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Upper Animas River, Durango Area
Our 34th Year!
Upper Animas No Name Rapid

Raft Trips

Upper Animas River Class III-V


No other river in Colorado comes close to the scenery, remoteness and challenges of the Upper Animas River. We offer trips for intermediate to expert rafters and kayakers. Be careful, our fully stocked riverside camp and hiking options in this roadless wilderness might just lure you to opt for the two or three day trip!
See for yourself by watching this video!

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RailroadUpper Animas Narrow Gauge Train Ride
Great adventure and stunning scenery await you in the San Juan National Forest of Southwest Colorado! There are no roads in paradise so we board the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gage Railway for the best part of the Animas River Gorge. Most Upper Animas trips require the purchase of a train ticket (round trip for Middle Upper and one way for the rest). A hiking option is sometimes available instead. Call or contact us with questions.
Please allow us to purchase your ticket for you and do not purchase a ticket directly with the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad for one of these trips. Visit durangotrain.com for more info about this part of your trip.

Upper Animas River Map

Six Fabulous Options

Upper Animas River Trips (River of Lost Souls)

Prices and online reservations: please scroll down below the trip descriptions to the brown boxes.

Full Day Middle Upper Animas River Rafting, Needleton to Tacoma

Departure Time
8 AM (Meet 7 AM)
AGES 13+

Great adventure trip for active people who want a taste of the Upper Animas. One class V and lots of class III and IV rapids with stunning scenery. Combined with a round-trip historic Durango Train ride.

Once we hit the water the action starts with Broken Bridge rapid just a few miles downstream. Plenty of other class III and IV rapids follow along with some calmer sections and visits to historical landmarks.

The Middle Upper is an advanced trip that begins with a train ride on the historic Durango and Silverton Railway from Durango to Needleton. We pump up the boats, have some lunch and soon hit class IV to V Broken Bridge rapid. After several more miles of incredibly scenic class II, III and IV whitewater, we re-board the train and make our way back to Durango.

Quick Look
Rating: class IV with one V
Distance ~12 miles (19 km)
Trip Length: ~10 hours
Season: May 2 thru Aug
Current Flow: USGS
Avg. Gradient: 78 ft/mi (14.8 m/km)
Put-in: Needleon, CO
Take-out: Tacoma Station

Sample Itinerary
7 AM: Meet at 4 Corners Riversports in Durango for a pre-trip safety video and gear fitting.
8 AM: Depart for Train Station.
8:30 AM: Board Durango and Silverton Train.
9 AM: Train leaves station.
11:30 AM: Arrive Needleton, Colorado. Rig boats.
12 Noon: We prepare a tasty lunch before launching.
1 PM: Arrive at and scout class V Broken Bridge Rapid.
2:00 PM: Stop for a well deserved snack break at Cascade Canyon.
2:30 PM: We tackle several class IV rapids above Tacoma.
3:30 PM: Arrive at Tacoma Station and derig boats and gear.
4:30 PM: Board the train for Durango, Colorado.
6:30 PM: Arrive in Durango, Colorado.

Full Day Upper Animas River Rafting, Silverton to Needleton

Departure Times
8 AM (Meet 4 PM day prior)
AGES 15 - 75

The Top Upper is an expert trip that begins at the highest commercial put-in in the U.S. in majestic Silverton Colorado. We take you from Durango to Silverton by vehicle, Silverton to Needleton by raft, and back to Durango via the historic Durango and Silverton Railway .

This is it! This section of the Upper Animas has some of the most continuous and difficult whitewater in the United States. You will journey into a completely roadless portion of the San Juan National Forest, with stunning scenery and 14,000 foot peaks nearby. Save some energy for story telling on the train ride at the end of the afternoon.

Quick Look
Rating: class V
Distance ~12 miles (19 km)
Trip Length: ~10 hours
Season: May 2 thru July
Current Flow: USGS Avg. Gradient: 78 ft/mi (14.8 m/km)
Put-in: Silverton, CO
Take-out: Needleton Station
Sample Itinerary
4 PM Day Prior to Launch: Meet at 4 Corners Riversports in Durango for a pre-trip safety video, gear fitting and swim test on the Lower Animas to assess skills and train for the challenges ahead.
8 AM: Depart Durango for Silverton, Colorado.
9:30 AM Launch Day: Arrive in historic Silverton. Rig boats.
10:00 AM Launch Day: Begin floating.
11 AM Launch Day: Run class IV+ Snow Shed rapid.
12 Noon Launch Day: Tasty lunch.
1 PM Launch Day: Arrive at and scout class V No Name rapid. Look like too much for you? You have the option to walk around.
2 PM Launch Day: Run class IV+ Tank Rapid.
3 PM Launch Day: Arrive in Needleton, CO and board train.
Overnight participants continue on to our campsite.
Upper Animas Extreme Rafting

Full Day Upper Animas River Rafting, Silverton to Tacoma Marathon
Departure Times
7 AM (Meet 4 PM day prior)
AGES 15 - 75

The Upper Animas Marathon is an expert trip that begins at the highest commercial put-in in the U.S. in majestic Silverton Colorado. We take you from Durango to Silverton by vehicle, 25 miles from Silverton to Tacoma by raft, and back to Durango via the historic Durango and Silverton Railway (one-way train ticket sold separately). If you really like to suffer, you can opt to hike out for 1 and a half hours instead of taking the train.

