Payette River goes big near Tamarack. (Tamarack Resort/Facebook)
The winter may be over, but a solid reminder of what a good year it was in the West continues to play out in the rivers that are flowing bank-full out of the mountains this spring.
The Rockies source many of America’s big rivers – like the Arkansas, Colorado and Rio Grande -- and they get top billing by major resorts that put rafting on their activities list.
However, there are a plethora of tributaries that course out of the high country and provide both spine-tingling Class III-IV rapids and calmer family floats during the spring.
SnoCountry.com went looking beyond the usual rafting suspects, and came up with a list of top river rafting locations near winter ski and snowboard resorts in the Rockies:
Sign up in downtown Park City and head out for two-hour and half-day trips through scenic Weber River Canyon or the Provo River near Sundance Resort. Rapids top out at Class III, and Provo River is prime kayaking territory.
The San Juan Mountains feed a dozen rivers that head west to the Colorado, including the San Miguel River that runs right through the middle of the town of Telluride. Rapids reach Class III+ for half-day trips that put in about six miles downstream from townside base of Telluride Resort.
Full-day trips on the Payette River – a tributary of the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border – start out with sign-up at Tamarack Resort. Rafters hit 10 miles of various rapids for six hours, and cost includes lunch and transportation.
Aspen is famous for many things, and the big-river rafting on the Roaring Fork River should be on the list. Morning trips down Slaughterhouse Falls reaches Class IV rapids, or through the upper reaches of the river when water flows get to Class III. Gentler family trips also available. Sign up in downtown Aspen.