Upper Colorado River and Rancho Del Rio Rafting

If you’re going on an Upper Colorado River rafting trip with Timberline Tours, you’ll get the chance to experience Rancho Del Rio, Colorado. This bustling river community is perched on the banks of the Colorado River, near enough to Vail and its surrounding towns to be a Vail rafting destination. During the summer season, Rancho Del Rio is the river put-in location for commercial rafting trips and for recreational boaters alike.

dinosaur whitewater rafting trip

Find out more here about Rancho Del Rio, itself, and about Upper Colorado River rafting from this river-lover’s location:

Rancho Del Rio Rafting

Rancho Del Rio, Colorado, is full of Wild West charm, with cabins for overnight visitors, a convenience store, a liquor store, and an outdoor snack bar. As Timberline Tours guests roll through Rancho, they’ll likely see a variety of colorful characters, beginning with a greeter at the entrance who collects launch fees from guests. With campsites also available at Rancho, outdoors lovers and their dogs are also often hanging out riverside and relaxing in the Colorado sun.

Once at Rancho Del Rio, Timberline Tours guests will get outfitted for rafting and go through an interactive safety talk. Guides will share rafting safety tips, including how to help a swimmer back into the raft if someone should go overboard. Rafting safety is a priority for Timberline Tours, and if you would like to review safety topics in advance of your trip, check out our website’s rafting safety page. From Rancho Del Rio, the adventure of Upper Colorado River rafting begins as you push off of the riverbank and into a mildly flowing current.

Stand Up Paddle Board

A hub of river activity, Rancho Del Rio is also the launch point for others going fly fishing, river tubing, canoeing, and kayaking. In addition to rafting, Timberline Tours also offers guided stand up paddle board river trips and inflatable kayak trips, or duckie trips, that launch from Rancho Del Rio. Stand up paddle boarding, or SUP, river trips are recommended for those who have some previous SUP experience. Timberline Tours offers beginner SUP trips at Sylvan Lake in Eagle, Colorado. Find out more: Stand Up Paddle Board with Timberline Tours.

Upper Colorado River Rafting

Once you’ve pushed away from the banks of Rancho Del Rio to begin rafting down the Colorado River, you’ll have a lot to experience and enjoy. The Upper Colorado River, or Upper C, rafting trip spans more than 4 miles of a relaxing float down the river, interspersed with sections of splashy rapids and plenty of scenic views. The Upper C has a Class II river rating, which means that its rapids are mild and appropriate for adventurers of all ages. Since guides most often paddle oar-framed rafts on this section of river, Upper C rafting is a great family-friendly choice.

Rancho del Rio Rafting

Wildlife are often spotted along the Upper Colorado River. Birds ranging from red tail hawks to bald eagles and turkey vultures circle overhead while deer and elk are commonly sighted near the shore. Beaver and otters are often seen in the water—and sometimes an elusive bear can be spotted along the riverbank.

The Upper Colorado River rafting trip comes to an end at State Bridge, Colorado, another river settlement that’s known for its summer music concerts and events. While the rafting portion of the adventure ends here, memories of Rancho Del Rio, one of Colorado’s many charming river communities, and the beauty of the Colorado River will remain long after you’ve dried off.


Timberline Tours is the Vail-area’s premier whitewater rafting and backcountry jeep tours outfitter, also offering stand up paddle board (SUP) and duckie river trips on Colorado’s Eagle, Colorado, and Arkansas Rivers. All of our guided trips are open to Vail, Colorado visitors, locals, families, and corporate groups.

To book your Vail, Colorado adventure, call Timberline Tours at (970) 476-1414, or email us at info@timberlinetours.com.