The Best Place to Go River Tubing Near Denver

Brittany is an award-winning journalist based in Denver where she has lived and worked for more than a decade.

Michelai Graham is a technology and business reporter who has written for The Urban Institute and Scoop News. She reports for AfroTech, Lifewire, and The Plug.

Tubing in Golden's Clear Creek

Natasha Japp Photography/Getty Images

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are certainly the state’s biggest attraction. The gorgeous peaks to the west of Denver are certainly awe-inducing. But, Colorado also has some great rivers and the ice-cold run-off from the mountains’ snowfall provides an opportunity to cool down in the summer. This is especially welcome when temps are consistently in the 90s.

You can enjoy a dip close to Denver with stunning scenery and float away to your heart’s content on a fairly smooth river. One of the best places to do this is Golden’s Clear Creek, which offers some great tubing.

Cozied up to the base of the Rocky Mountains, Golden is less than 30 minutes from Denver. There’s enough to do in Golden that you can return after a day on the river and take advantage of the city’s downtown area’s apres-tubing eateries. Golden itself is a go-to place for outdoor enthusiasts, whether you’re a daring stand-up paddle boarder who wants to trade calm reservoir waters for some rapids or you’re a mountain biker looking for some grueling ascents.

Upriver from Golden, you can go whitewater rafting, with floats suitable for beginners to those who are more advanced and can handle whitewater rapids. On some of those more adventurous trips, river rafting companies screen your athletic ability and paddling skills before you can take the trip because the rapids are just that intense.

The lower stretch of Clear Creek that winds through Golden and is shaded by beautiful trees is perfect for a one-day river tubing getaway from Denver. You can stay a while to enjoy a picnic in a nearby park or explore this historic mining town (which is also home to Coors Brewing Company and the Colorado School of Mines, an engineering university).

Tubing Basics

  1. This isn’t exactly a float in the lazy river. You’ll encounter some fast-moving water as you float along. Those mini-white water rapids look like unassuming ripples in a brook from the walking path but they feel much more powerful when you come face-to-face with them in an inner tube; you can get churned out of your tube and might need to do a little swimming down the creek.
  2. Wear water shoes. The Clear Creek River has gobbled up plenty of flip-flops. Wear shoes that secure to your feet so they don’t get swiped away by its characteristic, swirling rapids. Your feet will thank you. When you’re entering and exiting the river, the rocks can be brutal, especially if your feet are sensitive. Plus, you’ll be doing a lot of walking on the concrete between your points of entry and exit, so having shoes makes for a much more comfortable experience.
  3. Lift your bum: When you’re nearing rocks or rapids, do a little butt lift do a little butt lift so you don’t wake up bruised the next day. Try to avoid the shallow areas where you can see the rocks, as well. If you get stuck in a slow spot, fellow tubers will give you a friendly budge.
  4. Get the right tube: One of those black innertubes from a gas station will do just fine, but the bigger and sturdier tubes with enclosed bottoms will make for a much more joyful ride. They’re easier to steer and the extra stability makes it less likely you’ll topple into the river.
  5. Check out how fast the river is running: The United States Geological Survey (or USGS) monitors the river flow and you can check out daily water flow conditions. When the river is running 40 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 100 cfs, you can expect a mellow to moderate tubing experience. Between 100 and 500 cfs, you’ve got a much swifter ride. And, it’s best to leave the river to the kayakers and canoers when the river gets between 500 and 1,000 cfs. Bans typically go in place if the river is above 1,000 cfs.
  6. Know when to go: With fresh snowmelt in May and June, the river is pretty frigid. By July, the creek warms up some and prime tubing time is in August and September. However, with some balmy days in October, tubing Clear Creek can be a unique way to enjoy the changing leaves.

Planning an Epic Day of Tubing

Fuel up with a good brunch: Make your first stop the Bridgewater Grill, at 800 11th St. in Golden which is inside the Golden Hotel, and request to sit on the patio where you’ll get a scenic view of Clear Creek. Fuel yourself with a Colorado omelet, decadently stuffed with chorizo and green chilis, or the steel cut oatmeal topped with fresh berries and cream. They also serve Bloody Mary’s (and Bloody Maria’s, made with tequila) that are garnished so well, you could almost turn them into a meal.

