Not To Be Missed: Catch Peak Rafting Season on the Eagle River

Whitewater Rafting Trip

When is whitewater rafting season in Colorado? Although we can raft from as early as April to as late as October depending on the weather, the months of May and June are peak season on the Eagle River. If you’re going to be in Colorado during these months, this is a rafting opportunity that you should not miss!

Whitewater Rafting in Colorado’s Eagle River

During its brief but intense season, the Eagle River is home to some of the best whitewater in the country. From the wild upper section that includes the famous Dowd Chute, all the way down to the playful lower section into the town of Eagle, the Eagle River may not be Colorado’s most famous rafting – but could easily be the most underrated.

“True river enthusiasts visit the Eagle River in droves during peak season,” said Sage owner and guide, Cole Bangert. “If the Eagle had a longer peak season, it would easily rival the Arkansas River in the number of visitors annually.”

The Eagle River is powered by snowmelt, resulting in a rafting season that runs from May through June and sometimes into early July. The excellent rafting is in large part due to a massive elevation drop. This snowmelt and steady gradient produce awesome rapids throughout the entire stretch. making it one of the best places and best times for rafting in Colorado.

Between the Upper Eagle, the Middle Eagle, and the Lower Eagle, we offer three different rafting experiences during this peak runoff season. Here’s a look at each of those rafting trips:

The Upper Eagle and Dowd Chute

The steep gradient of the Eagle River is most obvious in its upper section. Beginning near the town of Minturn, the steady drop creates an epic rafting experience that includes nearly 10 miles of waves and big rapids. This is a serious rafting adventure that’s suitable for ages 16 and up.

The Eagle River’s most famous stretch is found in this upper section – and that’s Dowd Chute.

“This section of the Eagle River is class 4-plus,” Cole commented. It’s a fast, steep, fire hose type of rapid. By the time we clear the last wave, paddlers in the front of the boat might be sitting in the laps of the folks in the back of the boat”

Check out the following video to learn more about our rafting trips on the Upper Eagle.

The Middle Eagle River

After Dowd chute, the fun continues. From the bottom of Dowd Chute to the town of Edwards, paddlers enjoy 10 miles of outstanding class 3-plus whitewater. This is a great rafting experience for adventurous paddlers ages 13 and up.

The Middle Eagle River comes to a crescendo with the “Edwards Mile”, a mile-long class 4 rapid with big waves the entire way.

To learn more about rafting trips on the Middle Eagle, take a look at this brief video:

The Lower Eagle

Rafting trips on the Lower Eagle River begin near the town of Wolcott and end in the town of Eagle. Like the rest of the Eagle River, this stretch features a continuous wave train of rapids. The big waves on the lower stretch are a ton of fun, and this is a great trip for families ages 10 and up.

Like the rest of the Eagle River, the peak season on this lower stretch runs during the months of May, June, and occasionally into early July. Paddlers will enjoy awesome scenery, floating through the dramatic red rock walls of the Eagle River canyon. The trip finishes off in the new whitewater park right in the town of Eagle.

Take a look at the video below to learn more about rafting trips on the Lower Eagle River.

Don’t Miss Out on One of the Best Times for Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

If you’d like to learn more about rafting the Eagle River during peak season this year, please visit the Rafting Page on our website or call us at 970-476-3700. Runoff is going to be epic, so jump on the opportunity to raft the Eagle River. Colorado white water rafting season starts now!

How to Prepare for Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure

The best time to raft in Colorado is after the snow has melted, and this year’s runoff is shaping up to be a memorable one! There’s a ton of snow in the high country and recent storms have continued adding to our snowpack. Statewide throughout Colorado, the snowpack is currently over 140% of normal. Here in the Colorado River basin, the snowpack is currently 138% of normal. And over in the Arkansas River basin, it’s 148% of normal! It’s going to be a long, high water season on our rivers.

What to Bring on a Whitewater Rafting Trip

As you prepare for your summer rafting adventure, there are a few things to think about. The first is what to bring. The list is pretty simple but you’ll want to make sure you have a few key items. Here’s the rundown.

On every rafting trip, we provide a helmet, a wetsuit on cool days, a splash jacket, a PFD, and wetsuit booties.

We also recommend that you wear and bring sunscreen and chapstick. If you plan to wear your sunglasses on the raft, don’t forget Croakies or Chums to keep them in place! Finally, bring cash to tip your guide (18% is normal).

