The Colorado River, as it travels through Glenwood Canyon, is among the state’s most spectacular and dramatic settings for river rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. Bound by cliffs on either side, the river tumbles and glides its way through the canyon to Glenwood Springs. Along the way, rafters are in for an exciting ride. Highlights include paddling Class III and IV rapids, stopping at riverside hot springs and floating the flats, where there are plenty of places to swim and splash. Rafting in Colorado, and Glenwood Springs specifically, is a bucket list summertime activity that adventurers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy.
Most visitors choose to take a guided rafting trip, led by an experienced guide who not only knows how to “read” the river but can entertain guests with stories about the area. Outfitters offer a variety of half-day or full day trips, and many rafting companies also combine rafting with other outdoor adventures. Skilled boaters can navigate their own rafts or rent from a local outfitter and access the river from boat launches located at the Shoshone or Grizzly Creek rest areas in Glenwood Canyon. The easiest takeout for private boaters is Two Rivers Park boat ramp. To extend your adventure, continue through South Canyon to the takeout located there.
Glenwood Springs has a thriving kayaking culture thanks in large part to the Glenwood Whitewater Activity Area. Here kayakers, stand up paddle boarders, and play boaters can show off and practice their skills where a G-wave feature is the main attraction. The first whitewater feature built on any stretch of the Colorado River; Glenwood Springs Whitewater Activity Area has become a destination for paddling enthusiasts. The Colorado River offers kayakers everything from smooth water for practicing rolls and other maneuvers to Class III and IV rapids for maximum thrills. Colder than the Colorado, the Roaring Fork River provides river runners shallower water and a different set of challenges.