Located between two of the great river systems of the West, the Colorado and the Arkansas, the Vail Valley offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. While there are trips to satisfy the adrenaline junkie, river rafting is not always a white-knuckle sport. With trips for any age and ability, rafting can be a pleasant day on the river with family and friends. Outfitters generally provide all the equipment you will need.
River rafting is a popular activity for summertime visitors in the Vail Valley. The plethora of whitewater options in town or in short distance from town make this a great place to have the thrilling rafting adventure of a lifetime. The Colorado, Eagle, Roaring Fork and Arkansas Rivers are only a few of the renowned rafting venues in and around the Vail Valley. Rafts hold anywhere from 4 to 12 passengers. Led by an experienced raft crew, most excursions mix participation and leisure. Participants will learn to paddle as a team, and direct the craft according to the instruction of the guide. River trips of varying levels are offered by nearly every vendor. Your trip can range from a mellow float down still waters, an exciting trip down mild whitewater, or a thrilling adventure on some of the most challenging and exciting rapids in the nation; it's all available to you as a rafter in the Vail Valley.
According to the International Scale of River Difficulty, whitewater fits one of the following ratings:
Class 1: Very small rough areas, requires no maneuvering. (Skill Level: None)
Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require maneuvering.(Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill)
Class 3: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.(Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills)
Class 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill Level: Whitewater Experience)
Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering (Skill Level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)
Class 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous as to be effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of most all rafting equipment.
Based on this scale, be sure to discuss your expectations, the experience of your group and any health or fitness restrictions with your vendor. They will help you select a trip that best fits your parameters.
Located between two of the great river systems of the West, the Colorado and the Arkansas, the Vail Valley offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the world. While there are trips to satisfy …