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Zephyr Lodge Condo -- Area Information


White Water Rafting

This information is compiled to assist guests who rent our Condo at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge.  If you've arrived at this page as a result of a web search on Colorado Rafting, we hope you benefit from the information.  And if you need lodging, thank you for considering us.

Colorado River rafting ranges from mellow float trips to heart-pounding adventure trips.   Grand County is home to the headwaters of the world famous Colorado River, and trips that are on the more mellow side.   Fun for the whole family.

In Colorado's high country, rafting season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Licensed professional outfitters guide you on friendly floats or major whitewater.  Costs vary depending on river and the length of the trip.

This web page is divided into two sections: 
 - River companies that operate out of Winter Park
 - Other opportunities to run rivers in Colorado



For those who want to experience rafting and floating on the Colorado River, there are several commercial rafting companies operating out of Winter Park, Fraser, and Grand County.  With years of experience behind them, these companies can ensure a safe and memorable time on the river while minimizing the risks. 

The basic raft trips offered by river rafting companies usually start at a location known as Pumphouse.  You get some early gentle floating before your first moderate whitewater experience in Little Gore Canyon.  Little Gore Canyon is home to famous Needle's Eye rapid.  From there the river progresses rather easily to Radium where most half day trips end. 

If you continue further downstream, you get to Hoyt Canyon where Yarmony Rapid is sure to get your attention.  After Yarmony is a stretch of flat water that is perfect for sight seeing and relaxation.

All local river rafting companies provide the equipment needed to make the trips as safe as possible.  They also provide transportation from Winter Park and will pick you up right at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge.





Mad Adventures
970-726-5290 [local] 800-451-4844 [toll free]
Mad Adventures runs trips on the Colorado River from Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio and on to State Bridge and also on Clear Creek and Arkansas Rivers.  Mad Adventures asks guests to make their own transportation arrangements to staging areas very close to the rivers:
  -- Kremmling for Colorado River outings [60 min]
  -- I-70 exit 234 for Clear Creek outings [50 min]
  -- Buena Vista for Arkansas outings [180 min]
Detailed directions, times, safety tips, and what to bring are all on the website and in their brochures.  Reservations are required.

Red Tail Rafting
970-726-1197 [local] 888-733-3599 [toll free]
Headquartered in nearby Fraser, Red Tail Rafting is just a 10 minute drive.  You can even make arrangements for pickup and drop off.  Red Tail rafting floats the Colorado River from Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio and on to State Bridge.  Smaller more personal trips are their specialty.   Detailed directions, times, safety tips, and what to bring are all on the website and in their brochures. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Adventures in Whitewater Rafting
1-877-321-7238 [toll free]
While this company is new for 2006, it is staffed by long time valley locals.  Their specialty is smaller groups in smaller boats.   Rafting is on both the Colorado River [starting in Kremmling] and on Clear Creek [starting in Idaho Springs].   The Colorado River trip starts at Pumphouse and runs to State Bridge.  It includes stops at a jumping rock and a natural hot springs.  The Clear Creak trip features rougher water and interesting rapids.  Headquarters is in the Viking Lodge in down town Winter Park.  All equipment is supplied and reservations are required for all trips.

Devils Thumb Ranch
970-726-8231 [local] 800-933-4339 [toll free]
Colorado River raft trips, Colorado inflatable kayak trips, Clear Creek raft trips, and combination Raft + Hot Springs trips are offered.   There is a high guide to guest ratio on all trips, yet prices are the same as other outfitters.   Detailed directions, times, safety tips, and what to bring are all on the website and in their brochures. Reservations are required for all trips. 

Clear Creek Rafting
303-567-1000 [long dx]  800-353-9901 [toll free]
Clear Creek trips depart from a spot east of Idaho Springs along I-70 [Exit 241B].  Zephyr Mountain Lodge guests drive over Berthoud Pass to this river [approx 30 miles]. Arkansas river trips are also available in Royal Gorge Canyon and Big Horn Sheep Canyon.  Call or visit website for details.  Reservations are strongly recommended.  Multi day trips are also available.