For crazies only. Run over 25 miles of class III, IV and V whitewater all in one day. You will journey into a completely roadless portion of the San Juan National Forest, with stunning scenery and 14,000 foot peaks nearby. You will hit class V Tenmile rapid, No Name rapid and Broken Bridge rapid in one exhausting day! Are you really crazy? Add on the Rockwood Box for an Ultra-Marathon (flow dependent)!

Quick Look
Rating: class V
Distance ~25 miles (38 km)
Trip Length: ~12 hours
Season: May 2 thru July
Current Flow: USGS
Avg. Gradient: 78 ft/mi (14.8 m/km)
Put-in: Silverton, CO
Take-out: Tacoma Station
Sample Itinerary
4 PM Day Prior to Launch: Meet at 4 Corners Riversports in Durango for a pre-trip safety video, gear fitting and swim test on the Lower Animas to assess skills and train for the challenges ahead.
7 AM: Depart Durango for Silverton, Colorado.
8:30 AM: Arrive in historic Silverton. Rig boats.
9:00 AM: Begin floating.
10 AM: Run class IV+ Snow Shed rapid.
11 AM: Run class V Tenmile rapid.
12 PM: Arrive at and scout class V No Name rapid. Eat a quick lunch.
1 PM: Run class IV+ Tank Rapid.
2 PM: Arrive in Needleton, CO.
2:30 PM: Run class V Broken Bridge Rapid.
3:30 PM: Run class IV Lunch Box rapids and Dinner Gorge rapids.
4:30 PM: Arrive at Tacoma Station and derig the boats.
5:30 PM: Board the train bound for Durango.
7 PM: Arrive in Durango, CO


Camping in an Aspen Tree Grove Two Day Upper Animas River Rafting, Silverton to Tacoma

Departure Times
8 AM (Meet 4 PM day prior)
AGES 15 - 75

The Upper Animas Overnight is an expert trip that begins at the highest commercial put-in in the U.S. in majestic Silverton Colorado. We take you from Durango to Silverton by vehicle, Silverton to Needleton by raft and then spend the night in this amazing canyon. After a hearty dinner and restful sleep, we will wake up to hot breakfast and coffee before an optional morning hike. Then we get back on the rafts for more whitewater action and head back to Durango via the historic Durango and Silverton Railway (one-way train ticket sold separately). A hike out option is also available if you just didn't get enough exercise.

This is one of the most sought after trips in the United States due to the remoteness, stunning scenery and fantastic whitewater. You will be immersed in over 25 miles of class III, IV and V whitewater with some rapids that last for miles. Not only that you get to spend the night in this amazing canyon where we will cook and clean for you (you will have earned it).

Quick Look
Rating: class V
Distance ~25 miles
Trip Length: 2 Full Days
Season: May 2 thru July
Current Flow: USGS
Avg. Gradient: 78 ft/mi (14.8 m/km)
Put-in: Silverton, CO
Take-out: Tacoma Station
Sample Itinerary
4 PM Day Prior to Launch: Meet at 4 Corners Riversports in Durango for a pre-trip safety video, gear fitting and swim test on the Lower Animas to assess skills and train for the challenges ahead.
8 AM Launch Day: Depart Durango for Silverton, Colorado.
9:30 AM Launch Day: Arrive in historic Silverton. Rig boats.
10:00 AM Launch Day: Begin floating.
11 AM Launch Day: Run class IV+ Snow Shed rapid.
12 Noon Launch Day: We prepare a tasty lunch above Ten Mile rapid, then scout this class V rapid.
1 PM Launch Day: Arrive at and scout class V No Name rapid. We set safety and video camera man. Look like too much for you? You have the option to walk around.
2 PM Launch Day: Run class IV+ Tank Rapid.
3 PM Launch Day: Arrive in Needleton, CO. One day participants exit here to board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Train back to Durango, Colorado.
Overnight participants continue on to camp.
Day 2: 8 AM: coffee and breakfast.
9:30 AM: Morning hike to the old miners cabin and grave site.
12 Noon: We prepare a tasty lunch before launching.
1 PM: Arrive at and scout class V Broken Bridge Rapid.
2:00 PM: Stop for a well deserved snack break at Cascade Canyon.
2:30 PM: We tackle several class IV rapids above Tacoma.
3:30 PM: Arrive at Tacoma Station and derig boats and gear.
4:30 PM: Board the train for Durango, Colorado.
6:30 PM: Arrive in Durango, Colorado.


