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 only – 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