Looking for a way to laze away a summer day? Nothing beats a tubing trip down one of Colorado’s float-worthy waterways. Here are four great tubing destinations, along with local outfitters that offer tube and personal flotation device rentals (PFDs). Be sure to chat with their experienced staff about water conditions, recommendations for where to start and end (some shops even offer shuttle services), and the best local watering holes to refuel post-float.
Bring the whole fam for a float down the South Platte River. Tubers meander down a mellow stretch of river (there’s one small-to-medium-size rapid, and it’s marked by two signal boulders on either side) and through the Carson Nature Center, where waterfowl, deer, and other wildlife are plentiful. Age three and up.
Outfitter: Adventure West
A trip down the Yampa River takes tubers through the heart of Steamboat Springs, a bustling mountain community known as Ski Town USA. Though the surrounding mountains will be green and grass-covered in the summer months, tubers can still look up at the lifts serving the Steamboat ski area, as well as the ski jump at Howelsen Hill, the training ground for local winter Olympians. Age restrictions vary based on flow rate.
Outfitter: Backdoor Sports
Situated in the foothills below Rocky Mountain National Park, Lyons is a funky, fun-loving mountain getaway situated along the St. Vrain River. Tubers age seven and up are treated to views of redstone cliffs rising high above the willows, cottonwoods, and other native plants growing on the riverbanks.
Outfitter: Ray’s River Rentals
Start amid the towering walls of Glenwood Canyon, and float your way down the Colorado River to the town of Glenwood Springs. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep and bald eagles. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a bear lumbering along the water’s edge. Kids must be at least 30 pounds to float, in order to meet the PFD regulations for a commercial trip.
Outfitter: Defiance Rafting Company