Half-Day vs. Full-Day Colorado River Whitewater Rafting
With the variety of Colorado River whitewater rafting trips Defiance Rafting offers, we understand that it can be overwhelming to try and choose the adventure that is best for you and your group. At Defiance Rafting our trips are offered in three different lengths: 75-minutes, 2-3 hours, or 6 hours. While we don’t offer multi-day trips, we do offer Colorado River raft rentals through Defiance River Outfitters.
The lengths of the trips aren’t the only differences between them, however! On our full-day trips, you’ll get to see more of the varied scenery occurring in the region, while the 75-minute and Colorado River half-day rafting trip are packed with the best of the Glenwood Canyon. Read on to learn more about how to choose the best Colorado River rafting trip for you!
Colorado River Half-Day Rafting Trips vs. Full-Day: How to Choose
Colorado River Half Day Rafting Trips
Our most popular trip is the Glenwood Canyon Half-Day, which we lovingly call our, “all-arounder.” This gives you a sample platter of everything from class III whitewater to a scenic class I-II cruise through the Glenwood Canyon. This trip is awesome during the ‘dog days of summer’ when the air is hot and the water has a nice bathtub temperature. Because this trip is our “all-arounder,” it accommodates a wide range of ages and abilities and is a great introduction to whitewater rafting.
The main requirement for this trip is that participants weigh a minimum of 50 lbs for the Shoshone Rapids section so they are able to wear our type V PFD (personal flotation device, i.e. life jacket). What is loved about the Glenwood Canyon Half-Day are the stunning views offered through the Canyon after the rapids and the deep swimming holes for those wanting to take a plunge into the Colorado River.
This might not be extreme enough for some, but is an ideal way to spend 2 – 3 hours out on the river and see a 13-mile stretch of the Colorado River. As an added bonus, add an inflatable kayak (i.e. duckie) to your outing for an added water adventure. It’s also a great addition during the back half of summer when the water is lower and warmer!
There are times when all you want to do is kick back and relax and just absorb the moment. For this type of speed, Our Scenic Canyon Float on the Colorado River or Roaring Fork Half-Day is an ideal way to take it all in, from the walls of the Glenwood Canyon to the views of Mountain Sopris on the Fork. These are great trips to pack a small cooler and snap some scenic pictures and look for wildlife. If on the Scenic Canyon Float, you might be able to pull over at the natural hot springs along the river and chat with the locals. Both trips are suitable for all ages and give our little Happy Paddlers (as small as 30 lbs) an opportunity to get out on the water and start adventuring.
While both trips offer a slow pace with class I-II rapids, there are a few considerations to think about before booking. To begin, both trips are available during the early season (May-June) however, once July rolls around the water on the Roaring Fork begins to get lower, that particular trip may not be available in the mid to later summer months. Because of the Shoshone power plant, the Colorado River maintains more water which makes the Scenic Canyon Float great all season and into leaf-peeping time. Adding inflatable kayaks to either of these trips is a way to add some extra adventure to this laid-back cruise.
Often what people think of when imagining whitewater rafting on the Colorado River are splashy waves that crash over the boat to send a thrill of adrenaline up your spine. For those seeking more of a rush, consider the Double Shoshone Half-Day whitewater rafting trip. This trip is concentrated on the mile and a half stretch of the Shoshone rapids section of the Colorado River. The Double Shoshone trip is more engaging in that participants are in smaller paddle boats and guests are the “engine” for the paddle power while the guide is the “rudder” steering towards those big drenching hits. Additionally, we lovingly refer to this trip as a “team sport” because you will rely on your crew to help with carrying the boat and doing the rapids a second time to show off your paddle power! What makes this trip unique is that instead of ending at Grizzly Creek, you continue for a scenic cruise through Glenwood Canyon to the Defiance headquarters in No Name. This is the time to laugh and share stories about what happened in the Shoshone Rapids while taking in the scenery of Glenwood Canyon. Because this trip steps up the adrenaline level, it is not geared for children 12 and under, and during high water, it is limited to adults only. However, it is an excellent option for the early and late seasons when the water is lower and you’re looking for some extra splash! This is the trip we think about when imagining a Colorado River whitewater adventure!
Full-Day Whitewater Rafting Trips
If you have a full day to commit to Colorado river rafting, then you might want to consider spending the day on our Colorado River Full-Day or the Roaring Fork Full-Day. Of all the ways to spend the day, few are better than spending them on the water. While both trips are fully immersive river experiences, the main difference is the beginning of the trips. Our Colorado Full Day starts out on class III (IV) Shoshone Rapids section of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon. On the other hand, the Roaring Fork Full Day starts in the community of Carbondale and is a laid-back float along a lush and scenic landscape. Both trips enjoy a riverside lunch at our private take-out along the Colorado River and provide an option of hopping into inflatable kayaks for an afternoon duckie adventure through South Canyon. What we love about the afternoon on the full-day trips is being the captain of your own vessel and looking for eagles and their nests along the river. Full-day trips are awesome for families and friends and are typically small-group-oriented which allows for a more intimate river experience. Because you are out on the river for a full day, the best time for a full-day trip is June through Labor Day when the air and water are warm.
With so many options, it can be hard to choose, but our hope is that this helps to narrow down the options of a few of the best whitewater rafting trips in Colorado. The best decision you can make is to book your Colorado River rafting trip with Defiance, and we’ll take care of the rest!