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Summer River Adventures

Summer’s sunny skies bring snowmelt into our rivers and open up many warm weather water adventures. Tranquil alpine lakes and meandering streams give way to fast-moving waters and rafters, kayakers and canoeists enjoy the thrill of the area’s rushing rivers.
  • Published: Dec 20, 2017
  • By: Tanya Ishikawa
  • Edited: Mar 30, 2021
Rental kayaks and paddle boards
Photo credit: RIGS Adventure CO
Whitewater fun on the Uncompaghre river
Photo credit: RIGS Adventure CO

 River Rafting

Spring snowmelt from high in the San Juan Mountains brings increased water flows to our local rivers and adventure opportunities for rafters and kayakers alike. Book a raft trip down the Uncompahgre, San Miguel or Gunnison Rivers and enjoy pristine wilderness, world-class fishing and stunning geology. 

 Whitewater Safety

Although rafting rivers is fun, it is also an activity that requires a high level of experience to safely maneuver a boat through any whitewater situation. So, before you go make sure your leader is properly versed and equipped for a variety of whitewater situations. When choosing a trip, make sure you aren’t getting in over your head. 

 Whitewater Rankings

Rating the difficulty of a rapid is based on a numerical rating system called “Class,” with class I (flat-water), up to class VI (Niagara Falls). For families of first timers, Class I – III is the way to go. For experienced boaters, class III – IV makes the most sense. Note: class V ratings are unadvised unless you are a trained professional and ready for combat swimming! Have fun & don’t forget to contact your local rafting outfitter to receive the most up to date information on conditions, access, gear and guided trips. 


Spend a lazy day tubing down the mellow waters of the Uncompahgre near Ridgway State Park in the shadow of Mt. Sneffels. It is a perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day!

 Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

Get a peaceful workout by enjoying the quiet waters of a mountain lake on a stand up paddleboard. Experience why this sport is quickly becoming the most popular watersport in Colorado! Equipment is available for rent in Ridgway. 

To book a river trip or rent gear, visit our local experts. See guides and outfitters on the Recreation page of our Local Business Listings.

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