Old Breckenridge town buildings in greyscale
White water rafting with mountain view in Breckenridge

One of the best group activities during the summer, whitewater rafting in Breckenridge and its surrounding rivers can make a splash during any vacation. Here’s everything you need to know to get excited for one of Colorado’s most beloved summer activities.

When to go

Group rafting trips down the Arkansas River.
Group rafting trips down the Arkansas River.

June – September

Rafting season in the Rocky Mountains begins each spring when the snow melts off the mountains and into the nearby rivers.  Typically, rafting season runs early June through early September.  However, if you are looking to go a little earlier or a little later in the season, we recommend calling the rafting companies or the Breckenridge Welcome Center for the latest update on river conditions and guided tour availability.

Who should go
A group rafting against a scenic mountain view in Breckenridge


Whitewater rafting is one of the best-kept secrets in Breckenridge and it isn’t just for thrill seekers.  Trips can be customized by age, ability level, and sense of adventure.  From adrenaline junkies looking for huge waves and pounding hearts to those looking for a relaxing float trip that showcases scenery, solitude, wildlife, and history; there’s a rafting experience that’s perfect for your group.

Kids too.

Rafting is one of the top activities to do with the kids. Guided rafting trips are fun for first timers as well as experienced rafters looking to try a new river.  Whitewater rafting on Colorado’s rivers will create lifelong memories. You can find everything from a half-day mellow whitewater experience to a four-day float trip. There are a variety of outfitters in Breckenridge that can accommodate all levels and types of whitewater adventures.


Where to go rafting in Breckenridge, Colorado

While you can’t raft in Breckenridge, Colorado it is the perfect basecamp to kick-off any rafting trip.  It’s such a great spot that many rafting companies offer shuttles to pick you up and take you to the rapids.  The two most popular locations to raft near Breckenridge are Brown’s Canyon and Clear Creek Canyon.

Brown’s Canyon

Summer group rafting in Browns Canyon outside of Breckenridge
Whitewater rafting through Browns Canyon.

A trip down Browns Canyon National Monument is a fun and thrilling rafting adventure. This is a moderate level whitewater trip with spectacular mountain views. This trip is great for beginners, families and experienced rafters alike.  If you are looking for something more challenging, the Numbers section is a technical stretch of the Arkansas River,

Clear Creek

This conveniently located II-IV whitewater stretch has become an afternoon playground for those traveling between Denver and Breckenridge. Families with small children to those experienced whitewater thrill seekers will find something for everyone just off I-70 in Clear Creek Canyon.

The Blue River

The Blue River will lead you through the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area where you will find breathtaking mountain views. This is a great trip for all ability levels.

Colorado River

A raft trip down the Colorado River will prove to be a fun and relaxing day. This is a great tip for families and first-time rafters.


Types of Trips

A group in the rapids while rafting in Breckenridge
The Browns Canyon section of the Arkansas River offers class III+ whitewater amidst spectacular mountain and desert scenery, and is the most popular raft trip in the country.

The most popular trips are half-day and full-day trips though longer and shorter trips are available.  Half-day trips typically comprise of two hours on the river while full day trips are four hours and include a riverside lunch.  While what’s for lunch differs between rafting companies – and can be the deciding factor on which company to choose – you should expect to end lunch well fed.

Local’s Tip: When planning your rafting trip don’t forget to configure travel time into your plans.  Most companies offer a pick-up shuttle if you are looking to ride the rapids but not drive a car around mountain roads.

What to know when planning a rafting trip

A Breckenridge whitewater rafting company
Each whitewater rafting company offers all the gear you’ll need for a day on the river.
  1. Always choose the wetsuit
    The water you’re rafting on used to be snow.  Even on warm sunny days, the water in the Rocky Mountains is freezing and it’ll be splashing you as you paddle down the river. Your wetsuit will keep you sufficiently warm while making you look like a superhero. If you don’t believe us, ask your guide.
  2. Bring water
    We recommend bringing water on any adventure to ensure you are staying hydrated.
  3. Wear sunscreen
    The sun is more powerful above sea-level and with 300+ days of sunshine, you’re sure to be exposed to it.  Lather-up and reapply.
  4.  Rafting isn’t cellphone friendly
    We know you want photos but we don’t recommend bringing your cellphone on the rafting trip.  For starters, wetsuits and rafts don’t have pockets for them. Secondly, you’re hands will be too busy paddling the rapids to dig out your cellphone. Many rafting companies hire riverside photographers to capture the best splashes so you can always buy a photo of your adventure after your trip.
  5. Bring cash to tip your guide
    Your going to have an amazing raft guide who makes you laugh until your sides hurt, educates you about the river, rock formations and nearby towns, teaches you the technical skills of rafting and keeps you safe while heading down the river.  Trust us, you’ll want to tip your guide. Grab cash at one of the ATMs or banks in town or ask the rafting company if you can leave one on your credit card.

If you have additional questions on whitewater rafting in Breckenridge you can contact a Breckenridge Information Specialists at 877-864-0868 or stop by the Breckenridge Welcome Center at 203 S. Main Street.

You can also download Breckenridge Vacation Planner for help planning your trip

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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