September seems to mark the end of the summer but that doesn’t mean the summer’s activities are done. The crowds have gone away, the kids are back in school, and the pace has slowed down. And for those of us in the rafting industry it’s one of our favorite times of year. Here’s six of our favorite reasons to go rafting in Colorado in the Fall.
Number 6: No Crowds
The fall is to rafting what November and April are to the ski industry. The crowds have gone away and there is a leisure atmosphere without the hustle and bustle so common in the busy summer months. If waiting in lines is not your favorite thing, you’ll “fall” in love with “fall” rafting. Lines are short, check-in is quick, and you’ll be on your way to the river before you know it.
Number 5: Wildlife
In fall the spotting of wildlife increases dramatically. Cooling temperatures bring out more bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a rare bear to the river’s edge for a drink. The trout are beginning their spawning and attract some of the area’s red-tailed hawks, osprey and eagles.
Number 4: Fall
Lighting and Colors
Fall rafting trips are a great opportunity to appreciate one of the most beautiful times of year on the river. As the sun is lower across the horizon each day, the light that illuminates the river and the canyon walls brings colors to your trip that you won’t experience any other time of year. The inner canyon receives less light and the vegetation begins to bring out its vibrant yellow, orange, and red fall colors.
Number 3: Seasoned
Fall is a great time for rafting because the guides are well “seasoned”, pun intended. By this point, our guides on the Arkansas River have taken many, many trips and their skills have been fine-tuned after taking hundreds of guests successfully down the river. By now they’ve dialed-in the perfect line through every rapid.
Number 2: More
Water levels in the fall are typically low. Often people hear "low water" and assume that equates to "less exciting", which couldn't be farther from the truth. Lower flows expose many more challenging features that need to be navigated during the course of the rapid, and that means more involvement for you! Lower flows also mean less people in the raft. The guides need to use their team of paddlers significantly more to aid in the running of the rapid. Fall trips are much more of a hands-on experience that leaves you feeling accomplished at the bottom of each rapid.
Number 1: More River
Have you ever ended your summertime rafting experience wishing it had lasted longer? Another great reason to consider fall rafting. In the later months of the season, rivers that are fed mostly from snow melt are well past their peak flows. Lower water means slower water, which is good because you’ll need that extra time to navigate the extra obstacles. You will have more time to soak in the experience, see the sights from the river, and still enjoy the rush of awesome whitewater. If you're looking to take full advantage and really absorb the ambiance of the river, rafting in Colorado in the fall down Colorado's Arkansas River is one of the best ways to do that.