Rafting & Kayaking Options
Durango Colorado Rafting & Kayaking
Durango Colorado rafting & kayaking options. Did you know that Colorado’s state song is screeching bald eagles over the melody of thundering rapids? Just kiddin’, but it could be! These drop-dead gorgeous rivers will serenade you all day long with the righteous crescendo of spring snowmelt. You’ll want to sing right on back, right there on the river, perhaps in tune with those shrieking birds of prey previously mentioned. So whether you’re prepared strictly for gentle babbling, or vehement roaring whilst running a musical downstream, here are a few tips that help dial in a perfect rafting trip in Colorado.
The rafting season in Colorado is from April to October depending on the area. The peak season for high water is usually in June when spring days really start cooking away at the snowpack. If you want a more mild whitewater experience, we suggest getting on the rivers before or after June. This always depends on the weather, however, so don’t be shy in asking about water levels.
We ensure every guest is prepared for fun and involuntary swimming, and so higher adventure trips come with age requirements that fluctuate with water levels. Trips with younger kids can be moved accordingly to a different river/section or portaged to walk around big rapids on certain rivers.
If you want a more calm experience that’s more about floating with occassional sprinkles, look for trips with class I and II rapids.
Maybe you need the water mixed with a little sass, so look for intermediate trips that have class III rapids. Class III rapids are wet and delightful and usually beckon some wooting.
Now perhaps wooting won’t be enough, and a good long-winded scream is what you’re looking for on the agenda. That’s going to fall under the high adventure class IV and V rapids, which require physical fitness and a swim test. Folks, get ready to get big-eyed in big drops of ferocious whitewater. You’ll be soaked and wailing like a warrior in a wetsuit in no time.
Mild Durango Colorado Rafting & Kayaking Options
Lower Animas – Best Seat in Town
It doesn’t get much classier than cruising around Durango on the river. This is a great trip for beginners with class II and occasional class III rapids. You’ll learn paddling techniques and Durango’s history amidst refreshing splashes. Kiddos as young as 4 can come along before and after the high flow season, and will easily exit the raft to walk around Smelter Whitewater Park. You can spend a few hours or most of the day on the Lower Animas in a raft or kayak.
Intermediate Durango Colorado Rafting & Kayaking Options
San Miguel – Do the Twist!
You’ve got mountains to the left, desert to your right, and class II rapids the whole time. The San Miguel River flows through a tight canyon, and guests will need to help paddle around rocks and bends. This bumpy waterway moves at a quick pace past aspen groves and red sandstone walls, and it’s all about the action rather than guide interpretations (they don’t have time for history lessons in between paddle commands anyway). You can raft the San Miguel for half-day to 3-day trips. The age requirement for the upper section is 10-years-old while the more mild lower section is 8-years-old.
Wild Durango Colorado Rafting & Kayaking Options
Piedra – The Paddles in the River Keep On Churnin’
Go ahead and treat yourself to the steep box canyons and pure whitewater encapsulating the Piedra. Be ready to paddle through class IV rapids in a 1,000 ft deep canyon! This trip requires guests to be 16 years and up and physically fit. Paddling experience helps on this river as there are multiple chutes and 4 ft waterfall drops. If you find yourself in the Piedra’s upper section when the water levels are just right, natural hot springs emerge for soaking beside the bank. Rafting the Lower Piedra section requires a swim test.
Upper Animas – You’re Han Solo, the Raft is the Millennial Falcon, and the Asteroids are walls of whitewater
This is the most commercially difficult river to run in the United States. The Upper Animas dives deep into the Weminuche Wilderness, so much that the put in is only accessible by train. The trip requires paddling for its entirety, as the run is saturated with boulders, drops, and bends. This high adventure experience requires participants to be 16 years and older, physically fit, and able to pass a swim test through a class III rapid. You can raft the whitewater beast up to 4 days.
Why Choose Mild to Wild For Your Durango Rafting Adventure
Running a river is a sure-fire way to live in the moment and rekindle a deeper connection with the wilderness. We think people deserve those things on the regular. Mild to Wild is dedicated to giving people an amazing outdoor experience, and we couldn’t do that without exceptional people and high standards. Here is an insight and overview of the Mild to Wild foundation that provides amazing adventures across the Southwest.
- Our strict safety practices are visible from our extensive guide training and quality equipment we lend to every guest for every trip. Not all rafting companies provide guests with free helmets, PFDs, and splash gear.
- Mild to Wild has state-certified in-house guide training, where guides acquire the skills for river rescue, interpretive and customer service skills, as well as First Aid and CPR. Our guides exceed state requirements by twice the miles in rafting experience.
- This company is run by the owners, Alex and Molly! They guide, consult on trips, and work in the boatyard. They have been family-focused since they started Mild to Wild 25 years ago.
- Mild to Wild has more permits than other local rafting companies, which means more trips to choose from!
- If you are not absolutely delighted with our guides & river equipment, the trip is FREE. This confidence in our service is unparalleled in the industry.