1. Clear Creek
Multiple outfits guide this roiling canyon that parallels I-70 past the towns of Georgetown and Idaho Springs. The closest major rafting experience to Denver and Estes Park, it’s on the thrilling, high-action end of the scale.
2. Colorado River
There are several popular spots along this waterway, with scenic and family options (read: slower) on the Upper Colorado and through Shoshone Rapids near Glenwood Springs. But we like the heart-pounding action and dramatic cliffs of Gore Canyon, also near Glenwood.
3. Arkansas River
Farther west and south from the I-70 corridor, this river raged with snowmelt early last summer, then calmed to a more normal flow, which is typically a moderate ride with a few exciting (scary for some folks) rapids.
4. Boulder and St. Vrain Creeks
Buy or rent inner tubes to float these tributaries from midsummer on, when mellower water levels make them fun for the whole family.