Whitewater Rafting Upper Clear Creek Canyon

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There are a lot of options for going whitewater rafting in Colorado. The whitewater here is great and the scenery is even better. We decided to stay closer to the Denver area and chose a guide service out in Idaho Springs, AVA – Arkansas Valley Adventures. K and I had each been whitewater rafting when we were younger, before we knew each other. So we were excited to give it a try together. Our friends had also been before and loved it so it was the perfect idea of theirs to make an outing of it for all of us.

We selected an Intermediate+-Advanced Trip on Upper Clear Creek considered a 1/2 day trip. Counting our orientation, heading to the river, and the raft trip, it probably took about 3.5 hours. Basically, we showed up, got an introduction, geared up in wet suits (this river is from melt-off and is COLD), spray jackets, and helmets, got a run-down on what to expect, safety, and practiced a bit on land, and then we were off!

We got lucky and it was just the four of us with our guide in one raft. There was a second raft of some other folks. Even better, since we had some experience already, the guide made sure to make our trip more exciting, by choosing more challenging routes through the rapids and letting us do things like “surfing”, where we faced ourselves back upriver, paddled hard to get close to the bottom of a rapid at which point it pulls you in and starts flooding into the raft but it works out perfectly because you just sit there and surf the wave flowing over and around the raft. Our trip went up to Class IV rapids. We had a great time and thought we’d even try something harder next time!

Bringing a camera on the river is not something you want to do (you might as well chuck it in the river before you get in), and we didn’t purchase any of the photos they took, so you’ll just have to use your imagination!

The Basics

Who: Check with guide services if there are any age or other restrictions and to figure out what type of trip (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) is most appropriate for you.

What: You won’t just be along for the ride. You’ll definitely be getting a workout rafting down the river. Be prepared to row hard! And to get really wet – no one escapes!
Where: We liked our guide service, AVA, and our trip out of Idaho Springs on the Upper Clear Creek, but there are whitewater rafting options in many places around the country and the world!

When: AVA’s site says their rafting season is April through October. Check with guide services as this can vary by river and is all dependent on river conditions.

Why: If you want a little (or a lot) of adventure!
How: There are any number of guide services you can find by searching online. Decide what level of trip you’d like, how long, and in what area and then book a trip!
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