Buy a tube: If you’re a local, invest in a tube to call your own and that will take you on future rafting trips. As a bonus, they’re great for sledding down snow-kissed hills come winter.Golden Goods, 1201 Washington Ave. in Golden, is near the river and sells some high-quality tubes for under $40. Store employees will even pump up the tube for you so that you can use it right away.

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Rent a tube: Just visiting? You can rent a tube nearby at Golden River Sports, 806 Washington Ave. in Golden and play all day in the river with the locals. Tube rentals range from $20 to $50 a day, depending on the size and type of tube. You can find more information about the rentals at the Golden River Sports’ Facebook page.

Launch your tube: Golden’s Clear Creek River is a stand-out for water enthusiasts because the city built a special Whitewater Park, 800 feet in length, constructed with boulders and divided into sections that feature a series of drops and pools. Tubers will come across shallow surf waves, fast eddies, drops, and pools. The course is free and is unsupervised. To access the course, you can park at Lions Park (a prime spot for a picnic, too). There’s also free parking further downstream at Vanover Park if you want to continue on your tubing journey. A walkable path runs parallel to the Clear Creek River, with lots of drop-in points. It’s recommended that you park another car near where you plan to get out so that you can shuttle yourself back to the starting point.

Get a sweet treat: Like a reward at the finish line, Golden’s main drag has plenty of places where you can grab an ice cream cone. Check out Golden Sweets at 1299 Washington Avenue in Golden. The ice cream shop and candy store also have a soda fountain. The Pretzel Fluffer Nutter will satiate both your sweet tooth and salty snack cravings; the peaches and cream shake is a summer-time favorite.

Dinner at Abejas

Continue to Play in Golden

Picnic or relax in the parks: Just north of Clear Creek, Lions Park is a local gem, complete with a horseshoe pit, sand volleyball court, and a newly remodeled playground for kids. Down the creek, you can relax at Vanover Park with the sound of the creek in the background providing the perfect soundtrack for a relaxing afternoon. The east side of the park features a climbing structure and nature play elements for kids to monkey around on.

Rent a bike: Continue your adventure on two wheels by renting a bike from Golden’s Bike Library, located at 1010 10th St. The bikes are free if you ride for less than two hours. Otherwise, it’s a $10 a day rental fee. Unlike typical bike shares, the bike library has a variety of bikes available for rent, including road bikes, mountain bikes, children bikes and light-weight geared bikes that are good for traversing Golden’s hills.

Have dinner at Abejas: Enjoy the season’s best ingredients at Abejas, located at 807 13th St. in Golden. The restaurant’s focus is seasonal meals prepared with local ingredients, which makes for an ever-changing menu. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The local fish dish is a must-have on the summer menu.

The Best Places for White Water Rafting Near Denver

Whitewater rafting

The Colorado Rockies are a great destination location for Whitewater Rafting for people visiting from all over the world. There are rivers all over the state that have their own unique twist on a Colorado Rafting experience. Though the front range has a lot to offer for hotels, food, and other city conveniences, you should travel into the mountains in order to get on the best whitewater rafting trip. Lets go through a few options close to the front range, talk about their perks, and make sure that you pick the best whitewater rafting trip for you and your group!

Here is our list of the best places for whitewater rafting near Denver:

1.) Clear Creek – Idaho Springs, CO

Clear Creek is an icon of whitewater rafting in Colorado and where most people will raft when staying in Denver, CO. What makes this river so incredible is its diversity of difficulty levels, rich history, and accessibility.

Distance from Denver: Only about 30 minutes west of Denver, Clear Creek is a great option because of its proximity and flowing river that offers all levels of whitewater.

