6 Places to Go River Tubing in Colorado This Summer | Summer Guide 2024

While we earn our Colorado stripes by speeding through whitewater rapids, there’s nothing wrong with taking the slow lane every now and then, and nothing is more summery than a relaxing drive.


Brayden Newby, cast member of Moulin Rouge! The Musical (front), tries to paddle his way through the current as he sets out to float down the South Platte River with the rest of the Moulin Rouge cast on Monday, June 13, 2022, at South Platte Park in Littleton, Colorado. {span}The high temperature of 99 degrees Monday was Denver’s record high temperature for June 13, according to the National Weather Service. {/span}Moulin Rouge! The Musical will run at Denver’s Buell Theater through June 26 before heading to Los Angeles for the next leg of its North American tour. (Timothy Hurst/The Denver Gazette)

A word of warning before setting out: be prepared, as the rafting can all too often turn into frolics. Take time to check the route, the weather and the water level, which can sometimes be too low or too high for safe passage. Check with local operators and authorities before heading to these tubing spots.

Boulder Creek, Boulder: Nothing is more typical of the tradition here than the annual “Tube to Work Day.” The city maintains a website with information, including the recommended boarding point at Eben G. Fine Park. For a short ride, you can get off at the high school. The website mentions a longer ride to 55th Street – “but don’t expect a super-relaxed ride.”

Clear Creek, Golden: If you’ve enjoyed watching the boaters cruise through downtown, it may finally be time to join in yourself. Note that Clear Creek Whitewater Park is designed for Class II/III kayakers; it’s “not a leisurely river ride,” Golden River Sports emphasizes. The outfitter recommends walking along the creek’s adjacent trail to select a suitable section.

South Platte River, Littleton: Here’s another great way to escape the Denver heat. “Good” usually refers to the water — usually gentle and suitable for the whole family. First-timers might want to check with Adventure West. The company will take you upriver for a ride through the Carsen Nature Center that takes one to three hours, depending on the current.

Colorado River, Palisades: An idyllic float trip can end with a glass of wine or a juicy peach. Vineyards and orchards can be seen between the mesas and sandstone cliffs of western Colorado. Float Palisade guidebooks call it “the most tranquil stretch of the Colorado River in the Grand Valley.” A popular route that can take two hours: Riverbend Park to Corn Lake.

Snow tubing on a mountaintop at 3,550 meters will be offered in Colorado this summer

San Juan River, Pagosa Springs: A city website details a two-mile raft ride from the River Center to Yamaguchi Park. Under the right conditions — considered pressure levels below 400 cubic feet per second — you can enjoy some waves, visit the downtown shops and restaurants, and take in views of the San Juan Mountains. And you might also discover a riverside hot spring to visit later.

On a warm summer afternoon, people cruise along the Yampa River through downtown Steamboat Springs on Saturday, August 2, 2014. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

On a warm summer afternoon, people cruise along the Yampa River through downtown Steamboat Springs on Saturday, August 2, 2014. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Yampa River, Steamboat Springs: For beginners, renting a tube from Backdoor Sports is a good idea. There you can hop in and float about two miles to the shuttle at the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge. For a longer ride, tube riders can park at the Stockbridge Transit Center and take a shuttle to the launch at Fetcher Pond.

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