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Recreation Activities


Water Recreation

One of the best ways to explore Colorado is by water. Depending on the location, options include whitewater rafting, flatwater rafting, canoeing, kayaking and more. Those looking for a multi-day boating trip will find plenty of spots to camp alongside the rivers in Colorado. There are also plenty of opportunities to take a break from boating and enjoy hiking or mountain biking on nearby trails.

When using services provided by commercial boating outfitters, be sure to use a permitted outfitter that is registered and licensed for those services provided. Dealing only with legal outfitters ensures that you are receiving services from a provider that is familiar with all necessary laws and regulations and is well prepared to protect your safety.

Special Recreation Permits

If you think you may have found an illegal outfitter, please report any information you have to the local BLM field office.

National BLM River Database: Rivers in Colorado

American Whitewater: Colorado River List

Colorado River Outfitters Association: Water Report

Featured Recreation Areas


Whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Encompassing 150 miles of whitewater river with class II to V rapids, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is an extremely popular rafting location. In fact, the country's oldest whitewater boating race and festival, FIBArk, takes place on the Arkansas River every year.

Dolores River

Dolores River Recreation Area

The Dolore River, Colorado's longest remote river, descends through stunning red canyons. Boating trips at Dolores River Recreation Area will present exciting challenges to rafters who ride these technical rapids.

Kayaker on the Eagle River

Eagle River Recreation Area

With a number of river access points, Eagle River Recreation Area is an ideal location for various boating activities. Visitors can enjoy year-round whitewater rafting, and outfitted trips are even available.

Scenic green river canyon

Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area:
Gunnison Gorge Wilderness

The Gunnison River cuts a breathtaking double canyon through the colorful sandstone formations of Gunnison Gorge Wilderness. With class II to IV rapids, this particular portion of Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area features some of Colorado's best whitewater boating.

Yampa River

Little Yampa Canyon Recreation Area

The Yampa River meanders through the mountains within Little Yampa Canyon Recreation Area. Visitors will enjoy opportunities for canoeing and flatwater rafting through a scenic canyon.

Ruby-Horsethief River Corridor

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area:
Ruby-Horsethief River Corridor:

The Colorado River's Ruby-Horsethief River Corridor flows through the stunning red-rock canyons of McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. The Vishnu schist of the Black Rocks area is also a spectacular sight. Class I and II flatwaters here provide leisurely opportunities for both rafting and canoeing.

Rio Grande

Rio Grande Recreation Area

Those looking for a great flatwater rafting experience will enjoy Rio Grande Recreation Area. Visitors can enjoy more challenging rapids near the Colorado-New Mexico border, or these can be bypassed by hiking through the canyon.

Whitewater rafting on the San Miguel River

San Miguel River Recreation Area

With a consistent gradient and a continous flow, rafting within San Miguel River Recreation Area makes for excellent boating trips. While heading down the river's class II and III rapids, visitors can enjoy views of unique riparian plants.

Whitewater rafting on the Colorado River

Upper Colorado River

The class I to V rapids of the Upper Colorado River provide for a wide array of rafting, kayaking and canoeing opportunities. Boaters of any skill level can design trips that are specific to their own interests and abilities.