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General Information

Description - The "mighty" Colorado is one of the most varied rivers in the state. Although most people think of the lower section of the river which is famous for its whitewater opportunities, the Colorado actually starts out rather small. Although normally thought of as a destination for whitewater sport, it can fish exceptionally well and gets relatively little pressure.

Attractions - The Colorado is one of the longest and most varied rivers in the state. It provides some of the finest fishing and whitewater opportunities available in the West. The Colorado varies from spectacular Class VI rapids to gorgeous flat water pools for the fly fisherman. Although popular with many different outdoor enthusiasts, there is more than enough room for everybody. The Colorado River delivers an amazing experience for those who explore it.

Recreation - The different faces of the Colorado make it a popular venue for fishermen, rafters, kayakers, canoeists and swimmers. The Colorado river is a great example of a large and long Western-type fishing stream. Many of the sections of this river receive relatively light fishing pressure so there are many large fish to be had. The Colorado fishes well year round except for the period of discoloration during the spring runoff.


The Colorado is also one of the most popular water ways in the state for river sports. The river varies from placid flat water to nearly impossible whitewater. This river has spectacular whitewater and gorgeous scenery which combine to make it one of the premier destinations for rafters, kayakers and canoeists.

Climate - The Colorado River runs through some rather high elevations. Persons coming from lower elevations should be aware that time is needed to adjust to the higher elevations.

Warm days and cool to freezing nights can be expected in the mountains during the summer. July and August are usually the warmest months. During this time afternoon thunderstorms are common. Be prepared for both warm and chilly weather, as well as for rain showers.

Being at high elevation and fueled mainly by melting snow, the Colorado is a rather cold river. During the spring runoff the river is full of freshly melted snow, and the temperature of the water is rather cold.
Please make sure that you dress appropriately when participating in whitewater sports. Wear shoes that can protect feet if you bounce off rocks or walk out of a canyon in the event of an accident. Wet suits are mandatory when air and water temperature added together total 100 degrees or less. If total is less than 80 degrees, a full set of waterproof or wool garments on top of the wet suit should be worn.

Location - The Colorado River headwaters begin in the mountains west of Rocky Mountain National Park (two hours northwest of Denver). The river flows southwest through Dotsero, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Grand Junction and Fruita before it leaves the state and enters Utah.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Kathleen Genereux
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Last year we took the trip down the Colorado River from Fruita to the Westwater takeout with Centennial Canoe Outfitters. The scenery was spectacular, the river was a lot of fun, the guides were great and so was the food. We even had guides who played the guitar and sang cool songs around the campfire. Brought back great memories of doing such with my family when I was a kid. I'll do it again for sure. We have also done the Guinnison Rive which provided all the above plus some great hiking and petroglyphs along the way. For the last 10 years we have done the Dolores River in June and it's the highlight of our summer. The rapids along the way are great fun, the scenery is amazing, the fact that you can car-camp makes the journey all the easier.


More Information

Additional Information:
Colorado Rivers & Streams - Colorado's rivers and streams are characterized by steep continuous drops in the mountains and slow moving big rivers in the plains. In the west the Colorado river and its many tributaries cut through the desert. Excellent fishing opportunities can be found throughout the state.
Glenwood Springs Area - The Glenwood Springs Area includes Glenwood Canyon, the portion of the Colorado River around Glenwood Springs and the lower Roaring Fork River Valley. The area is located approximately 160 miles west of Denver.
Grand Junction Area - Grand Junction lies in the fertile Grand Valley where the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers intersect. The region has a long history of ranching, farming and mining.

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