The Upper Colorado River Basin is one of Colorado’s least known and spectacular wilderness areas. Set near the mountains of Steamboat, the Upper Colorado plays host to whitewater rafting, fly fishing, hiking, and camping, in a breathtaking red rock canyon, with rolling hills and plains on one side, and the mountains of Grand and Summit County rising magnificently on the other. For adventurers who want to get away from the ordinary and explore a part of Colorado that is rarely known, other than locals, the Upper Colorado River is a world away from the mountains and trails of the Front Range. Here are some of our favorite day trips on the Upper Colorado River.
Whitewater Rafting – Explore the Rapids in the Upper Colorado Canyon
The Upper Colorado River plays host to some of the best whitewater rafting in the state, delving into red rock canyon, exploring year-round flows, and discovering true wilderness full day rafting. While the rafting isn’t the most intense in Colorado, it’s perfect for families, children, and first-time rafters who will enjoy the long stretches between beginner to intermediate rapids, plus stretches of still water where there’s opportunities to swim in the cool mountain waters, explore riverside caves and alcoves, climb to the top of cliffs and then drop into the river, and bask in a riverside hot springs. In the spring, carpets of wildflowers, forests of Douglas Firs, and vast rolling hills surround us. While other rivers are dependent on snowmelt, the Upper Colorado flows from the headwaters of the Colorado River and is raft-able year-round. Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Colorado is within an hour and close to Vail, Beaver Creek, Copper Mountain, Frisco, Keystone, Winter Park, Grandby, Breckenridge, Dillon, Grand Lake, Silverthorne, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Fly Fishing – Fish for Species Native Only to Colorado
The Upper Colorado is one of Colorado’s most legendary fly-fishing rivers, with year-round fly-fishing options, for some of the most prized trout in the West. Besides its year-round status, the Upper Colorado is also prized for its variety of species, including medium to large-sized brown, rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout. The Upper Colorado lends itself to float or wade fishing, which allows us to either float from the raft, casting into eddies, shallow pools under whitewater rapids, or under the canyon walls, or wade either from the shore or into the middle of the river where we’ll get to cast up close to the pools and canyons. This is one of the few rivers in Colorado to be designated Gold Medal Waters, meaning its one of the prized fisheries of the state.
Hiking – Explore the Upper Colorado by Foot
To truly explore the Upper Colorado, there’s no better way to see the river then to explore the trails from above. With miles of trails lining the river, the rocky trails of the Upper Colorado explore hidden alcoves along the river, precarious paths set high above the water, and the hidden secrets of the river, from prehistoric dinosaur tracks, to caves, and the remnants of Colorado’s gold mining age. The trails will take you through aspen groves up to groves of desert sage, and up to the top of the canyons where we’ll get to overlook the mountains of Summit and Grand Canyon, and the rolling hills of the alpine desert plains. Come explore the Upper Colorado in a way that you’ve never seen before.
Camping – A Multi-Day Trip to Take You Farther on the River
Want to explore the river farther then anyone else? Join us for a multi-day camping trip on the Upper Colorado River. We’ll start on one side of the river and then travel across, while camping at riverside sites, where we’ll get opportunities to leisurely explore the canyon and then set up camp at one of the dispersed sites alongside the Upper Colorado. A multi-day trip allows for longer days of rafting, fishing, and hiking, allowing us to combine multiple adventures into one trip. We’ll camp alongside some of the groves of the river, and then camp at the eclectic beaches of Rancho Del Rio, an established riverside camp with shacks for food and drink, and a wild river guide community. This is the best way to see the river as only the locals get to see it.
Beyond the River – Explore the White River National Forest
There are plenty of options to taking your adventure one step further. After your adventure on the Upper Colorado, join us for an adventure in the nearby Flat Tops Wilderness, an extraordinary landscape of flat mesas, rushing waterways, unique trails, and dispersed camping. The advantage of camping in the Flat Tops Wilderness is the open campsites, which allow us to choose our campsites closer to the waterways and the lakes, allowing for longer fishing days, and exploring such legendary trails as Devil’s Causeway and the Chinese Wall.
Colorado Wilderness Rides and Guides is exclusively permitted to guide on the Upper Colorado River and the White River National Forest for backpacking, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and mountain biking. Come explore the Upper Colorado River in a way that only our guides know. Call 720 242 9828 to book your adventure today!