Whitewater rafting can be either smooth sailing or fierce rapid flowing. The time of year determines what conditions you will face on the water. Rivers go through transitions throughout the year depending on the season, snow melt, and rainfall. Whether you are new to rafting or an expert thrill seeker, the time of year should be put in to consideration before planning your next vacation.
Spring to Fall is when whitewater rafting is available to those looking to get on the water all throughout the country. Some of the best locations range from Colorado to Arkansas.
What is the best “season” for my group?
Whitewater rafting can best be put in to three seasons that are best for different groups. As winter comes to an end snow melts leading to more water to flow in rivers all over the country. When you add in additional rainfall it is easy to see why the current becomes rapid. Earlier the season higher the flow and closer to the end of rafting season is calmer.
Mid-May to Late-June
High flow kicks off rafting season as snow melts and rain starts to pour in. The water’s current not only increases but the water itself is at it’s highest. More experienced rafters can be seen on the rivers, but it is still possible for younger children to join in on the fun. This time of year, is the most exhilarating and offers the most challenge. Your group’s abilities and safety should be considered when determining whether this season is best.
Late-June through Mid-August
This time of year, is considered peak “tourist” season. Rivers are flowing with all skill levels taking on the lesser challenge of the previous season. Young families make up most of those rafting on rivers. Certain rivers have begun to open more paths that were closed off during high flow. But it is still best to book trips in advance to guarantee a spot on the river. The weather is at it’s warmest, so hydration is important. This season is considered the intermediate. Offering enough challenge for the whole family to enjoy.
Mid-August through October
As children make their way back to school most rivers become less crowded. Rivers begin to slow down offering calmer rafting experiences. For those wanting to take the time to truly experience nature and their surroundings, low flow season is the best option. Low flow rivers also give visitors more personal experiences with their guide since there is not as much of a rush to get to the next group. Those looking to escape the city life into a serene environment should plan for this season.
Plan your vacation ahead of time
Whitewater rafting is an exciting way to enjoy nature. The rush rafters experience is why many revisit year after year. Low flow offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy nature at a slower pace. When determining the best time to raft, skill level and safety should be the most important factors. Consider the ability of your group. Rafting is fun but can be dangerous to those less experienced and of lesser physical capabilities.
This article, Colorado’s top vacation destinations this summer, was written by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.