Royal Gorge Rafting

Enjoy The Very Best White Water Rafting In Colorado

Royal Gorge rafting on the Arkansas River is probably the best white water rafting in Colorado. It is consistantly voted as being one of the top ten places in the United States to go whitewater rafting.

The Arkansas River is one of the major tributaries of the mighty Mississippi and, although dwarfed by that great river, is still the 45th longest river in the world.

It has its origins high up in the Rocky Mountains near the town of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado. Its waters come tumbling down through narrow valleys dropping 4,600 feet in under 120 miles. It is not until it reaches Cañon City, Colorado that the river valley widens and takes a flatter course.

This section of the Arkansas River from its source through to Cañon City is the centre for white water rafting in Colorado and Royal Gorge rafting is the ultimate thrill.

Just imagine the excitement of riding the whitewater rapids of the Arkansas River while gazing up in awe at the cliff walls of the Royal Gorge soaring 1,000 feet above you.

The thrill of passing under the Royal Gorge Bridge with the rocks of the gorge just a few yards on either side will take your breath away. Royal Gorge white water rafting can be a challenging activity and as rafting in general is considered an extreme sport, it can sometimes be dangerous.


However, all the companies involved in Royal Gorge rafting limit these dangers by only employing the very best experienced river guides and using the best equipment possible.

Accidents have happened while white water rafting in Colorado, but they are extremely rare and generally tend to occur on private trips rather than on those with experienced guides

There are some really tremendous rapids on the Royal Gorge whitewater trips! With names such as Boateater, The Narrows, Sledgehammer and Wallslammer you know what you are letting yourself in for.

The rapids through the Royal Gorge are classified as Class Four and Class Five. This means that the ride is for experienced rafters or others who are in a good physical condition.

This classification is an internationally recognised way of deciding on the degree of difficulty in safely navigating a way through rapids.

  • Class One - Skill level required. Very basic.
  • Class Two - Skill level required. Basic paddling skills.
  • Class Three - Skill level required. Experienced paddling skills.
  • Class Four - Skill level required. Whitewater experience.
  • Class Five - Skill level required. Advanced white water.
  • Class Six - Rapids of this category are considered to be unnavigable! Skill level required. The ability to walk on water!


  • Although the white waters of the Royal Gorge are for the experienced, there are stretches of the Arkansas River that are great for beginners or families who want the thrill of white water rafting in Colorado.

    When you go rafting one of the things you will be asked is "do you want to paddle?"

    If you really want to go for it and be part of the team that completes the journey downstream, then you will want to paddle.

    If you think you might not be fit enough, or are worried about doing something wrong, then you have two other options.

    The first is called "paddle assist." This is where you can paddle part of the time but the river guide contols the boat with oars. The final choice is the "oar option" where you just sit back and enjoy the thrill and the scenery and the guide uses the oars the whole trip.

    White water rafting in Colorado has been a sport since the early 1970`s and there are outfits on the Arkansas River who have been running Royal Gorge rafting trips since that time.

    What Company Should You Choose When You Go Royal Gorge Rafting?

    Well that`s really down to you and the sort of trip you want to have. Do you want a fairly gentle family fun day or a rip roaring white knuckle ride down white water that will get your adrenaline pumping? Whatever your choice will be there is a company that will cater for it. Some companies provide a certain option, other companies do them all.

    So what I have done is put together a list of the major outfits and also included a few extracts of reviews from an independent website. I hope you find this information useful.




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