River Rafting Wyoming and Colorado

18 Oct

River rafting-fun and rewarding

River rafting is a challenging recreational outdoor activity using an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on white water or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers. The development of this activity as a leisure sport has become popular since the mid-1970s.

Bring it home

We happen to have a great resource here at LCCC in Leif Swanson.  He teaches English Composition currently, but also is the resident rafting expert.  In a recent email interview, Swanson elaborated on the subject for me, including some close places to experience river rafting.  “I love to talk about river rafting.  The closest good place is the Poudre River north and west of Ft. Collins.  The lowest stretch, the Filter Plant run, is a good beginner’s stretch–mostly class II and III.  Just above the Filter Plant run is the Bridges section–more technical and risky–probably a class II – IV run with a dangerous bridge pier that’s tricky to avoid at high water.  There are some more advanced runs upstream, as well.  Another good river is the Colorado, of course.  The upper Colorado River near State Bridge is good run with some nice hot springs alongside the river to soak in.  This run is probably a class II-III.  Downstream from State Bridge is the Glenwood Canyon on the Colorado River near Glenwood Spring, Colorado. This is where I did my guiding summers 1985-1990. Way up in the Glenwood Canyon is Shoshone rapids, a continuous two-mile stretch of class III and IV whitewater.  Some of my favorite drops, for sure!  Several miles downstream are South Canyon rapids, an awesome Grand Canyon-like rapid with swells reaching 10-12 feet during high water.  What a rush!  The Roaring Fork River near Glenwood Springs is fun, as well.  It features Cemetery rapids–easily a class III at high water.  Wyoming has some great rivers.  The North Platte River just inside of the Colorado/Wyoming border features some awesome rapids, including Stovepipe.  Probably a class IV at high water.  The Snake River around Jackson is very popular–class I-IV.”

Get Wet

Swanson goes on to talk about more good rafting areas, as well as some ways to get into the sport, yourself. “If you’re just getting into river running you might try signing up for a few different trips with the commercial rafting companies.  You could probably Google whitewater rafting in Colorado and Wyoming and come up with several opportunities.  If you want training in order to become a commercial river guide or to run your own trips safely, you could probably Google this, as well, and find some good schools.  Rocky Mountain Adventures in Ft. Collins offers swift water rescue training.  Swift water rescue skills are absolutely essential for being a river runner.”  Swanson also directed me to the website www.mountainbuzz.com, which features information on most of the rivers in Colorado and Wyoming.

As you can see, we have a great resource at our disposal in Southeast Wyoming, and many training exercise facilities are open year-round, so you can get your practice in during the winter, then hit the water next spring!


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