Whitewater rafting requires steep mountain grades, significant water flow and proximity to a city, which makes Steamboat Springs an excellent choice to explore the rafting options of the surrounding area.
- Float past pre-Columbian rock carvings and ancient dinosaur tracks while taking in the incredible canyon views of the Yampa River.
- Rafting is determined by water flow, so time your trip with the summer snowmelt to ensure a great experience.
- Steamboat has easy access to a number of whitewater rafting rivers, including the famous Colorado River.
Ranchers need plenty of water for their herds, so they traditionally settled close to water sources like the Yampa River Basin, where Steamboat Springs is located. Fortunately, these rivers are snow-fed works of art in the eyes of whitewater rafters.
Whether visitors are out for a quiet scenic float on with a group of friends and family, or searching the wet thrill of hitting holes and surfing waves, whitewater rafting around Steamboat Springs will not disappoint.
Where to go Whitewater Rafting
This stunning river runs right through Steamboat Springs, the Yampa Valley, past pre-Colombian petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks in the canyons of Dinosaur National Monument, then finally meets with the Green River - all without a single dam!
The rapids range from Class I to Class V, so there's something for everyone. Most of the river is class I-III, but Juniper Canyon and Cross Mt. Canyon offer some great challenges for adventurous Yampa River rafting.
No matter the length of the trip, the sights and stories that come from the trip will be shared with friends and family for years. If you can manage to get the time, try the three-day or five-day trips. For the truly bold visitor, cover the entire route in 9 or 10 days for an unforgettable experience.
The Colorado is one of the most well known rivers in the area for whitewater rafting, and for good reason. The variety of terrain goes from easy Class I and II rapids, all the way to the thrilling spills and holes of Class IV and V rapids.
The closest rafting put-in to Steamboat is the State Bridge Landing on CO-131, which is 55 miles south of town.
The Eagle River is a great opportunity to experience one of Colorado's few undammed rivers. The river has a large variance in waterflow because it depends solely on snowmelt. So, if the day before was exceptionally warm, then your rafting experience could be "epic", a term whitewater rafters use for a great day on the river!
While located a little farther away from Steamboat Springs than the other rivers, the Blue River has some exceptionally scenic waters to run. Accessing perfect whitewater for first-timers or families with small children, the put-in is 78 miles south, past Kremmling on CO-9.
Guided Tours and Rentals
Unless you're a regular on the rivers, whitewater rafting requires guides and rafts to safely maneuver the rapids, as well as manage the transportation and lunch, so explore some of the links below to find the right balance between price and service.