Whitewater Runs near Summit County, CO

Whitewater Runs near Summit County, CO

As summer approaches, you are ready to get your adrenaline fix with some wild rides down the rivers in Colorado and around Summit County.   One of the most popular rivers is the Arkansas.   Whitewater rafting is an activity that provides epic scenery with some heart pumping action.  In Colorado, there are many rivers to choose from and places to explore at all ability levels.  If you are new to whitewater rafting, I suggest you read the article on what to expect on a whitewater rafting trip.   If you have always wanted to learn more about whitewater kayaking,  I suggest reading another article on learn how to whitewater kayak.  

If you are new to Colorado rivers & creeks%name Whitewater Runs near Summit County, CO then it is important to get yourself the bible of all whitewater in the state.  This book offers you everything you need to know about running the rivers, put-ins and take out information.  It is the most informative book I have ever read and if you are a real passion whitewater rafter or kayaker, you must own it.

%name Whitewater Runs near Summit County, CO%name Whitewater Runs near Summit County, CO

Colorado is home to many rivers and creeks that are fun to play on when the weather gets warm.  The rivers flows are the strongest during the Spring months when the snow begins to melt off the mountains flushing into the nearby streams.  Many of the rivers and creeks offer commercial rafting trips or if you are experienced can go with a few others only if educated on river safety and have all the rafting gear.  Daily permits are needed for some rivers and can be purchased upon arrival.  Most commercial rafting trips will have the permit included in the cost of the trip.

The one river in Summit County that offers commercial Colorado whitewater rafting trips is the Blue River.  However the more popular locations for Whitewater rafting and kayaking is on either the Arkansas, Eagle or Colorado Rivers which are the popular whitewater locations are in and around the surrounding area.  If you are planning a trip to either Summit or Eagle County, this article helps to highlight the specific rivers and explains a bit on which ones are good based off your ability and comfort level.

Whitewater Rafting near Summit or Eagle Counties:

Arkansas River

One of the more popular rivers for rafting, the Arkansas services 30,000 rafters a year and offers a variety of options from beginner float trips to more advanced class IV runs.   You can see the sections on google maps.

       Name                                       Class

Granite to Numbers                                    IV – V

The Numbers                                               IV+

Railroad Bridge to BV                                III

Buena Vista to Frisherman’s Bridge       III

Stone Bridge to Salida                                II – III

Salida to Rincon                                          III

Rincon to Pinnacle Rock                           II -III

Pinnacle Rock to Parkdale                        III

Parkdale to Canyon City                            III-IV

If you are looking for a mellow float trip with smaller rapids then choose runs that are class II-III.  Class III rivers are fun but straightforward without too many obstacles and not as big drops and whitewater.  If you are in for a wild ride filled with many exciting moments then you might want to check out class IV – V.  These rivers will be filled with big rapids, holes and waves.


The Blue River Runs from Breckenridge Colorado to Lake Dillion and again from below the Lake Dillion Dam to Green Mountain reservoir.  The river continues below the reservoir to the takeout near Heeney.   The only commercial trips on the Blue River is the upper blue north of Silverthorne.  The popular after work run that is run by private rafters, kayakers and commercial trips is the section that begins about five miles north of Silverthorne named the Upper Blue.

       Name                                       Class

Breckenridge Town Run                            II – III

Silverthorne Town Run                              II – III

Upper Blue                                                      III

Lower  Blue                                                   II – III


The section of the Colorado River highlighted is perfect for the beginner rafter offering float trips with Class II with perhaps one Class III rapid.

Pumphouse to StateBridge                       II  (III)

StateBridge to Burns                                  II  (III)

Burns to Dosero                                           II  (III)


The Eagle River begins in Vail and is where they hold the GoPro Games every year.  The section of this river varies from Class V to Class II.  The entire river is recommended for intermediate to advanced boaters depending on which section you choose to run.

Camp Hale to Red Cliff                              IV(V)

Redcliff to Tigiwan Rd                               IV-V (V+)

Dow  Chutes                                                 IV

RiverBend Bus Stop to Edwards              III

Edwards to Eagle                                         III


Keystone Lodge to Swan mt Rd.              IV


Upper                                                             IV – V

Lower  E.Vail to Eagle                                III

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