Escape into the Mountains with 3 Denver Day Trips

Beat the Heat! The Top 3 Denver Day Trips for Whitewater Rafting Enthusiasts

Summer in Denver means temperatures soar into the 90's, often breaching the triple-digit mark. When it gets uncomfortably warm, Coloradans know that escaping to the mountains is a surefire way to cool off and play outside. The best way to stay cool on a warm summer day is to spend it on the river, navigating rapids and soaking up splashes of whitewater. We've outlined a few of our favorite Denver day trips and hope they can bring you relief from the summer city heat.

Denver Day Trip to Buena Vista, CO

Whitewater rafting guests rafting through Browns Canyon National Monument in Buena Vista, CO. Buena Vista is a great option for guests of all ages looking to experience whitewater rafting or even Coloradans looking for a fun day trip from Denver.

A little more than two hours Southwest from Denver you'll find Colorado's favorite riverside community, Buena Vista, CO. Buena Vista is on the shores of the Arkansas River and is home to one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in North America - Browns Canyon National Monument. This class 3+, middle-of-the-road rafting trip is perfect for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Browns Canyon is a nice balance of exciting, moderate rapids and stunning canyon scenery.

Folks looking for more of an adrenaline rush (and more splash for your money!) will want to check out the fast-paced class 4+ Numbers section of the Arkansas River.  If you're more of a float trip kind of crew, or you have young children not suited for wild rapids, the Mild & Scenic Bear Creek section is the perfect day trip to raft and relax. All full-day trips booked through Performance Tours Rafting include a delicious riverside lunch from a build-your-own sandwich bar.


Denver Day Trip to Cañon City, CO

A person holding a paddle over their head on a whitewater rafting trip in the Royal Gorge. Whitewater rafting in canon city is an excellent Denver day trip to beat the heat in the summer
Beat the Heat by splashing your way through a whitewater rafting trip on the Royal Gorge! Canon City, Colorado is a great option for a day trip from Denver during the heat of the summer.

Just two hours south of Denver and 50 minutes south of Colorado Springs you'll find Cañon City. This delightful little river community has a ton of history and ample recreation in the legendary Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge at it's tallest point rises more than 1,200 ft and is one of the deepest canyons in Colorado. It's also called the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

The best way to experience the Royal Gorge is through a whitewater rafting trip on the Arkansas River. This section of the Ark boasts a few bossy class 4-5 rapids that are sure to cool you down and keep you moving. If you love whitewater rafting adrenaline adventures, be sure to add this one to your bucket list. There are a lot of rafting companies in this area, but our local, family-owned-and-operated outfit stands apart from the rest. We recommend a full day trip through the Gorge, as it includes lunch and some of the best raft guides jokes this side of the Mississippi.

The more family-friendly rafting option in the Royal Gorge area is called Bighorn Sheep Canyon also known as Parkdale. This class 3+ section combines fun, splashy rapids with gorgeous scenery. Maximize your time on the river with a full-day Bighorn Sheep Canyon trip that includes a riverside lunch.


Denver Day Trip to Breckenridge, CO

Two rafts filled with guests white water rafting on the Blue River near Breckenridge

Breckenridge is just an hour and a half west from Denver, about 80 miles on i70, a familiar drive for most Front Rangers. There's no shortage of recreational activities in Summit County, CO, nicknamed "Colorado's playground" for good reason! Breckenridge is also where Performance Tours has called home since 1986. As Breckenridge's first rafting company, PT knows the ins and outs of rafting and recreation in the area.

In early summer, the Blue River is an amazing option to cool off on the river with a quick but memorable class 3 raft trip. Once the summer begins to pick up, the best rafting near Breckenridge is on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista.

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