Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
North Platte River Rafting & Kayaking
The North Platte River has a diverse history. The French trappers named the river "Riviere de Plat," meaning "Flat River." The Oregon Trail used to follow the river, bringing pioneers westward. The pioneers saw the river as too shallow to float, too deep to ford and too wide to bridge. In the late 1860's, the Union Pacific Railroad followed its valley.
The North Platte River is one of Colorado's only remaining free-flowing rivers. The river begins west of Fort Collins, near Walden, Colorado and flows 618 miles north into Wyoming before joining with the South Platte River in Nebraska. The rafting route starts in the remote northern portion of the area known as North Park at an elevation of 8,000 feet. The trip descends 6 miles through the Northgate Canyon, dropping 470 feet over the next 18 miles. The run is filled with Class III-IV rapids, including Windy Hole, the Narrows and Stovepipe. The rafting season runs from May to mid-July. Most businesses require you to be at least 14 years old to raft this river.
The route is filled with boulder garden rapids between sloping mountainsides lined with dense spruce forests. The river cuts into the Precambrian metamorphic rock that makes up the canyon. The river is also known for its fishing with brown and rainbow trout. This designated wilderness area of the river corridor offers other great wildlife, such as cougars, bald and golden eagles, and elk.
The International Rapid Rating Scale:
- Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles, small waves.
- Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels.
- Class III: Intermediate. Rapids, moderate, irregular waves.
- Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids, precise boat handling.
- Class V: Expert. Long, obstructed, violent rapids.
More Activities & Information
Walden (North Park), Colorado includes: Gould, North Park Area, Rand