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When Snow Melts, Watery Thrills Await With Whitewater Rafting

When Snow Melts, Watery Thrills Await With Whitewater Rafting

Browns Canyon along Arkansas River is not for the faint of heart (AVA Rafting/Facebook)

Every spring, the high country sends cascades of frigid cold, roaring water down mountain rivers. While the runoff signals the end of the ski and snowboard season, it also means that it’s time to hop into a raft and keep the thrills coming.


Rafting companies at or near mountain resorts typically run trips from late spring into the early fall. Most offer from mild float trips to wild-n-wooly Class III-IV rapids. Flows tend to drop as season goes along.

Here’s SnoCountry’s look at some of the top locations:

Arkansas Valley (Colorado). Monarch Ski Area overlooks Salida, the kayaking hub on the Arkansas River. Dozens of rafting companies sit along its banks. Nasty, wild Brown’s Canyon is the top attraction but the stretch from Granite Outpost to Salida is chock-full of thrills.

Eagle River

Eagle River (Colorado) Flowing past Vail and Beaver Creek, Eagle River trips hit Class II, III and IV rapids from put-in at Edwards and take-out at Eagle. Soaring 14,000-footers frame the horizon.

Teton River

Jackson Hole, Grand Targhee (Wyoming). The Snake River Canyon is scenic setting for half-day trips in the deepest gorge in the entire river.


Tahoe (California). A slew of rivers get their start in the Sierra, so rafting trips are plentiful. Truckee River sources north of Lake Tahoe, as does American River to the southwest.

Berkshire Rafting

Berkshire East (Mass.). The mighty Deerfield River runs right past the ski and snowboard hill and through the town of Charlemont for ready access. Flows controlled by upstream dam make scheduling easy.

ELC Rafting

Sunday River (Maine). The resort town is launch point for trips on the town’s eponymous waterway. Trips on Androscoggin, Rapid and Kennebec can be had with a a bit of a drive.


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