Dolores River – Colorado White Water Rafting
A Colorado white water rafting trip on the Dolores River offers more unbroken miles of wilderness river scenery and thrills than any river trip in the lower forty eight states. This white water rafting trip option is one of America’s most classic paddling experiences. The Dolores River is at its most runnable state in early spring to summer (mid-April through mid-June) for white water rafting in Colorado.
The Dolores River flows 230 miles north from the Bear Mountains in Colorado lying deep within the San Juan National Forest. Hosting Arches National Park, various petroglyphs and ruins of the Anasazi peoples.
**Minimum age of 10
For an added experience, look for the options to Stand Up Paddle safely on some of our Delores River Rafting trip options!
Ponderosa Gorge BOOK ONE DAY | BOOK 2 DAY | BOOK 3 DAY
47 miles | Class III-IV | 3 days
A Colorado white water rafting trip on the Dolores River flows down through the high country, clear green and cold, teeming with trout. Camping under the branches of ancient 100′ Ponderosa pines, you can listen to the roar of the legendary Class IV Snaggle Tooth Rapid, the beginning of one of the most challenging stretches of whitewater rafting in Colorado, culminating in the fury of the Narrows ten miles downstream.
Ponderosa – Slickrock Canyon – Hanging Flume Canyon – Lower Gateway Canyon
(ages 10 and up)
50 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
Slowing its flow as it enters the grottos and side canyons of Slickrock, float past towering walls streaked with desert varnish and forming the most enchanting and beautiful desert canyon in the American Southwest. Hidden in the mysterious corners of the canyons are prehistoric Anasazi pictographs and ruins. More moderate rapids in this section of the river provide a good stretch for instructional kayak, canoe or inflatable kayaking. Camp beneath overhangs where the “Ancient Ones” camped thousands of years ago. There are also great sections to safely try Stand Up Paddle boarding on the flat waters, ask for details!
Hanging Flume Canyon
45 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
After leaving Slickrock Canyon, a Colorado white water rafting trip on the Dolores River will meander across Paradox Valley beneath giant cottonwoods where rookeries of Great Blue Heron and other bird life thrive. Below Paradox Canyon the river reaches its confluence with the San Miguel River (doubling its volume) and enters Hanging Flume Canyon. The tattered remains of the flume built in the 1800’s to transport water to the “high bar” of Lone Tree Placer Mine can still be seen suspended hundreds of feet above the river. There are also great sections to safely try Stand Up Paddle boarding on the flat waters, ask for details!
Lower Gateway Canyon
38 miles | Class III-IV | 2-3 days
The last section of the Dolores River before its confluence with the Colorado River brings you Gateway Canyon and offers again the challenge of technical white water thrills. Abundant birds and wildlife surround you along with Indian rock art, both petroglyphs and pictographs, found on the canyon walls. We float beyond the “Rio Nuestra Senora de los Dolores” and mingle with the Colorado River under the historic Deway Bridge in Castle Valley. There are also great sections to safely try Stand Up Paddle boarding on the flat waters, ask for details!