Eagle River offers exciting whitewater in Central Colorado, close to Vail. Most trips meet in Eagle, some 30 miles west of Vail. The river is a tributary of the Colorado River and is fueled by snowmelt from the above Rockies. Most seasons run until about mid-July when the whitewater and water levels go down.
It is said that the Ute named the river, Eagle, because it has as many tributaries as an eagle’s tail has feathers. Rapids include The Trestle, Dead Cow, Rodeo, and Roller Dam.
Rafting Trips on the Eagle River
More than anything, half-day trips are extremely popular on the Eagle River. As it is divided into a few distinct sections, there are options for riders of all experience levels that are perfect for a morning or afternoon adventure. Of course, if you stop for a drink in a few of the towns along the way, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a full-day whitewater rafting on the Eagle River.
Whitewater Rafting Difficulty – The Eagle River contains Class II-IV rapids. Along the way, guided rafters have the chance to encounter large rapids that are not overly technical. For those looking to relax, there is also a section of the Eagle River great for easy-going floats.
These are the most popular sections to whitewater raft on the Eagle River:
Gore Creek is a major tributary of the Eagle River that is full of fun Class III-IV rapids for early-season whitewater. Beginning at the East Vail access, Gore Creek passes right through the busy town of Vail, Colorado, and continues westward for 9.2 miles.
Whitewater rafting on Gore Creek offers a unique chance to see the natural and man-made beauty that can be found in the Vail Valley. Although some tours will end in Lionshead Village, the Gore Creek whitewater section officially ends at the Steven’s Park access point before the confluence with the Eagle River.
Depending on the conditions, rafters will typically put-in for the Dowd Chutes section at the Steven’s Park access point or in the town of Minturn, Colorado. The Dowd Chutes are named for the steep drops full of narrow and fast-paced waterways. The brief 4.8-mile section is filled with fun Class III-IV rapids that come quick and plenty. The Dowd Chutes end in the town of Avon, at the Avon Bridge access point.
Upper Eagle River
From Avon, through Edwards, the Upper Eagle River section offers an exciting mix of scenery and whitewater that is easy to access from Summit County’s popular mountain towns. This 4.5 section of the Eagle River contains Class III-IV rapids but is not considered to be overly difficult. With plenty of floating between the exciting bits, the Upper Eagle River is a good chance for a first-time rider to take an adventurous whitewater trip.
Lower Eagle River
Of course, below the Upper Eagle River lies the Lower Eagle River, which is a longer and more mild section popular for floating and fishing. Of all of the popular sections of the Eagle River, the Lower Eagle River is both the easiest and most isolated. For roughly 17 miles, rafters can float down the Lower Eagle River while only encountering a few Class II-III rapids. Most trips will end in Eagle, Colorado at the Chambers Park access.
Eagle River Rafting Guides
- Arkansas Valley Adventures
- Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting
- Colorado River Guides
- Colorado River Runs
- Eagle River Anglers – Float and Fishing Trips
- Fly Fishing Outfitters – Float and Fishing Trips
- High Country Activities
- Lakota Guides
- Sage Outdoor Adventures
- Timberline Tours
Activities near the Eagle River
The Eagle River passes through some of Colorado’s most visited mountain towns. Vail, Minturn, Edwards, Avon, and Eagle, Colorado all offer exciting things to do and see throughout each season.
There are countless options for dining and lodging among an unlimited amount of mountain scenery to enjoy and explore. With hiking, skiing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and other specialty tours available, there are plenty of additional activities for outdoor enthusiasts in Eagle County.
Nearby Towns (Following River East to West):
Season: May to July