you.

Their commitment to safety and providing top-notch experiences has made them a favorite among both novices and seasoned rafters.

AVA Colorado Rafting 🌲

Whitewater Rafting AVA

AVA stands as a beacon of outdoor adventure in Colorado. Beyond just rafting, they offer a plethora of activities, from ziplining to rock climbing. But their whitewater rafting experiences, especially, are unparalleled. With over 20 years in service, AVA has curated trips that cater to all – from the thrill-seeker to the first-timer. Their dedication to safety, combined with their passion for the outdoors, ensures that every adventurer leaves with memories for a lifetime.

What to Pack for Your Colorado Whitewater Rafting Trip

Embarking on a whitewater rafting trip requires some preparation. Here’s a checklist to ensure you’re ready for the adventure:

  • Sunscreen: The Colorado sun can be intense, especially when reflected off the water. Protect your skin!
  • Comfortable, Secure Footwear: You’ll want shoes that won’t easily slip off and can handle getting wet.
  • Bathing Suit: Underneath your gear, a swimsuit is essential.
  • Layers of Activewear: Depending on the weather, layering can help regulate your body temperature.
  • Eye Protection: Sunglasses with a securing strap can protect your eyes from the sun and splashing water.
  • A Change of Clothes: After a wet and wild adventure, you’ll appreciate dry clothes to change into.

Pro Tip: Always pack a waterproof bag or container for your personal items. It’ll keep things like your phone and wallet safe and dry.

Safety Tips and Precautions

Safety should always be a priority when taking on the rapids. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  • Follow the Guidelines: Your guide knows the river and its challenges. Listen carefully and follow their instructions.
  • Gear Up: Always wear the provided safety gear, including helmets and life vests.
  • Choose Wisely: If you’re new to rafting, start with a beginner trip and work your way up as you gain experience.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Clear Creek is the 2nd most rafted river in Colorado? Its diverse range of rapids makes it suitable for both beginners and seasoned rafters.


Why is Denver considered a prime location for whitewater rafting enthusiasts?

Denver’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains provides easy access to several pristine rivers, making it a hotspot for rafting.

Are there age restrictions for participating in whitewater rafting near Denver?

Age restrictions vary based on the difficulty of the rapids. Always check with the rafting company beforehand.

How do I choose the best season for whitewater rafting in Colorado?

Spring and early summer, when snowmelt is at its peak, often offer the most thrilling rafting experiences.

Can beginners participate in whitewater rafting, or is it only for experienced rafters?

There are various rafting trips tailored to different skill levels, from beginner-friendly to challenging routes for experts.


Whitewater rafting near Denver is more than just an adrenaline rush; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature, challenge yourself, and create unforgettable memories. The natural beauty of Colorado, combined with the thrill of the rapids, offers an experience like no other. So, whether you’re a seasoned rafter or trying it out for the first time, the rivers near Denver await. Embrace the adventure, respect the power of nature, and most importantly, have fun!