Colorado River Guides
970-726-2406 [long dx]  800-938-7238 [toll free]
Headquartered in Oak Creek south of Steamboat [about 90 minutes from the Zephyr Mountain Lodge] Colorado River guides run the Colorado leaving from State Bridge [90 min] or Eagle [120 min].   Colorado River Guides will cater to your special needs and will plan custom trips.   Detailed directions, times, safety tips, and what to bring are all on the website and in their brochures. Reservations are necessary.

Colorado River Runs
970-653-4292 [long dx]  800-826-1081 [toll free]
Colorado River Runs feature trips down 2 rivers.  Zephyr Mountain Lodge guests must arrange their own transportation to the starting points. 
 -- Colorado River trips are easy to moderate and depart from Ranch Del Rio at 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM.  Rancho Del Rio is along the trough road and is about 90 minutes from Winter Park.
-- Eagle River trips are moderate to challenging and depart from Eagle 30 miles west of Vail.  Allow 120 minutes driving time from Winter Park.

Contact local rafting companies for referrals to outfitters running these other rivers.  Or use these URL's:
  -- Click here for a simple map of Colorado with the location of the few
     rivers below.

  -- Current Water Information  on Colorado Rivers
  -- List of 42 Colorado Rafting Outfitters
  -- Searchable directory of Rafting Outfitters

 -- More info on Colorado Rafting

All together there are over 100 outfitters, more than 20 distinct rivers and well over 1000 miles of flowing water.

Clear Creek.  Clear Creak is a relatively small, yet fast paced mountain stream.  Depart from Dumont.  Call Clear Creek Rafting at 800-353-9901.  Approximately 1 hour from Winter Park.  Moderate.

Eagle River's Dowd Chutes.  This is fast water located just a few minutes from Vail.  Any time the gauge is 5 feet or more this will be a fast wild ride.  Approximately 2 hours from Winter Park.  Difficult

Colorado River Shoshone area.  This is Colorado's classic rafting experience.  Dam-release water ensures that first-timers and veterans alike can enjoy the big soft waves in Glenwood Canyon.  Approximately 3 hours from Winter Park.  Moderate.

Cache La Poudre Canyon.  This canyon in Northern Colorado east of the Continental Divide offers a wide range of whitewater experiences.  Approximately 3 hours from Winter Park.  Moderate to Difficult

Arkansas River in under Royal Gorge --Approximately 3.5 hours from Winter Park.  Spectacular scenery.  Difficult.

Arkansas River through Browns Canyon.   A scenic yet rambunctious ride through bulbous granite canyons and high country terrain.  Browns Canyon is Colorado's most popular rafting stretch.  More tour companies raft this stretch of the Arkansas than anywhere else in the state.  Approximately  3.5 hours from Winter Park.  Moderate.

Pine Creek and Numbers on the Arkansas River.   If getting wet on a wild ride is your goal, then Pine creek and the Numbers will not let you down.  Just upstream is mellow Browns Canyon.  A river like the Arkansas can have many personalities.  Approximately 4 hours from Winter Park.  Difficult

Animas River through Durango.  This stretch of river is like a Sunday drive through the quaint mountain town of Durango.  Rafters can stop, stretch and hang out with the locals before floating downstream through the wilderness. 6+ hours from Winter Park. E

Green River -- Lodore Canyon.  These are relaxing multi-day trips. Over  6 hours from Winter Park.  Moderate.


Packing for a raft trip is simple.   River running companies provide warm clothing specially designed for the conditions on the river.  Water resistant jackets, neoprene wet suites, booties, helmets, paddles, and life jackets are all standard fare.  You should bring swimsuit, old tennis shoes or sandals, sunscreen, and a change of warm and dry clothes.  Expect to get wet.

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Pictures are courtesy the brochures of local rafting companies and do not necessarily represent the Colorado River trip most commonly floated from Winter Park.

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