Upper Animas River

Upper Animas River Rafting

The Ultimate Class V Colorado Whitewater Rafting Adventure!
Upper Animas River Rafting
Location: Inside the canyon between Durango & Silverton
Adventure Level: High Water: Ultimate High Adventure / Extreme Low Water: Silverton Section: High Adventure Needleton Section: Advanced Intermediate
Class: High Water: Class IV & V with continuous Class II and III
Low Water: Continuous, technical Class II & III with Class IV+ rapids
Season: Late May – Early August
Restrictions: Silverton Section: 16 and up
Needleton Section: 14 and up (when mid to lower levels)
Physical fitness essential
Required on river orientation the night before
Wetsuits required (rentals available)
Paddling experience recommended
Current Water Levels
CLICK on the video to see the Animas in action!

Upper Animas River Trip Description:

Conquer continuous whitewater and explore 14,000 foot peaks in the most spectacular and entertaining 26 miles of whitewater in Colorado. Considered to be one of the toughest commercially run trips in the United States, the Upper Animas river rafting trip brings adventure enthusiasts from around the world to Durango, Colorado. Cascading creeks and waterfalls pour into the river as you face continuous sections of whitewater that leave your arms shaking from the constant paddling. Travel on the historic Durango & Silverton Train through the heart of Colorado’s largest wilderness area to access this adventure, a unique and rewarding way to start and/or end your adventure depending on the section you run. All participants must be strong swimmers, in great physical condition, and able to paddle as the boat bounces, spins and submerges!  Mandatory pre-trip safety orientation includes a practice raft trip with a swim through a Class II+ or Class III rapid! Join Mild to Wild Rafting for our 20th year rafting the Upper Animas River!

As the high water of spring recedes, Upper Animas rafting settles down a bit and becomes suitable for those looking for a great wilderness trip with lots of technical whitewater, but not quite the intensity of high-water runoff in June. As water levels lower in mid summer so does the difficulty of the trip. Age recommendations drop to 14 for the Needleton Section and the trip lowers in intensity from extreme to advanced with one portage for those rafters who are under age 16 or do not want to run the bigger rapid. The ability to walk around the Class V rapids at more moderate water levels allows a larger spectrum of river enthusiasts to experience this magical Colorado rafting trip.

• Does part of your group want a mild trip while you paddle away all day? Check out the Lower Animas Full Day!
• Can’t get enough high adventure?? The Ultimate Whitewater Adventure is your ticket to multi-day fun!



Our One Day Upper Animas River rafting guests only have one regret: missing out on our spectacular, deluxe, private camp and the thrilling rafting of day two! Our unmatched base camp is complete with kitchen tent, pot belly wood burning stove, bathroom teepee, camp tables and chairs, hammocks, horseshoes, games, campfire pit and occasionally a visit from the area’s bear! Then, after your relaxing night in the canyon, you get another spectacular day of whitewater rafting! All of the Animas River rafting trip options are complete when you board the famous Narrow Gauge Railroad, overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment, for your shuttle out of Colorado’s most imposing canyon.

Click here for directions to our main office in Durango.

Upper Animas Rafting Trip Highlights:

  • 100+ rapids
  • Three big, class V “Violent” rapids
  • 14,000 foot peaks rising from the banks of the river
  • Colorado’s largest wilderness area – the famous Weminuche
  • Deluxe wilderness, semi-permanent camp
  • Two possible one day sections, depending on the flows and your adventure level – Silverton or Needleton

Special Ways We Care for You on The Upper Animas River:

  • 20 Years Experience Rafting the Upper Animas River
  • Guide to customer ratio average is 1 to 4
  • Extra Safety boater for every 2-3 rafts, depending on flow
  • Train shuttle included in price, $85 value
  • Pre-trip, on-river orientation with a practice raft trip and swim
  • Extra thick thermal wetsuit rentals – 5mm wetsuits, 2.5mm wetsuit jackets, wetsuit boots, gloves & skull caps
  • Satellite/Spot and radio communication for extra safety in the canyon
  • Trip leaders average 5,000 river miles (Forest Service requires 1,250)
  • Various raft sizes to give you the best adventure at different water flows

Upper Animas Rafting Trip Options

Upper Animas Three Day Trip

A True White Water Rafting Vacation Because you need a layover day to play in this wilderness canyon! Raft the same sections as the 2-day trip, with a layover day in the Weminuche Wilderness to fish, hike & explore. Cost: $675* • Ages: 16+ Upper Animas Three Day Silverton TripBook Now Learn More

Upper Animas Two Day Trip

Constant Adventure on the Upper Animas River Don’t regret missing our deluxe camp and day 2 of more exciting white water! Enjoy a ride on the historic Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to finish your adventure. Cost: $525* • Ages: 16+ Upper Animas Two Day Silverton TripBook Now Learn More

Upper Animas One Day Silverton Section

The Best Class V White Water Rafting in Colorado Conquer continuous whitewater on the most challenging section of the Upper Animas. Discover continuous Class III, with Class IV “big drops” & 2 Class V “violent” rapids. Cost: $255* • Ages: 16+ Upper Animas One Day Silverton SectionBook Now Learn More

Upper Animas One Day Needleton Section

The Upper Animas shows its’ nice side in this friendlier one day! The friendlier section of the Upper Animas provides continuous Class III, some Class IV & 1 Class V at high water. Lower water provides Class II and III rapids, with Class IV-. Cost: $255* • Ages: 16+ Upper Animas One Day Needleton SectionBook Now Learn More
Click here for recommendations on Durango Lodging.