Raft: Colorado River near Grand Junction (3-day)


A western river classic, this 3-day float trip features spectacular scenery, canyon hiking, riverside camping, and ample time for relaxation. This guided float trip led by professional river guides with Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides will be sure to bring a smile to your face as you float along the Colorado River outside of Grand Junction Colorado. 

SKU: raft-upper-co-2-1 Categories: , ,



2023 Dates:      

May 12-14
May 19-21
June 23-25
July 14-16
Aug 18-20
Sep 2-5
Sep 15 -17
Oct 20 – 22

A western river classic, this 3-day float trip features spectacular scenery, canyon hiking, riverside camping, and ample time for relaxation. The Colorado River through Ruby & Horsethief Canyons, flowing 25 miles from Loma, Colorado to Westwater, Utah, is mostly flat-water with Class I swiftwater and a short section of Class II rapids. This is a perfect trip for families and groups seeking the magic and splendor inherent in a multi-day river trip minus the stress of whitewater navigation.

The Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River flows through McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, which features sandstone canyons, natural arches, spires, and alcoves carved into the Colorado Plateau. Wildlife sighting opportunities are abundant along Ruby-Horsethief, home to bald eagles, peregrine falcons, river otters, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and great blue herons.

Our 3-day, 2-night trip through Ruby-Horsethief is designed to maximize quality time for hiking, floating, and leisure activity.

Day 1: Loma, CO Put-in to Cottonwood Camp (mile 6)

Within just a couple of miles from the Loma put-in, we enter Ruby Canyon, a beautiful red rock canyon home to several side canyons and creek washes ripe for desert hiking. Rattlesnake Canyon at mile 3.2  boasts the second-largest concentration of arches in the world, after Arches National Park in Utah. We will make camp at one of five camps in an area called Cottonwood, which is lined with cottonwood trees that provide abundant shade on hot summer days. The evening at camp includes hiking opportunities, beach games, an outstanding meal, and quality time under the stars.

Day 2: Cottonwood Camp to Black Rocks Camp (mile 16-17)

After a hearty breakfast, we leave Ruby Canyon and enter Horsethief Canyon at mile 9. A railroad runs along the right bank of the river for the rest of our journey. More hiking opportunities abound among the many side canyons. The river flow is flat for most of the day making swimming a most inviting activity on a hot day. At mile 16 the river makes a sharp left turn to reveal Black Rocks, a mile-long corridor of black metamorphic rock called Vishnu Schist, which was formed about 1.7 billion years ago. This same layer of rock geology, which geologists refer to as “an unconformity,” is also exposed in certain sections of the Grand Canyon several hundred miles downstream. Black Rocks mark the beginning of the only section of mildly turbulent whitewater along Ruby-Horsethief and also features nine iconic campsites along the left side of the river. We will enjoy one of them. Swimming is an especially popular activity in the Black Rocks area and there is a nice hike to Moore Canyon just downstream from camp. Another great meal and campsite leisure bring day two to a peaceful close.

Day 3: Black Rocks Camp to Westwater Put-in (mile 25)

After another hearty breakfast, we move downstream from Black Rocks for our final day of flow and appreciation. There is a special hiking opportunity at mile 18 up a side canyon called McDonald Creek. This short hike leads to ancient petroglyphs that provide a glimpse into the early civilizations of the desert canyon region. Our journey commences at mile 25 and the Westwater takeout.

Trip Details

Itinerary: 6:30 a.m. (Boulder, Golden, Denver Area). Plan on a very long day with 3:15 of transportation / sightseeing each way from our put-in/take-out on Upper Colorado (Pumphouse) – 20 minutes west of Kremmling Colorado. Our take out will be State Bridge or farther down the river based on flow rate, conditions, and group ability. Return time will be around 8:30 pm. Upper Colorado River Two Day: Pumphouse to State Bridge – 14 miles. Included in our rates: The services of a round-trip transportation from Boulder or Golden; All group camping gear; River Shuttle; Professional rafting guide(s); rafting trip; Splash jacket; and personal flotation device; group camping equipment; All food while on the river and camping, and sightseeing tour of Colorado’s History. Not Included: Sleeping bag and sleeping pad (Available for rent); Hotel accommodations before and after the trip; All alcoholic beverages, Dinner on last day Special Notes: On high water, we may increase minimum age from 7 to 9 years old  What to Bring: Sent with trip confirmation


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