River waves, that is. Whitewater rafting is a Colorado mountain town past time. Luckily for us (and you, of course) epic rafting is just a day trip away. Here’s why, and how, you should go whitewater rafting while you’re vacationing in Estes Park.

Why?

Why not! Gliding down whitewater on a hot summer day (or even on an overcast one) is thrilling. And beautiful. Estes Park area rafting trips run on The Cache le Poudre (pronounced poo-dur), Colorado’s only Wild & Scenic River. This designation makes it an exceptionally good river to raft, having preserved the river’s natural wonder and wildness – the river is left in its free-flowing condition and its immediate environment is protected; there is very little evidence of civilization along its banks.

Insider tip: complete the experience at Paddler’s Pub after a trip with Mountain Whitewater, where guests have access to local Colorado beers and wine, food trucks, sand volleyball, yard games, and a children’s playground.

How:

Best time to go

Rafting season is generally mid-May through Labor Day but is dependent on water levels. Call the company of your choice for more information.

Choose a rafting company

Four rafting companies operate out of or service the Estes Park area and offer a range of raft trip options. 

Rafting

Choose your thrill level

The level of excitement is up to you. The Poudre has class II, III and IV rapids – choose from beginner, intermediate or advanced trips that last anywhere from a half to two days.

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Protective Gear

The rafting companies provide the most important personal protective gear and equipment: life jackets and helmets. Some provide wetsuits, water and scratch-resistant coats and wet-suit booties, which can be a huge bonus. 

What to wear

Non-cotton, quick drying clothing that can get wet is best. Shoes must be secured to your feet (sorry, no flip-flops).