Where to go Tubing: Upper Colorado River

Tubing, Kayaking, Rafting, and River Boarding on the Upper Colorado River in Avon, Colorado

Current Flow: Map – see below


Most of this section is road side. It will require driving from our shop to get to the river. We can rent pumps for inflating if you don’t have enough roof rack space. There are many access points starting as far upstream as Radium and going all the way to Dotsero. State Bridge is also on this section of river and is a major access point. It is also the site of a really cool theater that plays great live music alongside the river all summer long. Visit statebridge.com for information. There are also several shuttle service companies located in State Bridge that will transport you and your gear up and down the river for a reasonable fee. Click Here to view shuttle and transportation rates and reserve.


All river users on the Colorado River are required by law to wear a lifejacket.


The Upper Colorado is a beautiful stretch of river descending from the mountains down into the desert. There are many sections to float. Floating all the way from Radium to Dotsero would take days, so people normally split it up into smaller stretches. The most popular sections for tubing are from Lions Gulch Campground to Dotsero. This is the closest section to our shop, and the easiest access. It is also mostly a mellow float, with a few wave style rapids to spice things up. Another popular section is Rancho Del Rio to State Bridge, which ends at the State Bridge theater. The road parallels both of these sections, making shuttle pretty easy.

The following information is subjective, and may not be accurate for your river experience level. Please use caution while floating on rivers, and always wear lifejackets, and be prepared for cold water. River users should always have a strong swimming ability.

Flow Range

  • 300 – 800cfs is a good mellow to moderate level for tubing anywhere from Radium to Dotsero. There are rapids, and also lots of flatwater. The rapids are mostly waves, but there are also holes and rocks, so be prepared.
  • 800-1500cfs is a great level for tubing. Excellent swimming ability is a must for many sections. The section from Lions Gulch to Dotsero is probably the best section for tubing at this level.
  • Over 1500cfs Tubing is good from Lions Gulch to Dotsero, which provides a 3 hour float through beautiful high desert canyon country. Tubing from Radium to State Bridge is also good, and there will be some pretty big waves.
  • Over 5,000 cfs Tubing on the upper Colorado is not recommended. Dotsero to Bair Ranch is a flat water float that is good at high levels.

Water Temperature

During May and June the water is typically pretty cold. The water usually starts warming up when the snowmelt is winding down.

When is it running?

The Upper Colorado is almost never too low to float. In May and June, it could possibly be too high, but that is never guaranteed. It depends on snow pack, rain, and sun. May through September are typically the best times to tube the upper Colorado river.


<200cfs = easy/moderate ; >200cfs = moderate ; >800cfs = advanced


Over 13 and good swimmers are okay. Younger kids are okay at lower water levels. Good swimming ability and lifejackets and helmets are important.


Click Here to view shuttle and transportation rates and reserve a shuttle for your group. You can also handle your own transportation. If you have two vehicles, you can leave a car at the take-out so it’s waiting for you when you get there. It’s often just easier to pay the shuttle companies, but if you want to save money, it’s not hard to run your own shuttle.

Tubing From Lions Gulch Campground to Dotsero on the Colorado River

Tubing from Rancho Del Rio to State Bridge