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How Do You Want to Get Down the River?


Glenwood Springs has a fantastic river community and an undeniably beautiful environment to float the river in. With two rivers flowing through our town and many more within a reasonable driving distance, the only question is: how do you want to get down the river? And there are no wrong answers.

Option 1: Rafting

Between the whitewater rafting outfitters and the local river enthusiasts, most of the traffic on our rivers are rafts. If you do not have any river experience, we highly recommend going with a professional river guide for your first time down the river. For those that choose to go with us at Whitewater Rafting LLC, you have several options! Our most popular trip is our Half Day Rafting Trip. This three hour trip starts out on the Class III (or above) Shoshone Rapids section for a fun, splashy start to the day! After the first two miles, the river calms a bit for some fun smaller rapids, float time, and swimming. Our trip floats through town and ends at our boathouse in West Glenwood. For those wanting a calmer trip or to introduce their little ones (aged 2 and older) to the river, we have our Short and Mild trip that launches from our boathouse and floats west through South Canyon for a beautiful stretch of river with bald eagles and mellow rapids. On the other end of the spectrum, we have our Double Shoshone trip that only does the rapids section and is a great option for thrill seekers! We have ways to customize your trip, such as adding on inflatable kayaks or choosing the full day option for a longer trip, and our trips adjust a bit as the water level changes throughout the season so coming at different times of the year provides a different trip experience! No matter which trip you choose, rafting is a great way to get on the river with a good crew of people and see the wonderful environment that we are so fortunate to call our office!

Option 2: Kayaks, Duckies, and more

If you’re not interested in going out in a big raft, on an organized trip, or want more of an independent adventure, there are smaller river crafts such as kayaks, inflatable kayaks (or duckies), paddle boards, and river tubes. These crafts allow you more independence on the river, give you your own time frame for your trip, and since they are smaller, the lower class rapids feel a lot bigger and more challenging than they may feel on a raft! Kayaks and paddle boards require a bit more skill and river knowledge than the duckies or tubes, so make sure you are making the right choice for you based on your experience! If you do not have a craft of your own, we have duckies available to rent, a shuttle twice a day, and advice and equipment to keep you safe! 

Option 3: Fly Fishing

Our rivers are not just great for floating on, we also have fantastic fishing for those of you hoping to reel in your next river adventure. One of our local rivers, the Roaring Fork River, even offers gold medal fishing waters. There are numerous outfitters in town that will take you out on the river and guide you to the best spots to cast or can provide you equipment to go out on the river yourself! Check out Roaring Fork Anglers or Hookers to book a fly fishing trip!

Option 4: PFDs

Don’t have anything to float on but have your PFD (personal flotation device, also known as a lift jacket) and still want to get in the river? Float in your PFD! On a hot summer evening at the Glenwood Wave Park, it is common to see a group of raft guides floating down the river from the Whitewater boathouse in just their PFDs to cool off and have a fun evening swimming in the river. You may also see them and other locals on boogie boards, surf boards, kayaks, and boats surfing at the Glenwood Wave Park. Our guides may spend the whole day on the river, but they are always down to get just a bit more river time after work!

Option 5: No River At All

Not sure about going on the river at all, but still want to go through the Canyon or up the Roaring Fork Valley? Fortunately, we have well-maintained bike paths that follow both of our rivers. The Glenwood Canyon Bike Path follows the Colorado River from town all the way to the east side of Glenwood Canyon and the Rio Grande Trail follows the Roaring Fork River from Glenwood south to Aspen. There are several companies in the valley, such as Canyon Bikes, that offer bike rentals (including e-bikes) and shuttles for both of these bike paths. These services provide you an option to get out to the river and explore the canyon without getting your feet wet!

No matter how you choose to get down the river, always make sure to take the proper steps to stay safe. Make sure that you have checked the local river and put-in restrictions. It is possible that you will not be able to leave your car at the put-in or the local stretch of river may have a temporary fishing moratorium, which is why going with a local company may be the best option! Always wear a PFD; not all PFDs are designed for river use, so make sure you have proper PFD for the activity you are doing, ensure it fits properly, and always wear it (even on a nice calm float)! Make sure to wear proper footwear and clothing for the weather and water conditions. Follow the Leave No Trace principles, pack out what you pack in, and leave the river better than you found it. And last, but not least, look out for your fellow river community. We have such a strong community because we have a love of what we do and take care of each other. Enjoy the river and stay safe, no matter how you choose to get out there!

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