Glenwood Canyon Rafting Half-Day

Our most popular Glenwood Canyon whitewater rafting trip!

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There's a reason this is our most popular trip.

Our most popular Glenwood Springs whitewater rafting trip! If we only had two to three hours to spend on the water and wanted to show our friends or family what it's like to experience the thrill of Class III (IV) Colorado whitewater rafting and the beauty of Glenwood Canyon, this would be the trip we'd take them on. Defiance's Glenwood Canyon rafting trip starts with a bang: a mile and half run down the classic and continuous Class III Shoshone Rapids. The trip then transitions into a scenic float, with a few splashes here and there, through lower Glenwood Canyon and into Glenwood Springs. It's a 12+ mile classic stretch of river that provides a bit of everything – whitewater, scenery, and relaxation, with opportunities to hop out of the raft and swim at various points along the way. Have a Happy Paddler under twelve (12) or don't care to do the rapids? No worries. With the Shoshone Rapids being the first thing you do, those unable or not wanting to do the Rapids can watch your party launch at Shoshone. Then hop on the bus or van and be chaperoned below the rapid section to rejoin your group's raft after the rapid section. If rapids aren't your thing, or you don't care to split your group up for the first 15 - 20 minutes, our family-oriented Scenic Canyon Half-Day Float is an excellent option. Pro tip: Bump up the adventure with an inflatable kayak add-on and pick up a single or two-person kayak as you exit the Shoshone rapids on your Colorado river rafting trip.

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Ideal for people wanting a bit of everything in their Glenwood Springs whitewater rafting experience.

Intermediate (Class I–III)

The Glenwood Canyon rafting trip length is about 2.5 hours on the river (dependent on river flow).

Departs daily from May thru September.

Check-in is 45 minutes before departure.

During peak flows, the Shoshone Rapids becomes a Class IV. Although often limited to late spring and early summer, additional age restrictions and prior experience may be required. 

Paddlers must be at least twelve (12) years old to raft through the Shoshone Rapids. Paddlers under twelve (but over 30 lbs) will join us at Grizzly Creek, just below Shoshone Rapids.

During high water, roughly May 15-June 15, this trip may be modified to avoid Shoshone Rapids and/or have specific age requirements to participate through the rapids.

Life jacket, helmet, transportation, and optional use of wetsuit, river booties, and splash jacket / pants.

Who can go on a raft trip?
Pretty much anyone can go rafting, though we have a few rules about where they go. Unfortunately, kiddos under 30 lbs aren’t allowed on commercial raft trips – they’re too small for the required life jackets and aren’t able to self-rescue in the event they fall out of the raft. Kiddos under 50 pounds aren’t allowed to raft through the Shoshone Rapids. Beyond that, we don’t recommend that you go rafting if you’re pregnant, in ill health, suffer from heart disease, or are anti-fun. We offer trips suitable for all abilities and comfort levels, and the last thing we want to do is put you in a situation you’re uncomfortable with. In official lawyer-speak: Participants must be able to understand and follow instructions given by guides. Participants must be able to fit into our life jackets and be in good health. If you are pregnant, have a history of heart trouble, or have other medical concerns, please consult your doctor before participating. As with any outdoor adventure experience, some inherent risk is involved. You will need to sign an Assumption of Risk Waiver before your trip.

We will not allow persons impaired by alcohol or drugs to participate in our trips. No refund will be provided.

When is the best time of the season to go rafting?
We start our season mid-April and run trips into September and even October. If you want to experience big water, we recommend rafting early to mid-June. However, you should know that the Forest Service closes Shoshone to commercial rafters once the river flows more than 6000 CFS (cubic feet per second).

What is the water temperature?
The water temperature varies as the snow melts. The average temperature ranges from 48°F to 65°F.

How do you rate the difficulty of the rapids?
Colorado has a standard rating for whitewater rapids. These vary depending on fluctuating water levels.
Class I – Easy. No significant waves or obstacles.
Class II – Novice. Playful riffles, regular waves, clear passages, and wide channels.
Class III – Intermediate. Moderately difficult rapids with larger irregular waves, and narrow channels. Avoidance of obstacles is required.
Class IV – Difficult. Intense, powerful rapids requiring precise maneuvering in turbulent waters.
Class V – Extremely difficult. Continuous rapids. Large waves and holes with a steep gradient.

Which raft trip is best for us?
It depends on who’s going rafting and what kind of experience you’re looking for. Class I/II rapids are great for families with young children or those who want a more relaxing time on the river. Class II/III trips are perfect for those seeking a blend of action and relaxation. Class III/IV are for true adventure seekers. Whether you are interested in the most popular Glenwood Canyon half-day rafting trip, our mellow and scenic half-day float, our full-day rafting trip, or any of our other awesome Colorado rafting trips, our staff is skilled at helping you choose the best river adventure.

How safe is it?
Safety is tops. We only use the highest quality equipment, and our staff is fully trained to State of Colorado outfitter and guide standards, including CPR, First Aid, and swiftwater rescue techniques. That said, as with any outdoor adventure experience, some inherent risk is involved.

What should I wear and bring?
A swimsuit or lightweight shorts and a shirt work best. Avoid cotton – it doesn’t dry well. For your safety, bare feet and flip-flops are not allowed. Footwear must tie or strap securely on the heels of your feet. We provide splash jackets, wetsuits, and neoprene booties if you’re concerned about getting too cold. We also suggest wearing a hat, sunglasses with a cord, sunscreen, and bringing water. Please leave your towels and change of clothes in your car for after the trip.

Can I bring my camera?
You can, so long as you’re ok with it getting wet or sinking to the bottom of the river. But don’t worry if that does happen. We have professional photographers perfectly positioned to capture the look on your face when we punch through the rapids.

Can I reserve my own boat?
Yes. Defiance offers customizable Private Rafting Trips from two to six hours. We also offer inflatable kayaks (duckies) on our Full Day trips and guided Colorado River Kayak Tours. Rentals and a private shuttle are also available through Defiance River Outfitters.

Do you offer group discounts?
We offer discounts on groups of eight or more people. Please call 970-404-3022 for details.

Do I need a reservation?
Reservations are highly recommended. However, we are happy to make last-minute bookings as space allows. If it’s within 24 hours before you’d like to go rafting, call us at 970-404-3022.

What is your reservation policy?
We require payment at the time of your reservation to guarantee your space. Reservations made more than seven days before your experience can be secured with a 50% deposit, with the balance being collected the day of your experience. Payment can also be split among parties within a reservation. This can be done when booking your experience online or by calling our office. Group reservation policies differ; please call our office.

What is your cancellation policy?
We have a 24-hour cancellation policy. You will receive a full refund if you cancel 24 hours before your scheduled trip time. Cancellations within 24 hours of your scheduled trip time are subject to a partial refund; no-shows or same-day cancellations are nonrefundable. Group cancellation policies differ; please call our office or email for additional information.

When do I need to arrive?
Please arrive at least 45 minutes before your trip time. Before participating, you will need to check in at the Boathouse, confirm the signature of our Assumption of Risk Waiver, and grab any trip essentials. Our professional staff will fit you with a lifejacket and then provide a safety briefing.

What if it rains?
We don’t let the rain keep us from having fun. Heck, we’ve rafted in the snow a few times. That was chilly.

Should I tip my guide?
Our guides work hard to provide you with a memorable experience. While gratuities are not expected, they are appreciated!

If you are looking for a different adventure, check out our other awesome Colorado River whitewater rafting trips!


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