Clear Creek Whitewater Rafting

Sections:

The Gold Rush: The mildest section of Clear Creek to run is between Chicago Creek and Kermit’s. Though a milder and shorter section this whitewater ride takes you through some of the most historic sections of Idaho Springs. Chicago creek is said to have held the first gold nugget found in the gold rush of Idaho Springs. This trip also takes you past the Argo gold mine – once the most profitable mine in the world. Finally, the take out at Kermit’s is near the dive bar, Kermit’s, which has one of the oldest pork green chili recipes in Colorado.

  • Kids: This is a great section to raft if you are going to have kids in your group. You need to be 6 years old or older to raft this section of the river.

Upper Clear Creek: If you are looking for a more intense whitewater experience, don’t worry, Clear Creek holds this as well. Travel a bit farther up river and run Upper Dumont to Satellite for a more thrilling class IV experience.

  • Thrill Seekers: This is a great section for those looking for a thrilling experience. You need to be 15 years old or older to raft this section.

The Lower Canyon: Not enough for you? Take on the treacherous lower canyon. This will put in at Kermits and take out just above Miles Gulch Park. This will involve intense class V whitewater.

  • Experienced Rafters: This is a great section for experienced rafters. You need to be 15 years old or older to raft this section of the river.

Clear Creek Canyon is our top place for whitewater rafting near Denver hands down.

Scenery:

Clear Creek is nestled in a Rocky Mountain valley, so you will have beautiful mountains surrounding you. Also, this trip is incredible convenient as it is right off the high way, but during most of the trip you cannot even tell you are off the highway. Once you’re done rafting, you are in the heart of a historic mining town with awesome shops, restaurants, and breweries.

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2.) Cache la Poudre River – Fort Collins, CO

The Poudre river is a great destination location for people staying near Denver, CO. Fort Collins is just an hour and fifteen-minute drive from downtown Denver and offers an incredible experience for all levels of rafting experience.

Distance from Denver: 1 hour north of Denver, the Cache La Poudre is a great option for those looking for a scenic trip with fun whitewater.

Overnight Rafting in Colorado

Sections:

Lower Poudre: The milder section of the river is known as the Lower Poudre. This offers a class II-III experience. This is the perfect half day activity for families looking for great views and great whitewater.

  • Families with kids: The Lower Poudre is a great section to raft if you have children in your group.

Wild and Scenic: The Poudre river is also one of the only “Wild and Scenic” sections of river in Colorado, describing the awesome scenery and wildlife the trip will hold.

  • Thrill seekers: This is perfect for those looking for a heart pumping experience.

Mishawaka Falls: If you are looking for a more thrilling section of whitewater near this area, try Mishawaka falls. This solid class IV will offer all the trills you are looking for, along with the gorgeous lower canyon views. Make sure to check out the Mishawaka amphitheater right off the side of the river. This amazing venue is a bucket list for show-lovers of all ages!

  • Thrill Seekers: Perfect for a group looking to raft class IV whitewater.

Scenery:

As we mentioned above, there will be not shortage of views during these trips. The Poudre is also nestled in between mountains and will take in incredible scenery as your wind through the valley. Once you’re done rafting, downtown Fort Collins is the perfect vacation town with walk-ability, music venues, restaurants and more!

3.) Colorado River – Kremmling, CO

Are you more of the chill type? Are you just looking to see more of Colorful Colorado’s views without unneeded stress? The Upper Colorado river is the river for you! Located about 2 hours from Denver and offering mild class II rapids and spectacular high-desert canon views, the Upper C is a destination for families, groups looking for a milder experience, or groups looking for one of the best overnight trips Colorado has to offer.

Distance from Denver: 2 hours northwest of Denver, the Upper Colorado is the perfect river that offers amazing views and runs all spring, summer and fall.

Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Trip Options:

Upper C Rafting: A half day experience would typically run between Pumphouse and Radium and gives you the opportunity to relax in the balmy radium hot springs, or maybe pump up your adrenaline with a cliff-jump. Looking for a longer experience? Try running between pumphouse and Rancho del rio. Even better, if you are looking for a three-day trip, you can run all the way down to State Bridge.