What to Wear Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

You should wear your swimsuit underneath your street clothes for the ride to the river. On hot, sunny days when we’re not wearing wet suits and splash jackets, you might want to wear a cover shirt for sun protection.

Check out this quick video, as Cole and Kyle explain what to bring and why:

Questions to Ask your Rafting Guide

With your bags packed, you are all set for your adventure whitewater rafting in Colorado. It’s going to be an epic season here in Colorado, and we hope to see many of you on the river. As you prepare for the trip, how about some questions you might want to ask your guide? Here are a few things you might want to ask while you’re on the river:

  • How does this water compare to other times of the year?
  • What animals may we see on the water today?
  • What’s your favorite part of being a rafting guide?
  • What do you do during the off-season?
  • What other stretches of the river do you run?
  • Where is the best swimming hole?
  • Ask about the history of the area.
  • Ask for any crazy river guiding stories they have!

If you’re wondering when is white water rafting season in Colorado, it’s when the snow melts. More specifically, it’s generally from May through September, but can stretch from April to October.

Expert to Beginner Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

If you’d like more information on rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures, please be sure to check out our Rafting Page. And explore the rest of our website to see all the other fun activities we offer, including horseback riding, ATV tours, and fly fishing!

For details, availability and booking call us at 970-476-3700 or contact us online.

Colorado River Rafting 1-Day or Half-Day Trips to Get On Your Radar

Take it from your favorite paddle junkies: we’ve had the opportunity to explore rivers all over our home state. Colorado rafting adventures are unlike any other. If you haven’t had the opportunity to explore many of them, let us fill you in on how great a Colorado whitewater rafting trip can be.

group of people whitewater rafting

Here are the Colorado whitewater river rafting trips that must be on your radar!

Northwest Colorado

We can’t talk about rafting trips in Colorado without getting into our state’s namesake river. Whitewater rafting on the Colorado River takes place on a number of great stretches that can all be done in one day. From the mouth of Gore Canyon, all the way down into Glenwood Canyon, there are a number of day-trip sections suitable for a wide range of abilities.

The Eagle River also offers some outstanding day-trip stretches. Check out the upper Eagle from Minturn to Edwards and the lower Eagle River from Wolcott to the town of Eagle.

Another Norwest Colorado favorite of ours is the Roaring Fork, particularly the Slaughterhouse section.

The Yampa River offers visitors the chance to experience a 5-day wilderness trip. The scenery will leave you dumbfounded, and then you add in the class III and IV whitewater, and this one is a winner.

The Northwest area undoubtedly offers some of the best options for both expert and beginner white water rafting in Colorado.

Southwest Colorado

The Animas River is a great one near Durango that offers excellent day trips, and is probably one of the best family rafting trips in Colorado. The Animas has everything from kid-friendly excursions to difficult whitewater.

The San Juan River is unique in that visitors can experience an extended, 7-day wilderness adventure. With no difficult rapids, it’s great for families with young children. You will feel like you are the first person to ever be there.

The Dolores River also offers overnighters, from 3-day to 7-day wilderness trips. The Dolores travels through different micro-climates, starting in the mountains with tall ponderosa pines, and then turning into a classic desert canyon trip near the Utah border.

Southeast Colorado

The Arkansas River is the undisputed Jewel of southeast Colorado and perhaps some of the most famous whitewater in the state. Well-known adventures include Arkansas river with Browns Canyon rafting trips along with the Numbers, Pine Creek, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and the Royal Gorge.

With great day trips that are easy to reach from the front range, it’s easy to see why rafting trips on the Ark are so popular. Perfect if you’re looking for difficult or beginner white water rafting in Colorado. Browns Canyon white water rafting trips in particular can be great for a wide range of skill levels.

Northeast Colorado

The Poudre Canyon is a Front Range favorite for a Colorado whitewater rafting trip. This wild and scenic River is home to day trips just outside Fort Collins, Colorado on class III sections of the lower Poudre.

The North Platte River is a hidden gem in Colorado. But don’t let its sleepy status fool you. The Wild & Scenic North Platte offers some awesome multi-day wilderness trips that cross from Colorado up into Wyoming.

Clear Creek is a popular paddling playground that’s close to Denver and the Front Range metro area. Visitors here can enjoy day trips on several different sections of Clear Creek for a different levels of Clear Creek Colorado rafting.

