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What is the Best Time to go White Water Rafting?

If you are looking to go white water rafting, there is nowhere better than Durango White Water Rafting in Colorado. The best time of year to go white water rafting in Colorado is usually between May through August. This is because it is a seasonal activity. You want there to be enough water, but you also do not want it to be too cold. There are other things to think about as well because you need to consider water flow, peak tourist season, and weather.

Durango White Water Rafting

Water Flow

There are a few different types of whitewater flow you can experience, high, medium, and low water flow. The amount of water in the river constantly changes. In Colorado, sometimes there can be good summer flows. These are dependent on the amount of snow that exists in the snowpack and how quickly it melts. 

The amount of water in the river is measured in cubic feet per second or CFS. In the Arkansas River, you can find anywhere between 300 and 4,000 CFS throughout the year. Typically peak runoff is in mid-June.

High Water

Most often you will find high water in Late-May through late June. This is known as the most exciting time to go whitewater rafting. In Colorado, this usually occurs between the third week of May through the third week of June. You can find:

  • Big waves
  • Large hydraulics
  • Swift current 

There may be age restrictions, but you can still find family-friendly rafting for children as young as six.

Medium Water

Medium water levels typically occur from late June through mid-August. This is perfect for families, but also a good time to experience advanced parts of the Arkansas River. One popular area is the Royal Gorge. Medium flows are typically found during the warmest time of year, and this is known as the peak season. If you plan to book during this time you will need to book in advance, especially if it is on a weekend.

Low Water

Low water is found during the early season, which is before the runoff. It can also be during the late season, which is after runoff. This is typically at a lower water level, which will rise when the snow begins to melt. In mid-August, low water returns, and then it won’t return until the following spring. If you want to see wildlife you should go rafting in the early spring and late summer.

What to Know When Planning Your Colorado Rafting Trip

You should know that the peak tourist season is from late June through mid-August. Especially on holidays, you can expect to experience higher traffic. If you have flexibility, then the weekdays tend to be less busy than weekends. You should also know that the weather in COlorado varies. In July the weather is warmest, and if you go on a half-day trip you will be in the sun the most in the morning.

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