  • Families with children & those looking for a relaxing experience: This section is really fun and you will hit a few rapids but it is perfect for kids and those wanting to take in the scenery.

Stand Up Paddle Board: If you are looking for more of a challenge, then stand up paddle board is the perfect adventure for the Colorado river. Smaller rapids will give you a bit of a challenge while the mild river gives you a chance to take in the scenery and focus on your paddling.

  • Thrill Seekers: Stand Up Paddle Boarding down the Upper Colorado is the perfect combination of challenging, exciting, and fun.

Inflatable Kayaks: This is such a fun way to take on the Upper Colorado! Try your hand at kayaking but let the inflatable kayaks make your trip a bit less technical.

  • Thrill Seekers: Put your steering to the test and navigate the water in an inflatable kayak.

Inflatable Kayak in Colorado

Another awesome option for whitewater rafting near Denver, Colorado!

In conclusion, if you are looking for a true Colorado Rafting experience, Idaho Spring’s historic rafting runs, the Poudre’s wild and scenic rapids, and the Colorado river’s relaxing and fun experience are all great options for you and your family. Learn more about rafting options near Denver, and don;t miss out on the adventure you won’t be able to stop talking about!

Next time you are in Denver, make sure you check out one of these whitewater rafting options for the trip of a lifetime.

The Best Places for White Water Rafting Near Denver

Whitewater rafting

The Colorado Rockies are a great destination location for Whitewater Rafting for people visiting from all over the world. There are rivers all over the state that have their own unique twist on a Colorado Rafting experience. Though the front range has a lot to offer for hotels, food, and other city conveniences, you should travel into the mountains in order to get on the best whitewater rafting trip. Lets go through a few options close to the front range, talk about their perks, and make sure that you pick the best whitewater rafting trip for you and your group!

Here is our list of the best places for whitewater rafting near Denver:

1.) Clear Creek – Idaho Springs, CO

Clear Creek is an icon of whitewater rafting in Colorado and where most people will raft when staying in Denver, CO. What makes this river so incredible is its diversity of difficulty levels, rich history, and accessibility.

Distance from Denver: Only about 30 minutes west of Denver, Clear Creek is a great option because of its proximity and flowing river that offers all levels of whitewater.

Clear Creek Whitewater Rafting

Sections:

The Gold Rush: The mildest section of Clear Creek to run is between Chicago Creek and Kermit’s. Though a milder and shorter section this whitewater ride takes you through some of the most historic sections of Idaho Springs. Chicago creek is said to have held the first gold nugget found in the gold rush of Idaho Springs. This trip also takes you past the Argo gold mine – once the most profitable mine in the world. Finally, the take out at Kermit’s is near the dive bar, Kermit’s, which has one of the oldest pork green chili recipes in Colorado.

  • Kids: This is a great section to raft if you are going to have kids in your group. You need to be 6 years old or older to raft this section of the river.
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Upper Clear Creek: If you are looking for a more intense whitewater experience, don’t worry, Clear Creek holds this as well. Travel a bit farther up river and run Upper Dumont to Satellite for a more thrilling class IV experience.

  • Thrill Seekers: This is a great section for those looking for a thrilling experience. You need to be 15 years old or older to raft this section.

The Lower Canyon: Not enough for you? Take on the treacherous lower canyon. This will put in at Kermits and take out just above Miles Gulch Park. This will involve intense class V whitewater.

  • Experienced Rafters: This is a great section for experienced rafters. You need to be 15 years old or older to raft this section of the river.

Clear Creek Canyon is our top place for whitewater rafting near Denver hands down.

Scenery:

Clear Creek is nestled in a Rocky Mountain valley, so you will have beautiful mountains surrounding you. Also, this trip is incredible convenient as it is right off the high way, but during most of the trip you cannot even tell you are off the highway. Once you’re done rafting, you are in the heart of a historic mining town with awesome shops, restaurants, and breweries.

2.) Cache la Poudre River – Fort Collins, CO

The Poudre river is a great destination location for people staying near Denver, CO. Fort Collins is just an hour and fifteen-minute drive from downtown Denver and offers an incredible experience for all levels of rafting experience.