Adventure Whitewater Rafting in Colorado

If you’d like to learn more about the awesome Colorado river rafting 1-day or half-day trips that we offer here at Sage Outdoor Adventures, please check out our Rafting Page. You can also contact us online or simply give us a call at 970-476-3700.

The Spring Melt: Impact on Rafting and Fishing

Another late blast of snow across the Rockies can dump feet of wet spring snow in some locations. But that doesn’t stop the sun from shining, and temperatures will continue to climb back up into the 70s in many places across Colorado. The smaller creeks will fill up and the water will start to rise. In summary: the spring melt is underway, and that’s the best time to raft in Colorado!

group of rafters in a Sage raft

Spring Weather and Rafting

Even as late as May, Colorado’s snowpack can stand at over 100%, leading to higher than average surges of water. This means when the runoff begins, there will still be a ton of snow up high. Depending on how rapidly summer temperatures arrive, runoff could last weeks longer than normal. At its peak, that means these weather conditions will bring some epic whitewater rafting conditions, making spring one of the best times for rafting in Colorado!

Pro tip: the Arkansas River and the Colorado River often give great insight into when to expect peak rafting conditions. If you don’t want to miss the excitement, give us a call at 970-476-3700 to reserve your spot. Or check out our rafting trips.

Early Spring Weather Impact on Fishing

While the rafting community will be celebrating outstanding whitewater conditions, fly fishing enthusiasts might be less enthralled with the prospect of an extended high-water spring season. However, many veteran anglers will tell you that runoff is not the time of year to sit on the sidelines.

Among many in the fly fishing world, runoff gets a bad rap. Water is high, often muddy and many of your favorite holes might be unrecognizable. But that doesn’t mean the fishing isn’t great. It just means you have to fish differently.

In some ways, runoff provides advantages that help offset the challenges. During high water, fish concentrate in predictable locations. They tend to get pushed out toward the banks and into any slack water where they can find reprieve. You may not be able to wade during runoff, but you probably don’t need to. With fish in these more reachable locations, they can be easily targeted from shore. Check out our fly fishing page for more information.

No matter what you find yourself doing this spring, whether you’ve got a paddle or a fly rod in your hand, have fun and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer! If you have questions about trips with Sage Outdoor Adventures, call us at 970-476-3700 or send us a message.

Reserve Your Summer Whitewater Rafting Trip

Spring temperatures are arriving in Colorado and that means water levels will rise! As runoff progresses, we’re looking forward to an awesome season of rafting!

It’s no secret that when the snowpack is well above average, an epic rafting season is just around the corner. Check out this regularly updated national snow survey to see what conditions you can expect! If there are prime weather conditions, you can bet whitewater enthusiasts are already busy planning summer adventures. Prime dates will fill up fast, so if you have a trip in mind, we recommend reserving your summer rafting dates early!

We offer a wide range of rafting experiences to suit different ages and ability levels, which is one of the reasons why we consider ourselves one of the top whitewater rafting companies in Colorado. Here’s an overview of our rafting adventures:

Float Series (Class II)

Our Float Series rafting adventures are perfect for all ages. These trips on the upper Colorado River travel through beautiful canyons where you’ll enjoy splashing through waves and leisurely swimming holes. We even offer a Ducky Trip, giving you the opportunity to captain your own two-person raft! For more information, check out our Float Series.

Adventure Series (Class III)

Our Adventures Series summer whitewater rafting trips provide the excitement of rapids and spectacular Colorado canyon scenery. You won’t be able to wipe the grin off your face! These trips are widely varying depending on the season and interests of your group. They include stretches of the Colorado River, Gore Creek, and the lower Eagle River. Not to mention, the world-renowned Brown’s Canyon whitewater rafting trips, for some of the best rapids for Arkansas River rafting. Brown’s Canyon rafting trips are suitable for a variety of skill levels.

Adrenaline Series (Class IV & V)

Our Adrenaline Series trips offer some of the best nonstop action on the most well-known stretches of white water in Colorado. Experienced rafters will tell you that the Numbers rapids on the Arkansas River as well as the Pine Creek sections of the Ark are some of the best. But don’t overlook our local river in the Vail Valley! The Eagle River offers some of the best summer whitewater rafting in the state. Check out our Adrenaline Series for more info on class 4 whitewater rafting in Colorado.

When is whitewater rafting season in Colorado? Right now! To reserve your dates for an summer rafting trip, call us now at 970-476-3700 or contact us online. Let’s plan your adventure river rafting in Colorado!