Extreme Rafting in the Rockwood Gorge Upper Animas River, Rockwood Gorge
Rafting the Rockwood Gorge
Departure Times
8 AM (Meet 4 PM day prior)
AGES 17 - 67

The Rockwood Box Canyon is an extreme trip beginning with a warm-up from Cascade Station. This is surely the most intense whitewater commercially rafted in Colorado and perhaps the entire United States. Not only that, we descend deep into the canyon and far away from the train tracks. This means at the end of the trip we have to hike out of the canyon WITH RAFTS for over a mile and gain almost 1000 vertical feet. We cannot continue downstream due to impassable waterfalls and rock jams.

Paddling inside the Rockwood Gorge is one of the most incredible places you will ever be. You will be in awe and afraid at the same time. The canyon walls are steep and inescapable. Swimming here would be a bad idea. Even the hike out with a boat is for people who can handle suffering.

This is for hard core, experienced rafters and kayakers only. You must have class V experience and be in superb physical condition. The flow must be just right, and a physical fitness is mandatory. This is an invitation only trip. You must prove your worth on upstream sections and the guides must agree to take you.

Quick Look
Rating: class V to V+
Distance ~10 miles
Trip Length: ~10 hours
Season: July - Aug
Current Flow: USGS
Avg. Gradient: 78 ft/mi (14.8 m/km)
Put-in: Cascade Station
Take-out: Rockwood Station
Sample Itinerary
4 PM Day Prior to Launch: Meet at 4 Corners Riversports in Durango for a pre-trip safety video, gear fitting and swim test on the Lower Animas to assess skills and train for the challenges ahead.
8:30 AM: Meet at the train station.
11:00 AM: Arrive at Cascade Station and rig boats.
Noon: Lunch at Cascade, warm up on some easy class IV rapids.
2 PM: We float under the train bridge and enter class V+ Mandatory Thrashing. No mistakes allowed.
3 PM: Just after floating though the most narrow part of the gorge, we enter class V+ Red Wall rapid. Again, don't screw up.
3:30 PM: Class V Wall Slammer. Please don't swim!
4 PM: Take out two miles above a deadly waterfall and sieve. Do not miss this exit point or death is almost certain (no kidding).
4:30 PM: Begin grueling hike with raft up 1.5 miles and 800 vertical feet out of the canyon.
5:30 PM: We made it out of the gorge. Hop in the van and return to Durango.



Upper Animas River Trips Trip Length Trip Price Train Ride Fee Total Fee
Middle Upper Needleton to Tacoma Half Train ride/half rafting $235.00 inc $235.00
Animas Upper Silverton to Needleton Full Day $175.00 $65.00 $240.00
Silverton to Tacoma Marathon Full Day $270.00 $70.00* $340.00
Overnight Silverton to Tacoma 2 Day $425.00 $75.00* $500.00
Rockwood Gorge 1 Day $165.00 $85.00 $250.00

* These train rides are highly recommended, but are optional. If you do not want to ride the Silverton Narrow Gauge Train, (which is a great trip) you can hike out of the gorge. The hike out is 2 miles of very rugged, steep terrain and takes about 2 hours for strong hikers. The other trips would take too long to hike into, so the train ride is required.
Please try to give us at least two weeks of lead time for your reservation. The maximum number allowed per trip by the U.S. Forest Service is 24 including guides. We require a minimum of 4 persons total to conduct a trip. Discounts are available for a group of 10 or more.

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* Not all trips are currently available.

To see dates for any of these trips, choose a trip from the option box and press the submit button above. Once you are registered, you will get a confirmation email from Animas River Company, LLC for your trip.

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What Should I bring/wear?
No Rental Fees
In early season the Upper Animas can be chilly and you could fall in the river for a long swim. We provide a wetsuit with splash top or a full paddling suit for your safety and comfort. We provide dry storage, a proper-fitting personal flotation device (life jacket) and helmet, booties and gloves. We also provide a hearty riverside lunch. This is all included in the price!

You should bring the following items for this trip
1. Fleece/synthetic layers for under the paddle suit and swimsuit for under the wetsuit (we have some loaner fleece available). Absolutely no cotton when on the water.
2. Sunglasses with strap (cheap pair).
3. Street clothes for the train ride.
4. A water bottle to clip to boat.

Meeting Place: How to find Four Corners Whitewater
Four Corners Riversports Sign
In the upper right hand corner of this page, you can enter your location or a point that you know of and hit enter and google maps will open and show you a map to the meeting location and driving time.
We are co-located with Four Corners River Sports and are opposite the Office Depot on Hwy 160 on the South Side of Durango.


Refund Policy
If we cancel a trip or deny you passage for any reason, you will receive a full refund. If you subtract group numbers or cancel your entire trip 2 days or more prior to your scheduled departure you will be refunded the full amount minus a 10% administrative fee. There will be no refunds or changes made within 2 days of your departure. Please consider buying trip insurance.


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