Best Time to Raft in Colorado

Discover the Best Time to go Rafting in Colorado

Q – What is the best Colorado whitewater rafting season?

A – Depends on the river!

We get this one a lot. At Performance Tours Rafting, we are all about making your whitewater rafting adventure the best experience possible. To determine when the best time for Colorado rafting is, we consider a few key factors: river conditions, experience, guest ages, and occasionally the weather.

Colorado’s whitewater rafting season runs from late April through mid September. We recommend guests looking for the ultimate Colorado whitewater rafting experience to book a trip from June – August, though early and late season conditions can still be a ton of fun!

Best Time of Year for Big Water: Early to Mid June

Guests who are looking for an exhilarating experience will want to join us from late May to mid-June for peak runoff. Peak runoff, also known as high water, usually occurs in late May through June, and the water levels gradually subside throughout the course of the summer, making it the best time for heart-pumping rafting adventures in Colorado. During peak runoff, we often raise the minimum ages on certain trips to ensure guest safety.

Most Popular Time of Year for Rafting: July

The flows will vary from year to year based on snowpack and weather. The most popular and busiest time of the year for the best Colorado rafting is July, so if you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend jumping in the boat toward the beginning of the summer. The water levels for rafting are generally very good through mid to late August due to a flow program on the Arkansas River that provides a minimum flow for the Colorado whitewater rafting season.

Please remember snowpacks and river conditions will vary from year-to-year and some trips may not be available depending on conditions and flow.


Take a look at our raft trip comparison chart to get familiar with your Colorado whitewater rafting options.

Arkansas River — Buena Vista, CO

*peak runoff late May/early June
Browns Canyon National Monument (Class 3): May – September
Bear Creek Family Float (Class 2+): May – August
Numbers (Class 4+): May – August

Arkansas River — Canon City, CO

*peak runoff late May/early June
Royal Gorge (Class 4+): May – August
Bighorn Sheep Canyon (Class 3+): May – August

Blue River — Summit County, CO

*Flows dependent on snowpack
Blue River (Class 3): June

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