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River Ratings & Recommendations

River Ratings – Know Before You Go

Rafting (or any other river sport) on the rivers through and around Vail is one of the greatest activities and adventures to enjoy during the spring, summer and fall months.  Be sure that you are monitoring waterflow levels and pay attention to river ratings, so you don’t find yourself on something that you are not comfortable navigating.  We strongly suggest you leave the navigating to a trusted river outfitter, so that you can make the most out of your river adventure.

Rivers are rated using Roman numerals I to VI according to the International Scale of River Difficulty. Note, that a river’s level of challenge changes with fluctuations in water levels; a river rated Class IV at medium water levels might resemble a Class III river at lower water levels, while at higher levels, it might look more like a Class IV+. Check with an experienced rafting company and guide for updated ratings based on flow.

River ratings near Vail:

Class I – Easy, family friendly waters – limited rough areas and requires minimal skill – great for a family trip or even stand-up paddleboarding and tubing. Check Out: Upper Colorado, Vail’s Whitewater Park on Gore Creek

Class II – Great for groups and first-timers – rapids will put a little pep in our paddle, with some rocks and maneuvering. Check Out: Upper Eagle, Upper Colorado.

Class III – Experienced rafters & paddlers, exciting terrain – a little more advanced with medium waves, 3 – 5foot drops, and significant maneuvering. Check Out: Middle and Lower Eagle, Brown’s Canyon, Shoshone, Gore Creek

Class IV – Advanced whitewater experience – boasting large waves, long rapids and some considerable drops with sharp maneuvers. Check Out: Gore Creek, Edwards Mile, Down Chute, Upper Eagle, The Numbers

Class V – Hardcore/experts – large waves and rocks, continuous rapids, large drops and precise maneuvers that can be life or death. Check Out: Pine Creek, The Numbers, Gore Canyon