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rafting in May?

New England
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348 posts
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rafting in May?

Hubby and I are looking to visit Colorado in May/June/July and would like some beginner/intermediate whitewater rafting fun. Which is the best month for rafting? We are hoping more for the first two weeks of May as we can get away easier. Any suggestions on which rivers or outfits are good in May? Or is June/July better for rafting? We are open to all suggestions but would prefer to stay in the Breckenridge/Dillon/Frisco areas with rafting within an hour or so driving distance from here.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: rafting in May?

Rafting season starts early May, and can last until August depending on snowpack from the winter.

Early May is very cold! I would check with the various rafting companies out of the Summit County area, but some of the best rafting is out of Buena Vista on the Arkansas!


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2. Re: rafting in May?

You can raft in May, but the best time is mid/late June. Even when the water is running fastest, there are "beginner/intermediate" runs. The later you wait to go, the warmer the water will be (the difference is like 40 degrees in May, 50 in June, 55 in July; it's still cold, but warmer [temperatures given are guesses to illustrate a point]). If you go in May, I'd definitely recommend a wet suit which you can rent from the raft company.

Buena Vista is the best rafting jump point and where most companies will be. You can go down the Royal Gorge, but it's an advanced path most of the time. Brown Canon is very crowded during peak times. If you want a nice, secluded, get out and have some fun but also be in the nature and enjoy the scenery, you can go elsewhere. Just tell the rafting company what you want and they can help direct you.

Going full day you usually get a lunch (and sometimes dinner), but be sure to ask what's included (food wise, sometimes it's "sandwiches", other times a BBQ steak). Transportation on a school bus/van is typically included, especially from the company office to the water and back, and they can pick you up from your hotel. But if you have your own car you can drive to the office and save some money. Make sure to bring some extra clothes to change into afterwards as you will get wet. Also bring a towel (from the hotel) to help dry off.

You should be able to swim and expect to wear a life vest and helmet. I know some people get upset when they have to wear the extra gear; they want to not be restricted by the gear and work on their tan or whatever, but everyone wears it now-a-days. Not to scare you, but there are several deaths each year from rafters. Wearing this gear will help you survive if you fall out. But there are thousands that go each year, so the odds are really small.

3. Re: rafting in May?

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