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Performance Tours Rafting

The Best Time for Colorado Rafting

Browns Canyon Raft Trip from Breckenridge The Best time for colorado rafting

Q – What is the best time of year for Colorado rafting?

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!

Guests who are looking for an exhilarating experience will want to join us in May/ 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. During peak runoff, we often raise the minimum ages on certain trips to ensure guest safety.

The flows will vary from year to year based on snowpack and weather. The most popular and busiest time of the year for 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 rafting.

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


Arkansas River — Buena Vista, CO  *peak runoff late May/early June
Browns Canyon National Monument (Class 3): May – August  
Numbers (Class 4+): June – early August
Mild & Scenic (Class 1-2): May – August
Arkansas River — Canon City, CO   *peak runoff late May/early June
Royal Gorge (Class 4+): June – August
Bighorn Sheep Canyon (Class 3+): May – August
Blue River — Summit County, CO
Blue River (Class 3): June


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