Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
Animas River Rafting & Kayaking
The free-flowing Animas River runs from high in the San Juan Mountains along the Durango and Vallecito Lake areas to New Mexico. The river passes by attractions such as the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as well as a Southern Ute Indian Reservation and old mine ruins. Cruising down this river, you will also experience panoramic views of the Southern Rockies and glimpses of wildlife.
The Animas River also has a longer season for rafting than most rivers in Colorado. Snowmelt and summer rains bring heavy run-off until mid-June, but the water may not be clear until July. The Animas is usually navigable into late August or early September, depending upon snowpack and summer rains.
The Animas River was once named "Killer River" because of its ferociousness. The upper river, when at high water, is considered by many to be the most difficult commercially run river in Colorado. The upper region of the Animas River has rapids in IV+ and V classes, with over 100 rapids in its 25-28 mile run. The gradient at times is as high as 85%, dropping 150 feet per mile.
If you are looking for a little less of an risk, the lower Animas River runs 11 miles with class I-II rapids. This run is perfect as an adventure for the whole family!
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
Durango, Colorado includes: Bayfield, Hesperus, Ignacio, Lemon, Vallecito Lake