Colorado River: World-Renowned Whitewater Rafting Destination

From the peaks of the Rockies to the depths of Grand Canyon and beyond, the Colorado is the West’s most iconic river. At more than 1,400 miles in length—passing through seven U.S. States and 11 national parks and monuments—it’s not only the lifeline of the Colorado Plateau, the Colorado River is one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world.

Inhabited for centuries by the Navajo, Mojave, Ute and many other tribes, as well as their native predecessors, the Colorado River Basin provided rich grounds for hunting, fishing and gathering. The lush riparian areas helped native communities flourish and the wide flows allowed them to travel up and downstream.

It wasn’t until John Wesley Powell’s harrowing 1869 exploration of a large section of the river that the hidden canyons and raging rapids of the Colorado were put on the map. After that, it didn’t take long for other explorers and early river running pioneers to follow in Powell’s footsteps.

Today, despite dams and development restraining the free flow of the river in many places, much of the Colorado’s wild and rugged beauty remains and is now protected. Though flows are carefully regulated, Colorado River rafting trips consistently provide world-class whitewater and the adventure of a lifetime.