Flowing north through Aspen to Glenwood Springs, the Roaring Fork River is a powerful, crystal clear waterway for Colorado whitewater rafting. The entire area’s watershed is massive, as the Roaring Fork gains power from several tributaries before spilling into the Colorado River.
Rafting Trips on the Roaring Fork River
There are many options for half and full day trips whitewater rafting on the Roaring Fork River. With operators in both Aspen and Glenwood Springs, it is very easy to find and book the best trip for your experience level and schedule.
Whitewater Rafting Difficulty: “Roaring” is an apt word to describe this river, because it can be extremely swift and challenging. With that said, the river’s difficulty slowly decreases as you are carried north. From start to finish, the river contains sections that range from Class V down to Class II.
Here are the three popular sections of the Roaring Fork River for whitewater rafting, going south to north:
Ouch, now that’s a name! The Slaughterhouse is the Roaring Fork’s toughest section, rated as a Class IV – V. Access begins at the Slaughterhouse Bridge in Stein Park. From there, rafters travel through narrow waterways and big rapids for 4.5 miles. Slaughterhouse ends at the Upper Woody Creek Bridge, located within Jaffee Park.
Somewhat obviously, Slaughterhouse is reserved for advanced whitewater rafters. The section provides both beautiful outdoor isolation as well as jaw-clenching drops like Slaughterhouse Falls.
Woody Creek & Toothache
Heading north, the Woody Creek & Toothache section of the Roaring Fork River offers a slightly less challenging ride through spectacular scenery. Primarily made up of Class III – IV sections, Woody Creek & Toothache is a relatively easy trip with some sections of technical rapids.
Access to the Woody Creek & Toothache section typically starts at either the Upper or Lower Woody Creek Bridge access point. From there riders travel to Basalt, making the journey 10 or 6.2 miles long, respectively.
Don’t let the name fool you, the “Cemetery” is actually the most mild section of the Roaring Fork River. The route is rated as a Class II – III and is great for rafters of all ages. The journey traverses 6 miles of gentle waterways between the Black Bridge Access and Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs. The scenery and difficulty make it a great first whitewater rafting experience.
Roaring Fork River Rafting Guides
- Aspen Whitewater Rafting
- Blazing Adventures
- Blue Sky Adventures
- Defiance Rafting Company
- Elk Mountain Whitewater
- Glenwood Adventure Company
- Glenwood Canyon Rafting
- Whitewater Rafting LLC
Activities near the Roaring Fork River
With Aspen and Glenwood Springs, the Roaring Fork River passes through two of Colorado’s top decisions for luxury tourism. In fact, the Roaring Fork Valley is one of the most affluent regions in Colorado (and the United State’s). On either end of every rafting journey, there are countless options for loading, dining, and entertainment.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the White River National Forest surrounds the Roaring Fork River with ample opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, and more. White River is the most visited National Forest in the United States with attractions like Hanging Lake, Maroon Bells, and popular skiing areas.
Nearby Towns (Following River South to North):
Season: May through August
Class: II through V