Distance from Denver: 1 hour north of Denver, the Cache La Poudre is a great option for those looking for a scenic trip with fun whitewater.

Overnight Rafting in Colorado

Sections:

Lower Poudre: The milder section of the river is known as the Lower Poudre. This offers a class II-III experience. This is the perfect half day activity for families looking for great views and great whitewater.

  • Families with kids: The Lower Poudre is a great section to raft if you have children in your group.

Wild and Scenic: The Poudre river is also one of the only “Wild and Scenic” sections of river in Colorado, describing the awesome scenery and wildlife the trip will hold.

  • Thrill seekers: This is perfect for those looking for a heart pumping experience.

Mishawaka Falls: If you are looking for a more thrilling section of whitewater near this area, try Mishawaka falls. This solid class IV will offer all the trills you are looking for, along with the gorgeous lower canyon views. Make sure to check out the Mishawaka amphitheater right off the side of the river. This amazing venue is a bucket list for show-lovers of all ages!

  • Thrill Seekers: Perfect for a group looking to raft class IV whitewater.

Scenery:

As we mentioned above, there will be not shortage of views during these trips. The Poudre is also nestled in between mountains and will take in incredible scenery as your wind through the valley. Once you’re done rafting, downtown Fort Collins is the perfect vacation town with walk-ability, music venues, restaurants and more!

3.) Colorado River – Kremmling, CO

Are you more of the chill type? Are you just looking to see more of Colorful Colorado’s views without unneeded stress? The Upper Colorado river is the river for you! Located about 2 hours from Denver and offering mild class II rapids and spectacular high-desert canon views, the Upper C is a destination for families, groups looking for a milder experience, or groups looking for one of the best overnight trips Colorado has to offer.

Distance from Denver: 2 hours northwest of Denver, the Upper Colorado is the perfect river that offers amazing views and runs all spring, summer and fall.

Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Trip Options:

Upper C Rafting: A half day experience would typically run between Pumphouse and Radium and gives you the opportunity to relax in the balmy radium hot springs, or maybe pump up your adrenaline with a cliff-jump. Looking for a longer experience? Try running between pumphouse and Rancho del rio. Even better, if you are looking for a three-day trip, you can run all the way down to State Bridge.

  • Families with children & those looking for a relaxing experience: This section is really fun and you will hit a few rapids but it is perfect for kids and those wanting to take in the scenery.

Stand Up Paddle Board: If you are looking for more of a challenge, then stand up paddle board is the perfect adventure for the Colorado river. Smaller rapids will give you a bit of a challenge while the mild river gives you a chance to take in the scenery and focus on your paddling.

  • Thrill Seekers: Stand Up Paddle Boarding down the Upper Colorado is the perfect combination of challenging, exciting, and fun.

Inflatable Kayaks: This is such a fun way to take on the Upper Colorado! Try your hand at kayaking but let the inflatable kayaks make your trip a bit less technical.

  • Thrill Seekers: Put your steering to the test and navigate the water in an inflatable kayak.

Inflatable Kayak in Colorado

Another awesome option for whitewater rafting near Denver, Colorado!

In conclusion, if you are looking for a true Colorado Rafting experience, Idaho Spring’s historic rafting runs, the Poudre’s wild and scenic rapids, and the Colorado river’s relaxing and fun experience are all great options for you and your family. Learn more about rafting options near Denver, and don;t miss out on the adventure you won’t be able to stop talking about!

Next time you are in Denver, make sure you check out one of these whitewater rafting options for the trip of a lifetime.

Source https://www.tripsavvy.com/tubing-near-denver-4068486

Source https://www.coloradorafting.net/blog/the-best-places-for-white-water-rafting-near-denver/

Source https://www.coloradorafting.net/blog/the-best-places-for-white-water-rafting-near-denver/#:~:text=The%20Poudre%20river%20is%20a%20great%20destination%20location,incredible%20experience%20for%20all%20levels%20of%20rafting%20experience.

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