Are you ready for an Estes Park rafting adventure?  Ride the rapids in either the Poudre or Colorado rivers for a day of splashes, plunges, and the thrill of your life. With an impressive amount of winter snowfall and ample spring rain this year, we are primed and ready for an epic rafting season here in Estes Park. But before you head to high waters, read here for a few things to know before you go with our Estes Park rafting guide.

Know the Classification System

Before you choose a rafting route, understanding the classification system of rapids is highly important. Rapids are classified using a numerical ranking system, Class I through V. Class I being the easiest and Class V being the most challenging, it is important to understand what the rankings mean before you jump in the raft.

Class I – moving water with a few small waves. Usually no obstructions.

Class II – Easy rapids with manageable waves.

Class III – rapids with higher, unpredictable waves. Precise maneuvering is often required.

Class IV – Difficult rapids, along usually longer routes that often require intricate maneuvering.

Class V – Extremely difficult and challenging to navigate. This is the highest level of rapids you will reach in a commercial raft.

Know the water level

Much of the classification of the rapids depends on the water level. Typically, higher water levels increase the difficulty of the rapids. Most commercial rafting companies will not enter the water when it is flowing at a rate of 450fs or lower.

Know the course

Knowing what course to choose based on your skill level is key for your Estes Park rafting adventure. Obviously, some are more challenging than others and much of this depends on the current water level.

Raft the Poudre River     

Located one hour from Estes Park, Ft. Collins, CO is home to the Cache La Poudre River. Cutting through the Poudre Canyon, the river, which is Colorado’s only river designated as “wild and scenic,” is perfect of first-time rafters. Experience Class I, II, and III rapids on the lower Poudre. But if you are up for more a challenge, head to Mishawaka Falls.

Raft the Colorado River

Float the scenic waters of the Colorado River. Encounter Class II and III rapids that take you through some of Colorado’s most beautiful landscape. The headwaters of the Colorado River starts in Rocky Mountain National Park. For most tour companies expect about a two-hour drive to put in at the Colorado River from Estes Park.

Estes Park Rafting Companies

If it’s your first time out on the river or even it’s your tenth, going with a raft guide is the safest way to go. There are several local Estes Park rafting guide companies in and near town that offer expert advice and the utmost safety.

Know what to bring

As you most likely will be getting wet be sure to wear clothing that wicks water and will keep you (mostly) dry. Sunglasses are suggested but be sure they are well-secured. A hat is recommended as the Colorado sun can get hot. Also, wear waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin and make sure to drink plenty of water.

But most of all remember to have fun!

Estes Park Lodging

image of rocky mountain resorts cabin

After a long day on the river, take a rest from the rapids with a stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts. We offer several cabins, condo rentals, and vacation homes all located in Estes Park and just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park. We make a great home-base after your adventures on the water with our comfortable accommodations and convenient amenities. Start planning your Rocky Mountain adventure today!